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Edible Landscapes the Natural Way
Thursday, Apr 6, 2017
Edible Landscapes the Natural Way
 To listen to an audio recording of Ben Caesar speaking on edible landscapes, click here. April’s BPEG meeting opened with Chairperson Megan Myles welcoming members and guests to the evening. With Earth Month underway and Earth Day fast approaching, a number of upcoming events were discussed, as well as a call for volunteers.

In partnership with the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association (BPBA) and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), BPEG will be hosting Earth day events at the Lindsay Tract Trails on Saturday April 22nd from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.: two guided hikes in the morning, lunch, and presentations in the afternoon.

The Peninsula Bruce Trail Club, in celebration of its 50th Anniversary will be hosting two end to end hikes this year. Hikes will take place over 8 days (4 weekends), and registration will open Saturday April 8. Space is limited to 100 persons, so      register early at http://www.pbtc.ca/. Volunteers are needed for this event, so please contact the Club if you are interested.

This month the BPBA is fundraising through the sale of hand crafted chocolate Easter Eggs. Raising funds and awareness is the goal of their Wilderness Eco Adventures happening this summer, with full or half day events. To order eggs before Easter or for more information on Adventures, visit their website at http://bpba.ca

Lastly, BPEG put out a call for a volunteer willing to donate some time helping the group with annual financial statements and audits. Anyone interested is asked to contact BPEG for more information.

The guest speaker this month was Ben Cesar, owner of Fiddlehead Nursery: a permaculture plant nursery located in Kimberley, in the Beaver Valley. Permaculture is a system of agricultural design principles based on the features of natural ecosystems. Ben spoke about his journey in developing these “Forest Gardens”.

These gardens, Ben says, can be as small as a kitchen table or as large as a farm, depending on your space and resources. The idea is to create a living, sustainable and edible ecosystem, much like a natural forest, using perennial plants. These gardens require no tilling and much less maintenance than a traditional garden. These gardens provide local food, become resistant to climate change and weeds, sequester carbon, and promote a healthy diet.

Gardens begin with planting fruit and nut trees for the forest canopy, allowing for space between trees for the lower shrub and ground cover layers. Shrubs would produce mainly berries, and the ground cover would include edible flowers, perennial legumes, tubers and root plants and herbs. Once established, these gardens thrive as a natural ecosystem, providing sustainable food sources, providing their own natural nutrient supplies and natural pest controls.

Ben then presented a slideshow of some weird-looking, but apparently wonderfully-tasting edible perennials; including one or two varieties of poisonous plants which, when harvested at the right time and prepared correctly can be delicious additions to your diet.

Ben offers consultations, workshops books and demonstration gardens at his Nursery. You can learn more at www.fiddleheadnursery.ca

Please join us for our next meeting Wednesday May 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lion’s Head Rotary Hall where our speaker will be renowned Bruce County historian Patsy McArthur, with a talk on Saugeen Metis Storytelling.

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