Kids in the Garden – Cultivating Creativity in Rubira

The kids and Atayo making raised beds for vegetable production.

The garden is a good place to observe, learn and experiment. It’s also a great space for inspiring creativity in people of all ages, though particularly for children and youth. In the Fall of 2013, I facilitated my first composting workshop with my wonderful friend, Christina, who was teaching grade …

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Dirty Hands and the Love of the Land

Young women farmers in Alberta are challenging the odds against them.

A decade ago, Heidi Ellis never would have dreamed of becoming a farmer. She grew up in the city of Strathmore, ON, only an hour’s drive from Toronto. “Farming is the last thing I thought I’d ever do,” Ellis says with a laugh. “Growing up, I remember picking peas from …

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Permaculture vs. Gold Mining in Guatemala

Indigenous seed saving in Tuixcajchis (Photo by KJ Dakin)

In the arid mountain village of Tuixcajchis, Aurelia Jimenez Zacories is always growing something on her small but productive tract of land. She spends her days coaxing vegetables and the staples of corn, wheat and potatoes from the soil, raising livestock, building organic soil, planting trees and saving her seeds …

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West Coast Women – Down on the Farms

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past couple of weeks spent doing research on Canada’s west coast it’s that women and agriculture are growing together hand-in-hand. West coast women are, very much so, down with getting their hands dirty, trading in desk jobs for rural and urban plots …

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Local Author to Focus on Women Farmers

Comitancillo, Guatemala (Photo by KJ Dakin)

While resting in the frozen hills of the Peace Country a couple of weeks back, I was happy to digest my travel and research experiences and share more about my story with local reporter, Kristjanna Grimmelt. Here’s a link to a story Kristjanna wrote and published in the Peace River …

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Her Worth, Her Work on International Women’s Day

Women digging, Uganda.

She may not seem significant to you because she’s holding the hand-hoe, feeding the pigs, or hauling broken laundry basket filled with carrots still clinging to the soil. But her work is the definition of work in the truest sense. She puts her intellectual, physical, emotional and according to some …

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Forget ‘Farmer Joe’ – Who Are the Young Women Farmers of Canada?

Jess standing in front of her future chicken coop.

The cluster of white poplar trees stood static as the raised fur on the back of a dog’s neck, and the sun beamed blinding light off the crusted snow banks. I squinted my eyes against the glare and looked down at the metallic snowshoes – light as a feather – …

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I Dreamed Of [Second Encounters with Permaculture] in Cuba

La Maravillosa, Cuba

This year’s International Permaculture Convergence (IPC) provided a chance to gather with people around the world to discuss good work and inspiring projects relating to permaculture. A dear friend, Halena Seiferling and I had spent time in Cuba participating in a permaculture internship in 2011 and 2012, and so the …

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How to Build ‘Majiko’ (Eco-Stoves) 101

Step 5

The majority of rural households in southwestern Uganda prepare their meals using the ‘three-stone method’. The technology is just as it sounds. Collect three large stones and gather them closely together in a triangle, start a fire in the middle (using the branches of eucalyptus and pine trees) and place …

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For the Love of the Beehive

Respect.

Bees are pretty inspiring little creatures. Let’s all take a moment to agree on that. In the last couple of years I have become instinctively curious about, and inspired by the humble little bumblebee. Now I could sit here with my mug of honey-enriched tea and discuss the impressive capabilities …

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I Dreamed of [Painting Permaculture] in Cuba

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What do you see? An old white-painted shack with the rust seething through? A storage unit? A fence? If you mentioned any of the above, you’re clearly, rationally, correct. But if you, instead, engage the irrational you may open your mind to invite in other solutions to the question of reality – and see …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part III)

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Building a Nation of Poets, Painters and Peace-Makers To know Nicaragua, over the years, has been to recognize the artist in every Nicaraguan I’ve met along the journey of my travels, and volunteer and work experiences. Poets, painters, musicians, folkloric dancers, graffiti artists, actors, sculptors, weavers, carvers… Art in Nicaragua, whatever medium, …

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The Country Under My Skin – Nicaragua (Part I)

Photo Credit - Caitlin Jackson

There is a verb in Spanish – conocer. It means to know. It’s used in the context of meeting and becoming acquainted with people. It’s also used in the context of geographical place. I could write, for example, he estado a Nicaragua. I’ve been to Nicaragua. But these are empty words when I contemplate all that …

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On Wildness, Saskatoon Berries and Prairie Identity

Photo - Kay Niedermeyer

This summer, in an effort to “permaculture-out” my mom’s yard and build a fruit forest at the back of her property, we planted saskatoon bushes. This is really neat for many reasons – not only does it pays homage to the prairies surrounding her home, but it also provides her with one …

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Small

(Photo - Trina Moyles)

As G8 leaders are shaking hands over food security deals with the private sector, patting themselves on the back, and smiling to flashing cameras that will transport their sureness, their smugness to media all over the world – I’m in my garden, pulling carrots.  The G8 leaders, as they say …

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Monsanto and The Seed – Sowing an Uncertain Future in Uganda

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I didn’t march against Monsanto last weekend. It would’ve been me marching against the dust of the dry season here in southwestern Uganda. Small village farmers would’ve looked up from working in their gardens, weeding sorghum, hand-watering vegetables, and handing their child a sweet potato. They would’ve wondered. Who’s Monsanto? I …

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I Dreamed of [Death By Mangoes] in Cuba

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Two summers ago, on the map maker’s spec of a Caribbean island called Cuba, I dreamt of bicycles, turkeys, death by mangoes and murals (and not necessarily in that order) – amongst other magical symbols and sensations. I close my eyes and move through memory… …coasting backwards…pedaling my bicycle along the skinny …

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