Think like a forest: workshop series

“Sometimes, if you just look to the trees, you can see that there are also quiet ways of communicating, and of resisting.” ~Mari Keski-Korsu, Transdisciplinary artist

What does our food system taste like? Why should we empathize with earthworms? How does a forest think? Forests are dynamic, resilient living beings connected in community. 

During this time of climate chaos, become part of the solution. Forests can become our teachers for new ways of seeing and interacting with the world. As we learn how to think like a forest, we can awaken our senses, reshape our food system and discover new ways of sustainable being and doing that support the long term flourishing of Earth.

Kingston Food Forest Network’s workshop series explores our relationship with food, soil, and the wild beings with whom we share this land. If we learn from the wisdom of wild forests, from each other and from our experiences on the land, we can become wise Earth stewards.

March workshops

Seeds, soil, supper [KCVI]

Every garden, every wildscape, every forest starts with a seed. Starting your own plants from seed is a lot of fun and allows you to grow a wonderful variety of heirloom, unusual or locally adapted seedlings for your vegetable garden or wildscape. And it’s a great way to save money! 

Thursday, March 12, 2020 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at KCVI. Register on eventbrite.

April workshops

Designing a fruit tree guild for wet sites

Inspired by indigenous forest gardens, we’ll create a fruit tree guild (a community of plants that support each other) designed to thrive in sites that are wet in spring.

Date TBA. Oak Street Community Garden.

May workshops

Vertical gardening

Forests grow up and we can too! Learn about vertical gardening on fences, walls, roofs, trees & balconies. Grow more, harvest more. Vegetables, fruits, edible flowers & vines.  

Date TBA. Oak Street Community Garden

Designing a nut tree food forest guild 

We’ll design & plant nut tree guilds inspired by the Carolinian forest. Species include butternut (Juglans cinerea), chestnut (Castanea spp.), Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus), Hop tree (Ptelea trifoliata) , pawpaw, (Asimina triloba) hazelnut (Corylus cornuta and C. americana), elderberry (Sambucus spp.), red currant (Ribes spp.) and redbud (Cercis canadensis).

Date: May 16. Lakeside Community Garden

June workshops

Creating creature towers: supporting birds, bees, beneficial bugs & more

We’ll design & build a creature tower. Creatures – including butterflies, bees, moths, bugs, birds and more – feed forests, pollinate fruit, berries & nuts, create soil and defend plants against predators. As biologist E.O. Wilson once said, these incredible creatures are “the little things that run the world.”

Date TBA. Lakeside Community Garden.

International mud day: a playful celebration of soil 

Celebrate international mud day with us! Mud slides, mud pond, mud pies & mud art!  And learn about how tightly connected we are with bacteria, why bacteria is good for us and how it helps build our immune systems.

Date June 27. Lakeside Community Garden.

July workshops 

Overlooked under loved plants free for harvest

Our yards, parks and countryside are a source of a wonderful variety of medicinal, edible, dyes and nectar sources or host plants for bees and butterflies. Join us for an urban weed walk around Oak Street Community Garden to discover its hidden treasures.

Date TBA. Oak Street Community Garden

Print a ‘think like a forest’ t-shirt with natural dyes

Forests & fields (and your pantry) are bursting with colours that you can use to make your own natural dyes. We’ll have a selection of natural dyes available for you to print your very own “think like a forest’ t-shirt. Bring a plain white t-shirt.

Date TBA. Memorial Market

August workshops

Communicating with trees using sensory drawing

Trees communicate with each other via a ‘wood wide web’, mycelium networks which connect the underground root system, similar to our nervous system. Trees warn each other about potential dangers, support each other in times of stress, have memory and respond to past experience. But is it possible for humans to communicate with a tree, too? We’ll learn how to use our perceptual senses to communicate with plants in a forest. 

Date TBA. Lakeside Community Garden

Cover crops, fall crops, seed crops 

How often do you see bare soil in a forest? Mimic the soil building of a natural forest with cover crops, fall crops and seeds crops. Cover crops build soil, suppress weeds, support pollinators with flowers, provide seeds for wildlife and humans, offer habitat for birds and beneficial insects.

Date TBA. Lakeside Community Garden

September workshops

Storing your harvest the traditional way: fermenting, drying, cellaring 

Fermenting is one of the healthiest ways to preserve. Drying the easiest. And cellaring in your basement, garage or in the ground keeps it fresh. After the workshop we’ll celebrate fall with harvest pizza made with homemade fermented dough (sourdough) topped with fermented wild green pesto.

Date TBA. Oak Street Community Garden

Forest feast & fun harvest festival

Feast on pizza. Dance to live music.

Date September 26. Oak Street Community Garden

October workshops

No dig, low maintenance, drought resistant food gardening

When you think like a forest, food gardening becomes much easier. We’ll talk about no dig gardening, why you should welcome some weeds into your garden, see the hidden treasures in a messy garden and build a hugel bed.

Date TBA. Lakeside Community Garden

Witches of the forest

Join us for an after dark exploration of the [forest TBA] where stories come alive and the witches of woods reveal themselves. Wind your way through a wild forest and uncover the wisdom of the dark woods as told through music, dance, performance art and poetry. Older children are welcome, but the show is not designed for children. If Baba Yaga scares them…that’s on you….

Date TBA. Location TBA

November workshops

Simple soil testing

We are the soil, we grow from the soil, we are sustained by the soil. Discover five simple soil tests to learn more about your soil. Squeeze. Percolate. Worm count. pH. Plant vigour [or root check? or taste?].

Date TBA. Location: Oak Street Community Garden

Making more plants: shrubs, trees & native seeds 

Help increase the biodiversity of our urban landscape by propagating and sharing native & heirloom edible species. Topics: Collecting native seeds. Dividing or taking cuttings from shrubs. Planting nuts. If you have seeds or nuts to share or suckers you’ve divided, bring them!

Date TBA. Location: Lemoine Point