garden · nomadique · Urban sprawl

PARANGA EXPERIMENTAL FOREST FARM

dsc_0018Paranga is named after the Scarlet Tanager, a bird that nests on this 17 acre land situated in the Laurentian Forests of Quebec.The experimental part comes from the question we often ask ourselves here: can we gain a livelihood from this land and respect the integrity of the surrounding forest?

The site was cleared in 2008 and the house completed (kind of) in 2010. Some of our current dreams and desires: a family cow living in a barn/greenhouse,small scale maple syrup shack dinners/ wood fired bread oven for a micro bakery business,commercial kitchen to be ‘legal’ while selling our wares at the local farmers market and from home,more greenhouses, more gardens, more orchards, more ducks and chickens, an evaporator, an old Tundra circa 1987…..ect.

I know I have been calling this place Porcupine Forest Farm, but I feel the Paranga is a creature that could connect us with the wider implications of our current interests over climate change, food security, biodiversity, and it may even get us a trip to the rainforest. The bird nests right here in Quebec and spends summers as far south as Columbia. Neither of us are career people and we have no steady income.

We founded the local farmers market 5 years ago in the village of Morin Heights, we work in gardening, cooking, landscaping, ski trail maintenance, stuff like that. To complete the projects we want to do it will either take a lot of helping hands, or a lot of money, or maybe a bit of both? Some think we should give in to reality and sell the place (local land and house prices are skyrocketing as Montreal is only an hour away) and buy a ‘real farm’.

A flat piece of ground with existing infrastructure, like a cow barn, or a greenhouse, ect. But we are both forest people. There is nothing like walking out in the morning and being in the forest, or walking to the lake where almost nobody swims because they are afraid of leeches or the cold, of skiing for miles over lakes and mature boreal forest where Moose, Wolf, Coyote, Black Bear, Fisher, Snowshoe Hare, Porcupine have all left their tracks.

The experience of walking through the dark cool woods and looking up to see the radiant shining red of the Scarlet Tanager, all of a sudden you could imagine being in the rain forest. I also feel that our surrounding biome is much more resilient that the land even 30km to the south.

The flat lands of the Ottawa valley are being heavily deforested and big Ag has its boot firmly on the neck of all government. Just south of us it is much hotter, drier, windier. South towards Montreal there is almost no forest left, in recent years the last big chunks of wood have been cleared for the Super (Stupid) Centres – Wallmart, Giant Tiger, Five Guys,Bulk Barn,Puma, Boston Pizza,Tim Hortons, Hillfiger!

Owned by conglomerates that are enslaving the local youth and taking off with all our topsoil and most of the money…….so don’t go to the mall, come see us at Paranga Forest Farm, where you may even glimpse the elusive Fisher King.

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