DIY Homesteader Festival
Pauline Boldt's second Dispatch column here on PGM covers a great topic, one that we're buried into right now as Modern Homesteading happens to be the theme of our next issue!! The DIY Homesteader Festival was the first of it's kind in Canada and was a huge success! The event took place in early June and was a day filled with teaching, learning, community, and sustainability. We caught up with the organizer, Kris Antonius of Nourished Roots, and she shared a little about the festival below.
Introduce us to the DIY festival and event. What was the inspiration and what were your goals?
The DIY Homesteader Festival was founded by two families with a desire to connect people with the skills they need to practice modern homesteading. Adrienne and Trevor Percy and Kris Antonius and Mike Berg are the festival founders and believe that, at a root level, the festival is important because fundamental skills have slipped away in an alarmingly short period of time. Even on the Prairies - a place where, not long ago, the vast majority of folks you talked to seemed to be only ‘a generation from the farm’ - has today lost its connection to many essential food growing and preparation skills.
Today people are looking to reconnect. Many speak of feeling it’s time for a change, but they also don’t know where to start. That’s where the DIY Homesteader Festival comes in. Bridging the divide between those that have already walked the path - and practice essential or sacred healing and food skills - and those who yearn to take the first step. To dig their hands into rich black earth (together), to experience fresh eggs from happy chickens, to be able to preserve their own bountiful harvest, and to make their own medicine....to be empowered to act as a community again.
Describe the event itself. What was the day like? What sort of people attended?
It was inspiring to participate in such a gathering of folks spanning generations, from urban and rural areas all coming together to teach, learn and connect on so many levels. The success of the event and the support of the community and volunteers were heart-warming. Cool weather tempered by warm hearts, clusters of teachers and learners gathered around projects, conversations on square bales with hot coffee and wholesome spelt cookies. Children climbing on giant bales of hay and creating with natural materials in the Kids' Area. Beautiful folk music enjoyed alongside a nourishing meal prepared by Integrity Foods. The joyful energy of 350 people learning and loving in one place at one time.
Jump below for more pictures and the remainder of the interview.
What skills did you have set up for people to learn? What was most popular, in the end?
The DIY Homesteader Festival featured 27 workshops in three categories - cooking and eating, farm and garden, and health and home. Attendees learned everything from how to make the cadillac of all chicken coops to how to keep bees to herbal first aid. The herbal based workshops were the first to fill up, but all of the workshops were popular - we set out to create our dream festival, so we made sure the calibre of workshops was high - the hardest part of organizing the festival was not being able to learn with the amazingly talented local farmers, producers and artisans that offered workshops at the festival.
Will the festival become an annual event? What are your long term goals? How can people become involved?
We are already putting our heads together to make next year's festival even better. The level of interest is clear based on the turnout this year - people want to reconnect with the land, with their food, and with nourishing their families and communities. Our dream is for people to leave the festival inspired about how easy and gratifying it can be to make or grow what you need. We believe that we can have stronger, healthier, more resilient people and communities when we connect around these skills. Hopefully each person can go home and share a bit with a neighbour, friend, or family member and carry on the teaching and learning that was kindled at the festival.