Forest Update Summer 2013

Posted September 6th, 2013

Wow, it has been an incredible summer her at the Hostel! We have had guests from all over the world: from Malaysia to England, New Zealand to Korea, California to Italy and Argentina to Australia. We love being a place for diverse peoples to come together and share their stories!

The Soul Kitchen has been churning out incredible vegetarian meals from raw sunflower seed falafel to barbequed tempeh, African pumpkin soup to pad Thai. We fire up the Cobb Kitchen to cook homemade pizza and bread in a hardwood burning oven, and the rocket stoves are used to saute and boil, using a simple bundle of sticks to provide the fuel. Its great to cook off of the grid using renewable resources!

The gardens have dazzled us with fruits, flowers, herbs and veggies! Our fig trees gave us amazing dark purple figs, the tropical looking okra plants have excelled in the hot and humid summer, as have our purple sweet potatoes. White ginger blossoms provide the most delicate and intoxicating aroma, and the butterflies have enjoyed the zinnias and other colourful flowers. Tomatillos, squash, cucumber, corn, peppers, and sunflowers have also done well.

All summer we have been creating hugelkulture mounds, which is a permaculture technique of burying wood and other organic matter to create more favourable growing conditions(like retaining moisture and adding organic fertilizer). We have a 40 foot long mound on the northside of the lake which is transforming yard clippings into watermelons! We have the speckled heirloom variety Stars and Moons and the compact and tasty Sugar Baby growing just on the shore, which makes watering very easy! We are still working on a large (so far is 20’x20’x7’) hugel mound-pyramid on the southwest of the lake, and would love for some of our guest members to come and work on completing it with us over the next couple of weeks!

The Hostel has played host to many lectures, classes and workshops this summer, ranging in subject matter from intuitive painting to ethnobotany. We’ve learned about community building in urban environments, permaculture in rural environments. Just recently we had a natural birthing workshop, where women learned how to use herbal tinctures, flowers, belly binding, organic cooking and placenta encapsulation to nurture their pregnancies and foster a sacred relationship with their own bodies, their child, their family and their world moving forward after birth. Right now we have a permaculture design course underway, where students are engaged in a rigorous program meant to empower them with the principles and techniques for designing permaculture installations in any environment, from desert to swamp, city to jungle, which will recapture lost nutrients and water, and turn them into sustainable gardens for feeding people and the land itself.

May the Forest Be With You

The Hostel Staff