“THE GREEN LIFE FARM”
An Alternative Living Farm
~Scott Nearing, author of “The Good Life”
The Green Life Farm welcomes people who are on a path toward sustainability, increased environmental consciousness and mindfulness. We are part of the sustainablity movement that is sweeping the world. We are 80% food self sufficient, off the grid for lighting, have reduced our wastes by 90% and have become more and more producers instead of consumers. We endeavor to use permaculture practices in all aspects of our lives. The Green Life Farm is a place to meet kindred spirits and experience how it could be to reconnect with people and nature.
Our farm is always open to visitors interested in alternative energy, living, thinking, building, husbandry, forestry, cooking and farming. In summer, our place is open to campers. For a visit, call in advanced, we’ll get back to you later: Our names are: Bonnie and Sylvain. Our phone number is 902-665-2084. You can also e-mail us at email@example.com You are welcome to bring your pet. Be ready to use an outhouse! All visits include harvesting (even in winter), preparing and sharing a meal…and good discussions.
We eat fresh from the garden all year round by planting super hardy plants like kale and leeks which we can harvest from under the snow. We also are always on the look out for edible “weeds” and savage foods. Eating what naturally grows locally connect us with our land on a profound level. Deep in winter months and early spring when we eat the produce stored in our root cellar and growing in our cold frames. We are vegetarian and grow most of our food, what we do buy is organically grown.
We live in a temporary shelter; in fact, we insulated a 14’ X 17’ space, in a 100 years old barn, we purchased in Nova-Scotia. We have no running water, flushing toilet and connection to the grid. We use the hay loft to dry herbs, store food and hang clothes to dry in rainy, summer, days or in winter.
Most of our water comes from the sky (rain water). In summer, we store the water that falls on the roof of our barn in barrels. During winter we use a hand pump to get the water of our well. This way we don’t have to pay for water and we know what’s in our water. We use only biodegradable soap in our water.
All our LED lights are powered with the sun using only a 15 watt/hour panel. We heat with water as thermal mass, use solar energy for lighting and sleep in a curtained off bed that is enclosed and high off the ground to keep us cozy on cold winter nights. Of course, the dog sleeps with us, he is also a good source of hea ! We try to use hand, muscles and brain powered tools as much as possible. Yes, muscle and brain power is also an alternative source of energy… In fact, not long ago, muscle power was one of the two main sources of power with animal power. Heating air is one of the least efficient ways to heat your house but the most profitable for the utilities. The most efficient way to heat is to heat masses either of water, stones or metal. Wood stoves are big heat masses. People in cold country like Scandinavia, are even more advanced/backward by the fact that they commonly use mass stoves made of stones and masonry. We are heating water to heat our living space. We shovel the snow with hand tools. We use the exercise to heat our body while shoveling. This way we don’t have to pay someone else to do it or work to pay for a machine to do it for us. It’s also a good cardio-vascular exercise. Instead of blasting the snow away with a machine, we mound it against the barn to insulate it from the wind and cold.
People who are interested in volunteering on our farm are welcome. We provide food and a place to stay on the land or in the barn, even in winter for the hard-core ones.
ALTERNATIVE FOOD STORAGE
People have preserved their food with many different techniques before refrigeration and cheap energy. We live for the last ten years without refrigeration. We are using a root cellar, cold rooms, solar powered dehydrators, cold frames or harvesting under the snow.
We believe that what comes from the ground should return to the ground. That’s one of the basic laws of nature and ecology. We are using a composting toilet that we made ourselves. We use different types of organic matter in our composting toilet: sand, sawdust, autumn leaves, etc. This way we save around $15,000.00 on a septic system and its maintenance! We also create rich humus instead of a toxic waste to plants, animals and ourselves.
Most medicines used to come directly from nature. We grow many medicinal plants and make as much of our own medicines as possible. Bonnie is studying to become a certified herbalist. She makes medicinal creams, tinctures, teas and salves.
We enjoy listening to and playing music. Bonnie plays the ukulele and Sylvain plays the drums. It’s a good way to create a atmosphere of communion/community. Lately, we also have been making articles using recycled leather. Bonnie has been a visual artist and jewelry maker for most of her life and is skilled in engraving and painting with watercolor and oils. She also like to create with Photoshop. If you come for a visit, bring your musical instruments!
ALTERNATIVE WOOD HARVESTING
We cut all our wood with hand tools and revel in the quiet beauty of the winter forest while doing it. An old Chinese proverb says: cutting wood heats twice; when you cut it and when you burn it. There is a third way: when we cut it, we don’t need to heat the house! Doing without is also a way to do it. We harvest wood by weeding the forest of trees that we don’t want or that compete, interfere or damage each other. We use snowshoes to walk and work in the forest.
“THINK GLOBALLY , ACT LOCALLY”
We try to be part as much as possible to the buy local/organic movement in Nova-Scotia. Meanwhile, despite all our efforts, our way of life still has a more harmful impact on the environment, the planet and ourselves than we would like. We are still using a car, a four-wheeler as a beast of burden/ tractor, electricity produced by coal for our workshop, a range of products made of synthetic, non-biodegradable, toxic chemical like computer, digital camera, batteries, plastic and others and products coming from far away places, some literally from the other side of the world !