A new phrase for me – regenerative farming.
At the end of July, we participated in the Eco Living and Home Tour on Salt Spring Island, and I met a kindred spirit.
Apple Turnover is the clever name for a one-and-a-half-acre homestead being regenerated by Elisa Rajthe and her family. I was delighted by this home, microfarm, heritage orchard, food forest and studio applying so many of the principals that are dear to my heart, and in such a measured, intelligent way. Inspirational. Encouraging. Hopeful.
“slow, simple approaches to becoming resilient and regenerative at home”
Elisa took us around her property, showing how so many natural systems are purposefully integrated. Chickens range freely, eating insects and garden scraps, scratching up the soil and depositing nitrogen-rich manure, and supplying the family with eggs. We saw greywater and rainwater collection systems, a solar dehydrator that turns with the sun, ducks, Nubian goats, the original root cellar, the vegetable gardens, fruit trees and the food forest.
We had a look at a spacious arts and craft studio in an outbuilding on the way to the house. We walked beneath clothing drying on lines in the sun. Once, this would have been “hanging out the wash.” In this generation, it’s “slow laundry.” I like that.
A big country kitchen is the busy hub of processing what the farm produces. Along with the root cellar crops and the dehydrated foods, fermentation is prized for preservation and health benefits; sourdough rested on the counter. Most of this putting food by finds its way into the pantry for storage so that refrigeration is not as crucial as in many modern homes. The heart of the living room is the flat-topped wood stove where soup or beans take no extra energy to simmer.
We enjoyed a conversation with one of Elisa’s daughters, homeschooled, who is articulate and passionate about the family quest to be a part of the solution. Choices, habits, expectations. So positive and so hopeful about making a difference for a sustainable future.
A collection of recommended books was set out for us to browse. I found many that were familiar friends and some I hadn’t seen before. I’m now working my way through these titles:
Craeft: How Traditional Crafts Are About More Than Just Making
by Alexander Langlands
How to Grow Perennial Vegetables:
Low-maintenance, low-impact vegetable gardening
by Martin Crawford
One Quarter Acre, Two French Farmers and Enough Food to Feed the World
by Perrine and Charles Herve-Gruyer
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning
by the Gardeners and Farmers of Centre Terre Vivante
Retrosuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future
by David Holmgren (Permaculture co-originator)
The Art of Frugal Hedonism:
A guide to spending less while enjoying everything more
by Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb