Fest Community Gift Guide // Grow

It’s kind of bonkers how many amazing teachers, makers, producers and other creative people are involved in the festival. Why give your hard-earned dollars to mega corporations when you can show your gratitude for your local farmers and business owners and give some truly amazing gifts? We’re not encouraging buying when you normally wouldn’t. Rather… if you’re already going to head to the mall for gifts this season, pause for a moment and consider supporting these farmers, makers and small businesses who work tirelessly to demonstrate and grow alternative systems, take time to educate and share their skills, and are passionate about the work they do.


GROW, the 3rd guide in this series, focuses on cultivating goodness in the form for food, flowers, and resilience! 

1. Zach Loeks Edible Ecosystem Design

2019 brought a new featured teacher out to the fest from Ottawa Valley – Zach Loeks joined us to teach Hugelkultur Perennial Guilds, The Permabed System, and Permaculture Farm Design. His workshops were a hit and we look forward to working together in the future. You can give yourself or others the gift of learning from Zach’s unique approach to farm and homestead design by ordering a copy of his book, The Permaculture Market Garden, or hiring him to consult on a project for you or a loved one.


2. River City Mushrooms

Tom, from River city Mushrooms shared his passion for mycology in a workshop on Wine Cap Mushroom Beds – the class created a bed in the pines at Cityfolk Farm and we’ll be keeping everyone up to date on how it grows on the fest account @diyfest. We’re excited that Tom is busy prepping spawn and cultivation kits for the new year. If you’re interested to book one in advance and give a DIY gift-certificate of sorts, reach out to Tom via his website or IG account: @nagthompson

3. Masagana Flower Farm

Who doesn’t love flowers? And even more so when they’re locally grown, and free of chemicals and dyes? Lourdes joined us for the first time this year to teach an Intro to Flower Farming workshop. She runs Masagana Flower Farm where she grows gorgeous flowers and creates magic in the form of arrangements. She’s full of info on the importance of a local flower scene, offers her floral services for events, and sells arrangements. While there aren’t fresh flowers to be gifted this season, consider making your own custom gift certificate for fresh, local flowers when they’re in season! Maybe a certificate with a commitment to not buying imported flowers for your special someone in 2020 in favour of piling on the local arrangements this summer?! Follow Lourdes over on IG at @masaganaflowerfarm

4. Wild Craft Permaculture

Jessica Robertson joined us from London, Ontario to teach Permaculture Water Management & Harvesting at the fest. She is a permaculture designer, with experience in both Ontario and Manitoba. Consider giving yourself or a loved one the gift of a permaculture consultation and/or design! Find more info at Wild Craft Permaculture.

5. Debwendon

It’s been a joy to get to know the folks involved with Debwendon and the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail. They offered a guided tour to fest-goers for a small donation, and though the weather wasn’t cooperative, we’re thrilled to be in community with them and helping each other out! You can find a fundraiser on their website with some gorgeous wood-engraving prints of wetland plants. These would be a lovely addition to any home!

6. Echo & BCS

We were fortunate to have our local rep as a sponsor this year – we can’t say enough good things about Frank! He came out several times to just help out, and we enjoyed many meals together. It’s such a special experience to build community with folks who also happen to be sponsors, and to avoid the transactional nature of most sponsorships. We are truly grateful. We also highly recommend BCS walk-behind tractors – we had the fortune to use one in preparation for the gardening workshops and loved it. We also enjoyed the lightweight Echo chainsaw models and the Bearcat wood chipper that we were able to test out! 


7. New Society Publishers

One of our sponsors, New Society Publishers has a plethora of publications to help you along your urban or rural homesteading journey. For our Grow Gift Guide, here are a selection of our favourites. Note that the festival receives a percentage of sales for books sold via these links. Thank you for supporting this grassroots event!


The Market Gardener

A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming by Jean-Martin Fortier

Inspired by the French intensive tradition of maraichage and by iconic American vegetable grower Eliot Coleman, author and farmer Jean-Martin shows by example how to start a market garden and make it both very productive and profitable. Making a living wage farming without big capital outlay or acreages may be closer than you think.


The Food Forest Handbook

Design and Manage a Home-Scale Perennial Polyculture Garden by Darrell Frey & Michelle Czolba

This timely book makes the concept of food forests accessible to everyone. Focusing on the potential of perennial polyculture to enhance local food systems, The Food Forest Handbook shows the reader how to mix and match plants in unique combinations to establish bountiful landscapes and create genuine self-reliance in years to come.


Soil Sisters

A Toolkit for Women Farmers by Lisa Kivirist

Soil Sisters also contains case studies, inspirational ideas and savvy advice nuggets from over 100 successful women farmers and advocates. Targeted specifically to members of the fastest-growing demographic in local agriculture, this highly readable guide is practical and pragmatic “Chick Lit” for today’s food scene.

8. DIY Homesteader Fest General Store

Support your favourite little fest on the prairies by gifting some goods from the fest shop this season! We’ve got cheery locally-sewn bandanas that were screen printed by Martha Street Studio, canvas prints of the fest design screen-printed right at the fest, buttons, blank notebooks, manifesto prints and more! Head to the general store to learn more.

9. Grassroots Grants

Something we have put a lot of thought and research into is how to find a balance between putting on a high quality event and making the event accessible to people with lower incomes.  As we are still not a profitable event, it’s hard to find ways to do so! We’ve been working so hard on structuring some sliding scale ideas, and continue to work hard to make the fest work for as many people as possible. We want to extend an opportunity to you to work with us to help more people access this important experience and information. If you’d like to donate your coffee this week to our Grassroots Grants program, we’d be thrilled. As the fund grows, we’ll make regular posts on how it’s doing! It’s been slow growing and so far we are at $100. Thanks to those who have already contributed! It’s really one of those gifts that keeps on giving, as each person who attends the festival cultivates knowledge to share with their friends and family, and builds a network of supportive community!