When I first heard the term permaculture in the mid-1990s, I was excited about getting plants and establishing a garden. But the wonderful flora found in books like “Plants for a Future” were hard to find. I began to satisfy my urge to propagate while making young samples from every interesting grape and edible green I could find, while I increased my gene pool by looting the fabulous seed bank that is Chilterns seeds. After a visit to Richters in Ontario, I had to toss all those silly clothes out of my luggage to make room for the new sorrels and herbs and little trees. Almost immediately, my casual little plant business became “Edible Landscapes”, and I began the serious work of breeding out trays of unusual plants. But the obvious problem followed – switching a population used to pretty and showy plants to those that might be awfully dull looking, but packed an intriguing multi use punch. While plowing away at that task, I wrote the book, Gardening for the Faint of Heart, and began to be invited to speak at events. And from the questions I was asked at these events, it was obvious that some new gardening lessons needed to be created … and thus the first formal lessons like “Gardening for the Faint of Heart”, and others, which I operated through our local regional district’s community programs, began. And meanwhile, I had moved onto 2.5 acres of raw land – and ran into the acid test – can someone with few financial resources and little time create a viable edible garden in the bush, using, yes! Sticks and leaves and straw? And it seemed to be working – healthy, vibrant gardens were springing out of the dry grit, self seeders were forming colonies, bamboo took hold and young fruit trees were laden each summer. I finally had some usable samples of what I was trying to learn and teach.
So I began to do some tours of Permaculture edibles … and this led to other classes. And then I began to realize there were far too many questions out there, and no formal way to pass information on. I invited knowledgeable friends to share their gleanings in my Practical Permie Weekends. It still didn’t seem enough. So the concept of the Sustainable Living Arts School was born. And like the garden outside, I am sure this will evolve as well…
I also run a small mail-order nursery for permaculture, herbs and edible plants (Edible Landscapes), as well as grow and manufacture various herbal products (Elphin Herbals). I also wrote another book, Food Security for the Faint of Heart, and work regularly with our community on local food security issues here on the Sunshine Coast.
All of this is constantly evolving – we’re in the process of putting together an online store to better serve our customers, we’re developing a mentoring program through a local organization called One Straw, and I’m writing a new book. Never a dull moment! But I love it.
Here’s a bit of a summary of what we do here:
- Edible Landscapes
- Popular and Exotic Edible Plants
- Permaculture Plants
- Medicinal Herbs
- Naturally Grown Using BC Organic Standards
- Mail-order nursery to BC? and throughout Canada
- Sustainable Living Arts School
- Microfarm Forums
- and lots more…
Enjoy your visit to my website. If I can answer any questions, let me know!