Visitors explored the Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project site on Sunday during International Permaculture Day. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Permaculture in action in Red Deer

International Permaculture Day recognized

Flood water receded at Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project site in time to make way for cleanup and tours on Sunday in celebration of International Permaculture Day.

Permaculture is all about working with nature rather than against in the design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems.

“From the annual gardening, to the perennial gardening, down into the native ecosystem, we’re trying to integrate it all together to show people how we can be behaving more harmoniously with the natural environment as opposed to dominating it for awhile then letting nature fix whatever damage is caused,” said Rene Michalak, a project leader with ReThink Red Deer at the Piper Creek site.

It’s the fifth year for the project located south of the landfill on the east side of 40th Avenue.

Michalak said during the flooding in March and April tires got swept away that were holding down plastic put down to prepare planting areas for the end of the year where more woody species, like dogwood and willow, will be planted along the creek.

The area includes community gardens where residents can plant vegetables, a pollinator garden, and a food forest being planted behind a deer fence.

He said the site demonstrates the food bearing capabilities of perennial plants and the perennials compliment the annual vegetable gardens.

“We have a bunch of workshops and field days lining up for the summer time, including work on hopefully re-raising the barn.”

The barn will be an open air structure with no walls and will be built with green building techniques using larger pieces of wood instead of conventional lumber. It will be topped with a metal roof to harvest rain water for gardeners.

He said into the fall the site is a peaceful place where people can watch birds and wildlife.

“We’re hoping as years pass it will be maintained as part of the park system and there will be some walking trails around similar to Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, not nearly as protected, but similar idea.”

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