Springtime at the Food Forest!

Hello, welcome! Have we got some exciting things lined up for you (for us all!) at the Aspen Centre Permaculture Food Forest this season!

Wait – what? ACIL is somewhere ELSE?!

That’s right! The ACIL Permaculture Food Forest is a NEW land base for ACIL, just north of St. Albert. It is located on the Bococks Family dairy farm, which has been in the family for 3 generations – 100 years! This land has been stewarded a long time. John and Jennifer Bococks are amazing, supportive, knowledgeable folk that are happy to have us working on the Food Forest on their land. They provide us with help, resources, and stories, and we are so grateful to have them as our elders.

The Food Forest itself is a relatively small portion of the overall Bococks property. The previous steward of the Food Forest, John Freebury, worked the land for 3 years and accomplished an amazing amount in that time. The centrepiece of the land is a circular perennial forest garden with apple trees, cherry trees, pears, and many different native shrubs and herbs – hollyhocks, silverberry, raspberry, wild strawberry, saskatoon berry, dogwood, and so many more. There are also many dug swales to direct waterflow, an area for food forest sapling growth, a woodshed with plentiful firelogs, a garden shed for storage, space for a herb garden and an annual garden, and honeybee hives! We are excited to take on the stewardship of this land and its plants and bees, and welcome all ACIL members and non-members to visit, get involved, and share energy and inspiration.

We went out for our first real site visit yesterday (where the land wasn’t covered in snow and we could actually do some work). We organized garden pots, cleared a space for the annual garden and sheet mulched it with LITERAL sheet metal (when you’re on a 100-year-old farm you find some very “interesting” things lying around!), started a compost pile of dead perennials, and did a fair amount of site planning in terms of next steps.


Next steps – aka what YOU could get involved in! ^__^ We are going to be tackling some hefty “spring cleaning” for the next few visits in April – cleaning out the garden shed, pruning dead trees, organizing/moving all of the “interesting things” (junk) to more space efficient locations. Upcoming in the not-so-near future will be mulch mania!!! As well as digging out the annual garden beds and learning how to take care of our HONEY BEES. We would absolutely love your presence for any/all of these endeavors! Not only is it helping hands, it is bringing your own unique and vibrant energy to the site to co-create a space of community, friendship, and mutual respect and love for the earth and for each other. In times like these, that’s really what it’s all about.

Stay tuned for our next post – we will cover what a food forest actually is and how it compares to an annual garden, as well as the ecohydrologic benefits of mulching!

Stay beautiful! Keep growing <3