This place is magical but you know this anyway. My time here has been so rich. My body has felt at ease and to grow and have time to consider. I am so glad to have met you and come here. I am sure I was pulled here by something. The way the trees surround the property makes me feel like I have a huge support watching over me. I love it. What you do here is heartening. The community, the great people, you are both in my heart. Thank you, Rob
It’s my last week in paradise. I am so grateful for the last five and a half months. I have learned an incredible amount about gardening, soil, herbs, and cooking.
-You don’t feed the plant you feed the soil. If you have healthy soil, you have healthy plants, and that means you have healthy people. Dirt is ALIVE. Healthy soil is full of bacteria, fungi, worms, bugs, and water. To help build up healthy soil, mulch. Use hay, seaweed, leaves, grass clippings, what Thierry calls “green manure”, mulch in the fall to have good garden beds in the spring. Also use fish fertilizer, rock powder, compost tea.
-The California Poppy has brilliant orange petals. They close in the evening, sleep through the night waiting for the sun to show their full glory. It is distantly related to opium poppies, and contains isoquinoline alkaloids, which are known to have pain-relieving properties. It is safe to use on children, and can be used for hyperactivity, sleepiness, and coughs. It is a sedative and can be used for pain, insomnia, and anxiety in adults.
Thank you so much Thierry and Chanchal for offering this experience. Thank you Thierry for being a great mentor, I love your vision for the farm and its community. I’ll miss so much about this place, the friends I have made, Smudge the Innisfree hunter who has been my cuddly comfort (and hot water bottle), the FOOD, OH THE FOOD! No green salad will ever be the same. And I’ll miss the beautiful peaceful chaos that is Innisfree.
Much love and gratitude,
I came here in a state of longing to retrieve the essence of life in it all; in nature, and in the connection we all share in every life form. Words are not enough to thank you for providing the grounds, hospitality and education, the energy and spirit for such nurturing charm. I am forever grateful and truly inspired.
Much love and thanks,
What drew me to your farm last summer ? It was a great opportunity to not only learn practices relating to organic agriculture but also be immersed in a larger educational experience about things like CSAs, holistic health practices, the importance of healthy eating and learning about the marketing aspects of organic farming. I saw that your farm was more than just organic farming, it was really espoused to a larger idea of sustainable living. I think I was clear about this in my application to you last spring, that I am really keen on learning by doing which I felt happened everyday at your farm.
While at the farm I realized that this type of learning also involves a certain amount of self-motivation and initiative. You taught me that if I wanted to learn something I would have to do the necessary background research and reading so that I could at least have some body of knowledge from which we could start a productive discussion–only from this can a relevant and efficient conversation happen. Learning is more of a reciprocal rather than one-way dialogue, and I think I improved in learning how to better articulate my expectations and how to engage in a meaningful dialogue. It is up to me to choose what I want to learn and how I should go about learning it.
I see educational experiences like the one at Innisfree and this one as kind of laying my foundation of knowledge and providing me with a broad perspective from which I can then choose what I am most passionate about.
The amount I’ve learned, grown, and experienced, at Innisfree and from both of you can’t be expressed in words. I was a girl who did not have much experience or knowledge in food, planting and harvesting, or Herbal Medicine. You took a chance on me and gracefully allowed me into your home, your work, your passion, and your life. For this I will be forever thankful. I was challenged everyday. I did things I have never done before everyday. I was amazed by the beauty of Innisfree everyday. I was able to be quiet everyday. I was able to learn and listen to what I want to do in the future, here at Innisfree. You both have been the most influential teachers I have had in the areas of life, beauty and health.
So again for this and so many other things I am forever thankful.
Thank you for sharing your extraordinary adventure into sustainable, mindful, soulful living. Your place is beautiful, as are both of you. I am very grateful for this time & look forward to a return as the spring cycles in.
Dear CSA Members,
This being my 11th and final CSA box to you, I would like to say one final thank you for your support and for being a part of the wonderful programs here at Innisfree Farm. Without the support of you, our community, we would not be able to do what we do here. And thank you for indirectly or directly welcoming me into your home here in the Comox Valley for the past four months. Interning at Innisfree has been the most memorable and transformative experience of my life. I have learned so much more than how to farm, and grown so much as a human being. I have planted many seeds, not only to grow food, but seeds of inspiration in my heart and mind that will germinate, sprout, and grow over the course of my life.
I will miss all the garlic, the larger-than-life raspberries, the enormous lettuces, the forest of herbs, and having my hands in the dirt all day long. I will miss Smudge and Isis, my little feline friends here at Innisfree, and the chickens, the birds singing all day long, the gorgeous scenery, and the clean fresh air.
But most of all I will miss the people. All the people I have connected to here have made an impression on me that will stay with me always. I will miss the wonderful Innisfree family dinners, or banquets I should call them. The feeling of camaraderie, community, love, joy and celebration that emerge at our dinners is just magical. I will miss all of these people and things dearly, but I know I can always come back to them, and I also know that they are part of me forever, so I can bring them with me wherever I go, spreading the Innisfree spirit wherever life’s adventures lead me.
I hope you continue to build your community & farm with true love, yours and that of the many people you so warmly welcome to this place. I have left a bit of my own here and there, and I am excited to see what your dreams will create. Thank you so much for a wonderful, fullfilling two months.
With love, Julia
I cannot thank you enough for the time I have spent here at Innisfree. It has nurtured my mind,body, and soul in so many ways. I am excited to go out into the world inspired by what I have experienced and learned here.
Thank you for your hospitality and wisdom.
Coming from Southern California, I had never experienced real seasons throughout the year, until coming here last spring. I can remember the first day I arrived- May 1st, 2011. I looked around the farm and all I saw was dead grass, bare soil, and naked trees. “This is not how it looked in the pictures on the website,” I thought, and wondered if I was at the right place. Between then and now, however, I have had the privilege of experiencing two growing seasons- witnessing Nature’s miraculous cycling of birth, life, death, and rebirth. And it truly is a beautiful thing.
What always amazes me is the incredible volume of food that some plants produce. I have in mind our raspberries, the wild blackberries, and the blueberries at the farm down the road. I grew up only ever seeing these berries at the grocery store, sold in little plastic tubs (not for cheap- and tasting so pathetic) and now I can eat a huge bowl of blueberries every day, just walk outside my caravan to pick fresh wild blackberries, and consume raspberries like they grow on trees (or canes)! It is very exciting to be surrounded by such a bounty of beautiful fruit. I made jam for the first time last night because I want to preserve some of this wonderful fruit to take home with me when I leave. It was blackberry-crabapple jam. (Crabapples have high pectin content and blackberries have very low pectin, which is why I combined the two.) The aroma from the cooking blackberries was so sweet, fragrant, and delicious- like nothing you could get from any grocery store. I felt so satisfied when it was all packed into the little glass jars, ready to store away and bring out some months from now, to remind me of my fruit-filled summer here in BC. Something very new for me since I have lived here on the farm is the cycling through the year of what crops are plentiful at certain times. It is so different when you live on a farm and see directly the phases of the different crops, than to buy all your produce from a store, where the selection is the same year-round.
When I arrived this spring it was kale salads every day; we almost couldn’t keep up with picking our raspberries they kept coming so fast; in July and August we had endless plums; the past couple weeks we have had a glut of green beans; and there is so much anticipation leading up to the first ripe tomato! Finding different ways to use the crops that are in season at the moment is something I greatly enjoy; I like that Nature gives us some direction as to what foods to eat at what time. And there’s always that sense of urgency to harvest everything at its peak, but of course there is more to be harvested than there is time to do it! But it is comforting to know that anything we don’t use simply goes back to the land to be recycled into the soil. So, enjoy the late summer abundance of wild blackberries, perhaps make some jam the old fashioned way with your children or grand children, and don’t forget to take in the magic of the changing seasons. If you need to find me, I’ll probably be picking wild blackberries somewhere down the road…
Emily, the Herbal Apprentice
Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have spent the past month here at Innisfree. It has been magical. Thank you for creating a space where I could genuinely connect with myself, others, and the Earth.
Best wishes to you both.
A blog about Interning at Innisfree