On April 8, 2021, Green Acreages Coordinator, Milena McWatt, joined Lorraine Taylor, Horticulturist & Conservation Coordinator for Lac Ste. Anne County, on a site visit to acreage owner Hayley Rothenberg’s three-acre property.
New to acreage living, Hayley moved to her property in September 2020. When asked why she chose to move she explained, “I knew I wanted to live on the land; live more simply.” Hayley is interested in living in harmony with the landscape and being more self-sufficient and, using the principles of permaculture, plans to include orchards, a food forest as well as protein production. The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature.
“I knew if I was going to do it, the time was now and then I found this beautiful, quiet, hard-working homestead,” Hayley adds.
Despite being a new acreage owner, Hayley has big plans to implement stewardship initiatives on her land to protect and conserve the valuable natural assets such as water, soil, air and wildlife associated with her property, but she knew she would need some guidance.
So, after attending a Green Acreages workshop, Hayley reached out to her local rural municipality and Land Stewardship Centre for some advice on how to improve her property through best management practices and address some issues she is experiencing. Facing seasonal flooding on her acreage, close to her outbuildings, Hayley has decided to apply to the Green Acreages Program project funding opportunity to implement a rain garden that will include elements of permaculture and food production. This project will help mitigate flooding and manage spring runoff from a slope on her acreage while also producing vegetables for her household. Rain gardens are one innovative way to enhance the natural watershed function of an acreage property and reduce the impacts of flooding and drought.
Hayley describes her experience with the Green Acreages Program with excitement.
“Wow, what can I say? It has been a gift to discover the program because I had just moved to my property and hardly knew anything. It was like learning a new language. The workshop helped me get my foot in the door to understand stewardship and it’s been growing since.”
Hayley says she is still on a steep learning curve but is grateful for the fantastic resources in the Green Acreages workbook, and Lorraine’s and Milena’s support, especially during the site visit, where they helped her figure out how to move forward with the funding project.
“I couldn’t even think it through without their support,” adds Hayley. “I didn’t know where to begin or even know what I needed to do to help the water issue that was occurring. I’m slowly chipping away at it and now hope to make the deadline for the application process to begin work on a rain garden that incorporates edibles. I think [it’s] pretty incredible the Green Acreages Program is available to us.”
With funding from Alberta Environment and Protected Areas' Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program, the Green Acreages Program is accepting applications from acreage, hobby farm and recreational property owners across Alberta for cost-shared stewardship projects in 2021. Eligible projects must enhance natural watershed function and mitigate the effects of flooding and drought.