Mossy Banks Farm is a Permaculture farm and a space to learn. Often referred to as “Jurassic Farm,” its peaty soils from the marsh allow plants to grow vigorously. The property is over thirty acres, only seven of which are being farmed. The rest of the property is held in ecological reserves including Garry Oak meadows on the bluffs, the mossy forest floor, and the beautiful wetland marshes at the base of the property.
Owner Lynn Wytenbroek has created three food forests (and one mini one) as well as a full integrated animal farm that supports one another. A beautiful thing about Mossy Banks is the attitude with which the animals are raised. Conventional isn’t the first word that springs to mind. For example, Lynn is raising rabbits for meat within a rabbit run that is larger than most pet rabbit pens. Her team has built a fully enclosed pen that allows the rabbits to graze on the pasture and to raise their young in naturally self-dug rabbit holes. Mossy Banks Farm is also currently working on expanding this pen, so that the rabbits can cycle between two separate runs. This makes for (very) happy and healthy rabbits. You can see them running, jumping, and binkying (a real term – this is a rabbit’s way of telling you straight out that it is happy and overall pleased with you and its life by jumping and shaking it’s ears).
Mossy Banks Farm doesn’t just raise rabbits. Their list of animals is almost as long as the list of berry varieties that it grows. All on tractors that are moved every day, the farm raises pigs, as well as heritage and conventional meat birds and turkeys inspired by Joel Salatin. Animal tractors are an enclosed area that moves every day to keep down parasites, enrich the soil, renew the grass, and protect groundwater (no build-ups of manure). They are also experimenting with putting the older meat birds (now that they are safer from predators in size), in a free run and roost identical to the laying hens. Who says that layers should get all the special treatment!
Just freshly completed is a 3/4 acre food forest with Mulberry trees that will grow and be the canopy, providing shade and a drip watering system when it rains heavily. It will also retain water with its root system to benefit the whole forest. Beneath that are berry guilds with gooseberries, Saskatoon berries and currants, ground cherries, and some Egyptian walking onions. Around all of these perennials are annual plants like celery and parsley, along the borders are oolallieberries, sea buckthorn, and grapes, and lining the path are blueberries. The other berries grown on the farm include josta berries, tay berries, marion berries, young berries, honey berries, red and black raspberries, thornless blackberries, logan berries, boisin berries, and of course strawberries.
The food forests on Mossy Banks Farm are a tribute to the learning space that it is. Lynn holds workshops with world renowned Permaculture teachers like Richard Walker and Brandon Bauer. If permaculture is something you want to learn then stay in the loop with them on upcoming projects. Take advantage of the wealth of information that is brought to this farm and see how their food forests are a fantastic system for long term food production, sustainability, water preservation, and beauty.
Farming Connections is a new initiative of the Cowichan Green Community in partnership with the Government of Canada which focuses on bringing farmers out of the isolating lifestyle that farming creates. Our goal is to engage ageing farmers by holding …See Full Project