The Simon Farm project is located on a 21-acre plot of land south of Calgary near High River. The farm is on a five-year loan to the university and is managed by Dr. Tatenda Mambo, PhD, working with a team of students. Food generated from the farm is donated to the High River Food Bank - in the summer of 2019, this was 400 lbs of food! The overall goal of this project is to create an agro-ecological system where various forms of production are integrated, such that the different production activities feed into each other, functioning as a holistic ecological system.
As part of this field school, students apply and work with regenerative/sustainable agricultural practices in the creation of an integrated agricultural system that includes horticulture, mushroom production, perennial crops, and alternative approaches such as hydroponics. The guiding principle in the approach to this field school is to use nature and natural processes as a model, taking inspiration from Permaculture and Biodynamic farming. In all instances, comparisons are made with conventional production systems, taking into account short and long-term outcomes, implications for a resilient food system, and unintended consequences. Central tenants to the approaches used in this class include biodiversity, nutrient cycling, closed loops, and environmental stewardship.
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