At Willow Creek Farm, we are committed to regenerative living. We use permaculture design and holistic management as frameworks to influence our decision-making processes. Growing food is important to us and we are expanding our production on an annual basis. Currently we raise chickens, ducks, and geese. We have a barn cat turned indoor cat named Mica. We also have peacock that lives on the farm named Yang.
Where We Are
Willow Creek Farm is located just off of Highway 401 near Dutton, Ontario. We are 30 minutes West of London, 2 hours West of Toronto and 1 hour 30 minutes East of Windsor/Detroit.
About Our Philosophies and Influences
Our approach to homesteading at Willow Creek Farm is based on applying permaculture design to our entire 50-acre farm, but this type of design is completely scalable to any size of land. The farm we are working towards will produce a great deal of the food for our family, with a surplus of resources for sale. Our diet is based on plants we can grow, and animals we raise ourselves. Our farm also hosts many areas set-aside for wild nature. We have strong interest in appropriate technology, DIY and fix-it-yourself solutions, and finding ways to solve problems that use the least embodied energy, without giving up on basic human comforts. We have our intentions set on obtaining our livelihoods through enterprises based on our land by producing and making use of the abundance our land can provide, while also leaving the land better for the future. Our influences include the nameless multitude of traditional ancestors of all cultures, who developed many of the techniques adapted into permaculture. Besides our local mentors, such as Shantree Kacera and Lorenna Bousquet-Kacera of The Living Centre, we are influenced by many contemporary writers and online teachers such as: Bill Mollison, David Holmgren (the originators of the term permaculture), Mark Shepard (author of Restoration Agriculture), Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier (authors of Edible Forest Gardens), Allan Savory (originator of Holistic Management), Ben Law (author of The Woodland Way), Geoff Lawton (excellent teacher and video host), Sepp Holzer (an independent originator of permaculture), Paul Wheaton (popularizer of permaculture, host of online Permies forum, podcast host and video-maker).
A growing branch of permaculture includes social and cultural applications of the principles. When considering our home systems, we feel that they provide the best arena to make meaningful and lasting change in the world. When we start with small changes in our own lives, they can take hold and influence further emergence of the family life and world we desire. We wish family life to reflect the sustainable values of permaculture. Our approach to parenting is to use systems thinking to inform parenting decisions from the system level down to the details of daily living. There are too many ‘experts’ in the world, especially within parenting. The best experts on your family are those that belong to it. Using holistic systems thinking and by applying the principles of permaculture we can create a framework which is individuated to your vision for your family. The fundamentals of this approach include mindfulness, deep listening, objective observation and radical trust in how nature manifests itself through our family. Some key influencers in our parenting model include Looby Macnamara (social permaculture writer), Starhawk (social justice activist and permaculturist), Brene Brown (authenticity, shame and vulnerability researcher), Kim Jon Payne (Simplicity Parenting), Dan Siegel (No-Drama Discipline), Gordon Neufeld (Hold on to you Kids) and Laura Markham (Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids).
Other Things We Do
With Shantree Kacera of The Living Centre, Rob operates Artemisia’s Forest Garden Nursery, a small-scale local nursery that specializes in edible and medicinal plants, shrubs, trees, and vines. They especially specialize in a wide variety of medicinal and culinary herbs, rare and hard to find fruit and berries, and bulk chestnut, hazelnut, and nut pines from proven seed sources.
Julie blogs about permaculture parenting at Family Yields. She applies permaculture principles to various aspects of parenting, alongside her stunning photography she takes around the farm and elsewhere. (Most of the photos on this site were taken by her.)
Our Local Community
There are a number of thriving permaculture businesses in Southwestern, Ontario. Here are the ones we know personally and highly recommend.