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Central Alberta farm launches heritage project

The Jungle Farm is located just off of Highway 2A, between Penhold and Innisfail
The Jungle Farm has announced the launch of a multi-step heritage project. (Photo via The Jungle Farm/Facebook)

A Central Alberta farm is asking people to help with a heritage project.

The Jungle Farm, which is located just off Highway 2A between Penhold and Innisfail, has announced the launch of a multi-step project in celebration of its 126-year history.

Leona and Blaine Staples are fifth generation direct descendants of the farm’s settlers. Leona’s great-grandfather, and all subsequent stewards of The Jungle Farm, have left a patch of land completely untouched.

“We know this little forested area is a source for scientific, cultural and historical information, and we can’t wait to find out what this unbroken part of our land will reveal,” said Leona Staples.

“We are researching the history of the area through existing sources, and we are excited to be working alongside Knowledge Keeper, Clare Butterfly, to identify the Indigenous significance of the site. Clare joined us on an initial walk of the forest and he seems just as excited about the potential of exploring this further and sharing what we discover with others.”

There are plans to establish an informational Forest Walk when the research is complete and share that information with visitors to The Jungle Farm, which includes multiple school field trips, seniors’ tours and individual farm visitors.

A series of interpretive plaques will guide visitors through parts of the forest on pathways, which will be levelled and cultivated using only materials found in nature. A small gathering area with benches will be installed to make the area more reachable for seniors and visitors with disabilities, and the intention is to continue to leave the land as unbroken as possible.

“We want to share each step of our discovery and have started a heritage project page on our Jungle Farm website to capture information as we go along,” said Leona.

Members of the community, particularly seniors, are being asked to share their own heritage stories as well.

“We wanted to connect it with food, because our entire work is to help people understand, grow, and eat healthy food. We also know that food is a key component in people’s heritage stories – helping in the family kitchen, gardening together, sharing festive meals," said Leona Staples.

"We can’t wait to hear people’s stories – and there’s an opportunity to share a recipe and a photo – all of which will become part of the heritage project webpage and may even become part of our Jungle Farm history cookbook, which is a future project."

The Jungle Farm team is also planning a series of engagement sessions with senior groups in the area.

To read more about the project, or to submit your own short heritage story, visit The project is funded in part by the New Horizons for Seniors Program and is expected to be completed early next spring.

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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