“Thinking Outside the Box” at Patterson Springs Farm
By Louise Patterson Bruns and Lindsie Bruns
In the past couple of years we have been putting our heads together about how to bring our old family farm into the next generation. The farm has been in the family since 1902 when it was homesteaded by Frank Patterson. Frank and his wife Edith were pioneers who not only farmed the land, but also helped build the community in the early days. The 6th generation of Pattersons still resides in the farmhouse, and the gardens planted by Frank’s son and daughter-in-law Art and Theresa are still yielding flowers, berries and vegetables after all this time.
As making a living on a small farm is more difficult than ever, we needed to come up with some new ideas. We (Louise and her daughter Lindsie) decided to take our own interests in history, education, permaculture and hobby farming, and offer them to the people of Calgary and the rest of Alberta.
This is an exciting year for us, as we are expanding in all sorts of ways! Lindsie took the intro to beekeeping course from ABC last year and started out with one colony in a top bar hive built by her dad. This year we will add two more hives and we are looking forward to more honey!
We are also starting a CSA Program (Community Supported Agriculture) where we will offer our lucky shareholders a box of home-grown veggies, fruit, flowers, eggs and honey each week from July to September. They will also have the opportunity to visit the farm and help with planting and harvesting.
Lindsie has two young boys (and another babe on the way!) so she has many friends with young children as well. This inspired her to offer monthly Farm Play Days, where families come and enjoy the farm and play together.
Louise is a teacher with a passion for history, and Lindsie is an archaeologist and works at a museum. This summer we will put our skills to the test as we offer our first Young Pioneers Summer Camps. Children ages 6-12 will learn what life was like over 100 years ago. They will learn to make butter, jam, bread and ice cream from scratch, play with traditional toys and games, and learn about raising their own food. We like to call it WWLID? (What Would Laura Ingalls Do?)
Another passion we have is Permaculture. This is a way of designing your home and garden for sustainability. We offered our first Intro to Permaculture course last month, and we will be offering it again soon.
This summer we will be building a yurt, which will become a gathering place for workshops, summer camps, and events. We are looking forward to adding to our flock with more heritage chickens, some pigs, goats, sheep and maybe even a milk cow!
We invite you to come and visit us on June 18 for our Annual Summer Solstice Party. We will have a beautiful garden to play in, a nature-y craft, a scavenger hunt, face-painting, a big potluck dinner, and lots of other fun stuff. We have chickens, mules and bees to visit. You can even camp out in our yard and celebrate Father’s Day at the farm the next day. We have plenty of room for tents or trailers, and a lovely outhouse close by.
Please check out our website at www.pattersonspringsfarm.com and “Like” us on Facebook to keep up with our latest events and announcements. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 403-931-2595