Dave and I volunteered to help out at the DIY Homesteader Festival, an amazing just-out-of-town experience where people can learn fermenting basics, how to raise chickens, permaculture techniques, and how to mend clothing. There were vendors and farm-to-table food along with one of the best bunches of people I've seen gather in one space in a long time.
I stumbled upon Nourished Roots when I was looking for space for Dave and I to garden in this summer (alas, those plans have gone unfulfilled). It's a lovely little homestead with over 300 acres of farmland. The brains behind Nourished Roots are Trevor and Adrienne Pearcy...a lovely and dynamic duo who are living the dream. According to their site,
Adrienne and Trevor traded in fancy shoes and power lunches for galoshes and preserves years ago. Now you’ll find them and the kids building compost bins, hauling wood, turning soil and building bush trails most days. That is of course when they’re not in the kitchen cooking up delicious recipes made using traditional food prep methods…um. How cool is THAT?!?!
Adrienne hosts workshops around traditional foods and when she and Kris Antonious met at a networking event a while back...things took off, friendships were forged, and the DIY Homesteader Fest was born.
The Festival is a labour of love by Trevor, Adrienne, Kris Anotonius (of Tiny Peasant fame!) and Mike Berg who does game design. Together, Kris and Mike own Cityfolk Creative - the graphic design force behind the Festival. These four are dynamic, talented, and among some of the most friendly and engaging people I've ever met. With their brains combined, they have created a collaborative sharing space for homesteaders of all property shapes, sizes, and geographic locations to come together and celebrate what this type of lifestyle is all about!
The day of the Festival, Saturday, began with rain. Not the nice-gentle-spring-misting kind of rain, but the torrential-downpour-there-is-no-way-you-will-not-get-soaked kind of rain. Our arrival to the grounds was delayed as a result of the flood being released from the skies above. Mike was the first one we met and (have I mentioned friendly) he directed us to enjoy the morning on site. We had the opportunity to attend two workshops before starting our afternoon volunteer shift.
We decided to attend "Intro to Fermentation" and then "Permaculture Food Forests." Both presenting topics of interest for Dave and I. We sampled some amazing kraut and salsa, enjoyed hot (and very soul warming) beverages from Pilot Coffee, stood by the fire where campfire cooking demonstrations where taking place, and walked around the marketplace drooling over the selection of local wares and food on hand.
The deluge finally broke just before lunch allowing the crowd to enjoy their meals and snacks outside while Dave and I wandered off to find out how we could help!
The majority of the afternoon was spent helping to set up for a "Natural Playscapes" session that was occurring. We shovelled, dumped, and spread mulch for a good part of the afternoon...meeting other volunteers along the way. We re-stocked toilet paper in the Port-O-Johns (someone's gotta do it!) and then helped to set up one of the larger tents for the highlight event of the evening - a Land & Lake Farm Dinner with a menu to rival any four-star restaurant. We moved tables, set up chairs, draped tablecloths, laid out plates, folded napkins, and generally made the space as welcoming as we possibly could! The team putting this particular piece of the day together was just lovely and we did a lot of laughing as we ran around getting everything for the guests that would be streaming in very soon.
On our way home, we gave two other volunteers a lift back into the city and enjoyed talking about relationships, homesteading, budgets, and life. It was wonderful connecting with people who share the same vision for their lives and our planet.
I wish I had taken a before and after picture from our day. At the beginning we were a little cold, VERY wet, and unsure of what we would find...by the end of the day, we were sore, grinning from ear to ear, and a ton happier for dipping our toes into this awesome community.