High on Permaculture in the Rocky Mountains (156)

pm156_550Kris Holstrom’s off-grid permaculture farm at 9000 feet high is living proof that food can be grown nearly anywhere. Managing with a very short growing season and water constraints, she and her interns have created magic. Tour the sun-warmed, insulated greenhouse where greens are grown year-round. It’s home to a waterfall and pond with fish, trellises for grapes and seedlings, artwork for the soul, and mushrooms growing from straw. The outside garden offers herbs, berries, greens and prayer flags. Kris sees herself as a steward of the land, and delights in sharing it with kids and interns in a spirit of love and reciprocity.

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  1. So glad to have found this, and hope to track down follow-up developments for Kris’s place now that it’s 2012. I farmed (and many still do!) in the Peace River region of northern BC with a similar growing season, at latitude 55d, for a few decades. I’ve noticed many higher altitude Colorado indigenous plants are the same as those we knew in our challenging BC climate. Service berry (“Saskatoons”) were abundant, as were many other berries, although Saskatoons were *the* crowning glory. In my experience, blackberries were the only ‘commonly known’ wild berry that didn’t handle the climate there. I’m now in southern Colorado, eastern slope, at 6500 ft, in charge of about 1/3 acre. Growing season “reliably frost/snow free” from mid-May through mid-October. My dedication is to build soil (really poor here), and to establish permaculture food production that might handle neglect (potential to carry on if water is not easily available.) One of the ways I work on soil building is to “harvest” the ever abundant weeds – lambsquarter suitable as small Christmas trees! I pile and rot them down. I’m also trying to go “sans film plastic”, am trying to be as strict on this as possible, and to use “old boards & junk lying about” whenever possible to build box growing beds, or serve other practical purposes. My place is located in an old mining community dating back to the late 1800s, so there’s quite a lot of stuff lying about. It’s an “engineering” and labor challenge, and it’s also richly rewarding! It’s so uplifting to be aware of others scattered about the nation, and the globe, forging a similar path. I especially appreciate Kris’s “non-ownership steward” attitude toward her land, and also her “this is an on-going project” approach! So many intriguing possibilities and they can’t all be undertaken at once – so one begins, nudges, nibbles on … and development continues! Thank you!

  2. Iselin Celestine says:

    Laughing. Oh–these remarks were intended for another video. Oddly, the process “cross-wired” somehow. Regardless, what a superb conversation this was. So many ideas for all of us–beyond “simply” the growing of food. Sent the link to my girlfriend as she and members of her spiritual/social service organization could potentially benefit notably from them. Kris is such a pleasant, warm, and expansive person. These qualities further enhance the informational aspect of this Peak Moment Conversation.

  3. Iselin Celestine says:

    You are most dear…as is your puppy! Your earnestness, enthusiasm…infectious enough to make me smile. And a notably thorough tour (inspirational in the variety of your veges) as well. So enjoyable. Thank you!

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