Libby McMinn stand in an area of Highlands Community Garden that will become part of a food forest. (Rick Stiebel/News staff)

Highlands Community Garden hosts food forest workshop

Edible trees grant plants the seeds

Highlands Community Garden’s food forest is a growing concern, thanks to a grant from Tree Canada.

The garden, which opened in May, is adding a food forest which will contain a wide selection of food-producing trees, said Libby McMinn, co-chair of Highlands Community Garden. “We’re extremely grateful for the grant that will form the backbone of the food forest we’re developing,” she noted. Tree Canada, a non-profit organization that promotes and nurtures the planting of tree in rural and urban area, donated $4,000 through it edible trees grant program. The funding enables the purchase of about 30 common fruit trees, including apple, pear, plum and cherry, McMinn noted, adding that the garden is a communal resource all members have access to. “We’re also planting some less common varieties, including mulberry, persimmon, almond and fig. Our goal is to demonstrate what’s possible in the Highlands, and to give people a place where they can grow food because most Highlands residents have poor soil, limited water and sunlight, and lots of deer.”

Highlands Community Garden, which has about 30 members, is hosting Food Forests: an ecological approach to growing for the future, toward that end. It will look at the design, benefits and appropriate plants for a food forest. Highlands Coun. Gord Baird, who will present the workshop, has a wealth of knowledge on permaculture principles and practices, plant selection, soil nutrients and management and pruning and grafting, McMinn noted.

Baird and his wife, Ann, co-owners of Eco-Sense Nursery, have developed a food forest on their property in the Highlands which provides the majority of their diet, along with annual crops.

“Food forestry is a practice of creating productive and stable food systems that mimic the natural ecological patterns,”

Baird explained. “These systems rely on interconnected relationships between plants, soil, microbes and fungi, and are more resilient to climate disruptions. They are also less prone to the impacts of drought and require minimal management once they are established. The concepts really arise from the methods employed by Indigenous people across the planet, and it’s commonly referred to as permaculture.”

The free workshop is on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Highlands Community Hall at 729 Finlayson Arm Rd. For more information on the garden or the workshop, email

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

One year later, life is much different in Saanich for the Bui family

‘We still hear cars screeching at the intersection,’ says mom of Leila Bui

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Sidney

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Save-On-Foods fills up the pantry of Jeneece Place

Retailer stocks up kitchen of local facility for the fourth straight year

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Sailors reunited with family for Christmas in Victoria

HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Edmonton return following a two-month deployment

Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Children won’t have to go without toys this Christmas

Vancouver Island First Nation buys limited interest in Western Forest Products

Huu-ay-aht First Nations enters into partnership with logging firm

Construction on road to Tofino and Ucluelet takes a break for the holidays

“The road has been restored to two way traffic flow through the construction zone.”

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

$1.1-billion Vancouver Island power plant replacement project officially complete

New Campbell River-area John Hart generating station replacing and upgrading 1947 facility

The prize was wrong: Man turns down trip to Manitoba

A New Hampshire man won the prize on “The Price is Right”, but turned it down because the taxes were too high

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Most Read