Starting April 26 at Haliburton Farm: This year’s Growing Food course runs until September, giving you an entire growing season to learn how to grow food in your own garden.
This popular course is hands-on and guided so you can end the summer with a bounty, even on your patio. Classes are geared to working people with evening and Saturday sessions, and includes self-guided projects over the summer months.
Topics covered include everything from soil amendments and composting to harvest and food storage and preservation. You will learn about working with light, assessing your soil types, managing water, planning your garden regardless of size or soil type, grafting, seed-saving and other methods of propagation. It’s all about growing sustainably and organically and the principles will guide you to plan and manage all types and sizes of food gardens, whether in a city lot or a rural acreage.
Half bursaries are available for students who have successfully completed the course.
Please register with Royal Roads.
Already we have to say goodbye to this year’s stellar crop of farming interns, Andrea Simmonds, Chris Grange, Lindsay Kathrens and Rachelle Bramly. They joined us in May and have been wonderful to have as part of the community. They’ve helped and learned all around the farm and on the biodiversity project, thanks to a generous grant from the Victoria Foundation. We’ll miss their spirit, enthusiasm and hard work.
Last week they participated in a fermentation workshop led by Rhona McAdam, R.H.N. of Go Local Nutrition. Most were already experimenting with fermentation, and all had read or heard or tasted fermented foods. We spent a fruitful morning exchanging ideas and techniques, chopping vegetables and tasting various fermented foods along the way.
The morning’s work yielded a fantastic variety of foods: a batch of kimchi, a batch of lacto-fermented carrot sticks, and sauerkraut flavoured with caraway. We also decanted a batch of black tea kombucha, tasted beet kvass flavoured with cabbage and onion, and baked loaves of Infinite Buckwheat Bread and Gluten-free Whole Grain sourdough (oat & buckwheat) bread.
The fermentation ‘bible’ in use for the workshop was Sandor Ellix Katz’s Wild Fermentation. We also had on hand his follow-up book, The Art of Fermentation, and the book that first inspired him, Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.
And we had Michael Pollan’s Cooked, the documentary version of which one of the participants had seen on Netflix. It covers various ways of preparing food, including fermentation. Here’s the trailer in case you want a look:
Since March, I’ve been taking the Growing Food course that’s been taught mainly at Hali, and it’s given me a new perspective on what our farmers do. Lead instructor Elmarie Roberts, who farms Sunbird Farm and leads Hali’s educational programming, has been guiding students through a challenging program.
In the past 7 weeks, we’ve covered the basics of soil and sun analysis, seeding and propagation, composting and water management. We’ve tried out a broad fork, done some double digging, talked a lot about microbes and planted carrots, corn and beans. We’ve charted our gardens, analyzed soil structure, sun and shade, and planned crop rotations using principles learned in the classes and workshops.
It’s a challenging, meaty course, and the students include first time gardeners, graduates of Gaia’s Organic Master Gardener course, people who wish to improve their small scale gardens and others who are considering farming as a career. The course runs March through September, so there’s a way to go yet, and I’ll add more as our learning unfolds.
Hali has a special zoning, unique to this area, as a Demonstration Farm. As such, we dedicate time and effort towards providing education to our farmers, volunteers and interns. Led by our farmer-mentor Elmarie Roberts, we’ve been building educational connections with such local organizations as Claremont Secondary School, the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, Royal Roads University and Gaia College.
This week for the first time we were delighted to be able to offer our new interns and several others the opportunity to take a MarketSafe course at the farm. The course covers various aspects of food safety and topics unique to people wanting to sell fresh and prepared foods at temporary markets. We hope to be able to offer more such classes in future.
If you’re interested in taking a MarketSafe course, and you’re in the greater Victoria area, please contact Evelyn at Hospitality Plus Training, as she’s collecting names for future offerings. Hope to see you soon!
We warmly invite you to come to the farm on Monday evening, March 14 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm to learn more about a course that could change your life in the best possible way!
Each year, Hali offers this amazing hands-on learning experience in collaboration with Gaia College and Royal Roads University Continuing Studies. Dedicated, knowledgeable instructors will guide you through the ins and outs of growing food in an urban setting. You’ll learn over a full growing season, in real time, applying the knowledge of how to plan, plant, cultivate and harvest real food. You’ll work alongside people just like you, who want to learn to grow food on a small scale, without artificial chemicals, using sustainable methods to improve the long-term health of the soil.
There are bursaries available for the full program. But do come along on March 14: it will cost you nothing to find out if this is for you.
Call Royal Roads University to register: 250-391‐2513
It’s that time of year again, when we plant the seeds of knowledge for a new and productive season. We’re looking for a fresh crop of enthusiastic interns to work with our community of farmers and learn how to plant, grow, harvest, market and sell awesome certified organic food in Victoria.
Just a little reminder that our own Farmer-Educator Elmarie Roberts, together with Linda Geggie of CR-FAIR, will be presenting the Food Security & Incubator Farm Workshop, coming up on January 21 at The Gardens at HCP. They’ll be discussing incubator farms – an important educational model for mentoring new farmers, providing access to farmland, and helping to build farming knowledge and food security. Don’t miss it – the workshop is filling up fast. Register here!
Haliburton Farm is considered an “incubator farm” – meaning it’s fertile ground for new farmers to learn to run an organic farming business, offering time-limited access to certified organic land and knowledge about organic farming. Our farmers, who have already acquired their core farming skills through internships and experience, pledge commitment to working as and for the farming community, and are given a plot to work to earn their own farming income. At the end of their terms they give way to a new set of young farmers. It’s an attractive model, and one that you can learn more about at a half-day class on January 21 at The Gardens at HCP, when our farmer-educator Elmarie Roberts together with Linda Geggie of CR-FAIR, will host a workshop on food security and incubator farming. Interested? Reserve your spot: it’s only $15.
Celebrate Organic Week with us! Tomorrow’s the day to learn how to qualify for that necessary and respected quality mark: certified organic. Meet Rochelle Eisen & Gunta Vitins from COABC (Certified Organic Associations of BC) at the farm, 2pm. See you there!