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Permaculture

Balsam Savanna

A Food Forest Project Promoting Growth, Learning, and Health

Balsam Savanna is an edible forest garden project which seeks to emulate the great richness of the forest.  We are converting a field which was used only for hay and straw into an intensively managed food forest near Parry Sound, Ontario.  

Inspired by the works of J.Russel SmithMasanobu FukuokaBill Mollison, as well as local tradition, this food forest is being managed for complexity, diversity, and self-sufficiency.  

Below is an photo from the second year of the project:

The project has three goals: 

Learning

  • to learn about land management which creates stronger and more resilient landscapes, embodies carbon, replenishes ground water, provides abundant food, and uses as much as possible native perennial plants and trees.  
  • How did ancient peoples use and manage the landscape in Ontario? This involves the study of ethnobotany, but also conversation with community members to learn of local traditions and practices
  • Agroforestry and multi-story agriculture
  • Symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationships that promote diverse insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals

Growth

  • To grow food in a way which also strengthens the environment and communities.
  • Coming together around a table, or fire: preparing the harvest: eating and drinking in groups… the coming together to feast, in is in some ways infinity old.
  • Plant, harvest, experiment with, and promote nut trees and native foods.  Nuts were a staple crop in Ontario for people for at least 11,000. Plants such as chokecherry, hawthorn, currants, gooseberries, wild leeks and garlic, and many more thrive in our climate yet due to lost cultural knowledge, destructive forestry practices, and a reliance on globalized food this great bounty is unharvested.  

Health

  • To foster vibrant, resilient, and diverse lands and people
  • Internally we seek to develop calmness, acceptance, joy, and compassion within our selves
  • Externally we seek to foster vibrant, resilient, and diverse environments.
  • Eating fresh locally grown food
  • Composting and recycling. Explore Terra preta and the mycorrhiza

You can stay updated by following the Balsam Savanna Food Forest blog posts here.