Permaculture Demonstration Site
Roberts Creek, BC
The Heart Gardens is a Permaculture Demonstration Site and Living Classroom which features native plants with a history of use by Coastal First Peoples. The site just under 1.2 acres and located 1/2 a block from the pacific ocean in a coastal mountain temperate rainforest.
The property design features 37 different small garden areas including a new one around the central maple tree to protect and feed it. There is an expanding of the community gardens next to the woodworking school which demonstrates four season organic gardening and opens up to community involvement. A biodynamic compost with hugelkultur and vermiculture systems serves all the gardens. The public land by the main road have been upgraded to include two new food micro-forest gardens including organic soil and plants provided by the Sunshine Coast Regional District Government. We are also working on redesigning the front parking lot to include a mandala and become a multi-use space that can host community events. We already have begun using this space to host our weekly farmers market. The design is a work in progress, changing and evolving as the implementation takes place slowly and with great intention over two decades.
Or explore below for pictures and detailed permaculture maps, designs and documentation for the site.
profound gratitude for the
visionary permaculture photos : Dana Wilson of Mortal Coil Media
The heart gardens host one of the largest public collections of plants with a history of use by the Coastal First Peoples.
187 species of native plants with a history of use by Coastal First Peoples
261 species native perennial plants
111 species non-native perennials
in total, not including weeds,
the gardens 372 species of perennial food, medicine and tool plants
These are the seeds of truly anchored food security, a foundation for a relocalized food supply, a seed bank and gene bank, almost 400 species of ultra functional plants that can be grown in our gardens
I have been working with an amazing photographer Robyn Hume to photograph all the flowers and fruits from the native plants with a history of use by Coastal First Peoples in the Heart Gardens. Seeing these beautiful things up close and in good light is not often done by people anymore. Connecting people with the beauty of nature is a way to relink them to the local bioregion and inspire them to help conserve and protect it from the threats of deforestation and development.
endless elvish gratitude for the
Frog’s Eye View Macro-Photography : Robyn Hume Photography
These photos have been used to make a card deck which features photographs of the flowers and berries of Plants with a History of Use by Coastal First Peoples. This is available free open source here on Gaiacraft.
At the heart of the garden is the Elfinhome, all ages permaculture education ‘auxiliary book storage building’. This shares free maps of the gardens printed by the SCRD, a seed library from Sunshine Coast Seed Saving Collective, a freebrary of eco-educational resources, on site permaculture learning tools, and a set of books describing the heart gardens permaculture site map and design along with plant and animal listings.
The gardens have gained support from the local government including the Roberts Creek Community Association, Advisory Planning Commission, Official Community Planning Committee, and Sunshine Coast Regional District Government as well as from local educational groups including Sunhaven Waldorf School, local Parent Advisory Council, all of the community schools on the Sunshine Coast, School District 46 and Capilano University
in addition to green organizations like Self-Design, BC Environmental Network, Naturescape, One Straw Society, SC Botanical Garden Society, SC Conservation Association, Native Plant Society of BC, Sea to Sky Outdoor School and Iris Griffith Center.
Here is a permaculture map and design for the project…
Sharing general information about the site including permaculture analysis of zones and microsectors, this is a classic permaculture map for the project. Free download click here
Heart Gardens Map
This section shares the different gardens on site including photographs and plant lists for each garden.
Heart Plant Map
Here you can see all the plants in the heart gardens as well as the calendar lists of when they can be harvested. Free download click here
This is a permaculture analysis of the site design and its many features. Click here for free download
Deepest of thanks to Don, Mark and Lorinda Van Kleek who own the property and have been generously supportive of this since the beginning. They have gifted me with my dream job, getting paid to care for and develop a public permaculture garden site and the focus on my school for a decade. They have gifted our community this amazing downtown area, a place to be a creatively conscious community together.
As a key part of my Diploma, Masters Degree and now in process Doctorate in Permaculture Education, I am developing and diversifying the downtown of my temperate rainforest coastal village into an engaging all ages permaculture demonstration site which can successfully host tours, intro classes, PDC’s and advanced courses while also sharing self-guided permaculture educational experience for people of all ages and education levels. This includes adding new species, building appropriate guilds and polycultures, creating new micro-food-forest gardens, and doing many small landscaping, earthmoving and construction projects on site. The concept is to reframe and redesign the downtown of my village into a permaculture demonstration site, living classroom as well as hub for a resilient, relocalized and food secure conscious community.