We had a busy year here at Inspiration Farm. Despite the ongoing pandemic we have pursued many of our focus projects and goals. In this post I hope to share a few of our projects for the year.
Some of the highlights from this past year.
- Established the Salish Seed Garden project
- Installed the new metal roof on the old section of the house
- Installed several water retention features here and on clients properties
- Great Garlic Harvest and planting
- Rosalie finished a year horse training and moved to Vermont
- Seeing all the lovely flowers Alexandra planted
- Our 27th wedding anniversary!
- Our Daughter Marisa got engaged!
- New Baby calf Fergus Friday was born the day after Thanksgiving
- Our cat Little Guy Passed on to the other side
- We got two new kittens, Westley and Earl Grayson the Mouse-n-ator
- Had a lovely visit from Penny Livingston and Vicky Robin
- Presented at the Drylands Permaculture course with Skeeter and Penny in Twisp
- Got the Glass furnace dusted off and fired up just before Christmas!
- Our girls came home for Christmas!
Our main achievement was to establish the Salish Seed Garden to grow harvest and process locally adapted seeds for the community to use.
During the first year of the pandemic we realized that the supply and distribution of seeds was a weak link in the food resiliency picture. We started to look for a public land to grow out local seed so that we could educate others how to do it and then offer these seeds freely to the local community. After talking to the city and county in hopes to partner with them on some under utilized park land, we realized this was a long and complicated process and in the end were were too late to get anything in the ground for 2020.
Late 2020 I floated the idea of starting the seed garden here at Inspiration Farm. We have established beds and there was way less red tape to deal with. This allowed us to lay the ground work and start on time in the Spring.
With the help of Krista Rome and many other volunteers we completed our first year of the seed garden.This process included; setting up all the non profit status, bank accounts, websites, payment portals, liability legal, and launching fundraising campaigns to get us going. We then gathered supplies, drafted a budget, crafted a planting plan, and began to recruit volunteers. Then the real work began of preparing ground, planting, tending, harvesting and processing the seed crops.
Learning about when seed is ripe for harvest
Overall it was very successful and we had a lot of community support, with over 60 individual volunteers throughout the season. We grew over 50 different crops for seed collection. These seeds will be packaged up and distributed for free within our community. You can learn more about the Salish Seed Guild project by checking out the website.
Good Day with volunteers in the Salish Seed Garden
This year we hosted a limited number of Tours and Workshops.
- We did some one on one Scythe mentoring.
- Hosted a 2 day introduction to Permaculture class.
- Facilitated a full season of Permaculture in Action volunteer days
- Worked on up scaling our nursery including putting a lot of it up on line in a shopping cart program.
- Offered a greater number of design consultations in the area.
- Some of the consultations led to main frame design installation projects that we completed this Summer.
Permaculture class with a newly built compost pile.
The busiest time of the year was August and September with harvest in full swing and several design projects moving forward. This year I installed 4 ponds and several hundreds of feet of swales and other water harvesting features on clients properties, as well as augmenting a few of the systems around Inspiration Farm.
The largest event was the Earthworks course I organized with Connor. It was taught on the clients property in Sumas. I did the design in March and they were interested in hosting the mainframe earthworks installation as a workshop. We moved forward to organize it for the middle of August. We had 16 people in the 3 day workshop and got a large portion of the project completed despite a few hiccups.
The day the class was scheduled to start we got a lot of smoke blowing in from forest fires in Canada and we were forced to relocate the first day of class to Inspiration Farm. This turned out to be a good thing as participants got to see the effects of a water harvesting landscape in action during one of the hottest Summers on record. It reminded us on why this kind of work is so important. We covered all the introduction classroom information and had ample time to do reading the landscape and surveying exercises before we got to the project site.
Smoky tour day
The next two days were focused mainly on hands on installation of the water retention design features at the clients property. In the two days we put in a pond with an island and several hundred feet of productive swale systems planted with food and medicine.
Design for the project
You will be able to read more about this and other projects on our portfolio page when I get it all put together and posted.
Class photo by a newly finished planted swale
One of the joys this year were all the flowers Alexandra planted around the farm. We had an abundance of color and beauty everywhere we looked. Next year will be even better as she has been planting bulbs like crazy, all the way up to just before the big freeze at Christmas.
We were so happy our girls came home for Christmas. We had a lovely time getting snowed in with them, my mother Jerene and Marisa’s fiancé Chip. Lots of good food, stories, warm fires, puzzles and projects.
Can’t wait to see what next year brings. Blessings to all, wishing you joy and abundance for the new year!
beautiful land, gorgeous people, dear plants and frolicking animals. Success on so many levels, thank you people for persevering!