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  • Dave Barnes

Dreams Become Reality!

Hello friends, and welcome to the Assiniboine Food Forest Inc. (AFFI) blog.  At last the dreams of creating a food forest in our home place have hit the internet, and I would like to give thanks …

First and foremost, I want to thank Brandon City Council for their support of the vision we presented to them in March, 2013.   Our delegation asked for three considerations, and Council rewarded us with unanimous support for them all … 1) a Protected Spaces Network for Brandon, 2) choosing AFFI as the first protected space, and 3) permitting permaculture science to guide the regeneration of ecosystems on the AFFI parcel.  For those of you unsure what permaculture is, here’s a short definition: the creation and nurture of self-regulating ecosystems, modelled on Nature herself, that produce food and habitat for both wildlife and humans.  (For more on permaculture see the FAQ section.)

Secondly, thanks go out to the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) for stepping up to protect Brandon’s most precious oak forest ecosystem.  About ten acres of the AFFI landscape are ancient oak forest … the remaining 30 acres are covered with invasive brome, spurge and thistle after having been clear cut and then grazed non-intensively for 50 or 60 years.  But the ancient trees on the parcel were standing when the first colonial settler arrived in Brandon circa 1880.  Under their expansive canopy wolves, cougar and plains grizzly roamed the valley when it was covered in a mile-wide carpet of lush forest. They survived uncountable floods and wildfires thanks to their deep roots and thick, fire-resistant bark.  Spending time in a grove of ancient trees is a magical experience … you and your loved ones should come experience it here for yourselves.

Thirdly, thanks are due to the volunteers that sit on our Board of Directors, and those committed community members who have pitched their time and labour to keep us moving forward.  It’s been a year since we incorporated, and much time has been spent in public surveys, planning sessions, board meetings, and discussions with numerous authorities.  And just as you think the rules of the game are all worked out, there turn out to be more meetings to attend.  But still, the future for us is nothing but bright as we envision creating forest, wetland and native prairie landscapes for future generations.

We have been blessed by wonderful contributions from forward-thinking businesses, educational institutions and municipal authorities.  We thank Naomi Leadbeater of  Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal and Healthy Brandon for grants to conduct perma-blitz make-overs at Argyle Park and Neelin High School this summer.  Thanks also to Reta and Chris Saborowski of Bee EZ Tree Service, AFFI’s official arborists, for eliminating life-threatening hazards caused by limb breakage in big storms.  Kudos to Bruce Phipps and Manitoba Hydro for donations of used red cedar hydro poles, and big thanks to Malena Gonzalez and the Assiniboine Community College web design students for creating the basic skeleton of this website.  Lastly, a huge thank-you goes out to Michael Leech at Leech Printing for supporting us with amazing donations of time and services.  Sponsors like all of these fine people are what make Brandon a special place.

Dave Barnes

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