A man from Thunder Bay has set his sights on establishing an experimental research site within the city limits.

Nick Kitchener wants to try out permaculture techniques and study the impact that cold weather has on agriculture.

Kitchener describes permaculture not only as a way of growing, but an approach to living.

“It's from producing food to developing cultural economies in a way that it is beneficial for humanity as well as the environment,” he said.

Working WITH Nature10:21

Kitchener is playing out his passion for permaculture in the Thunder Bay garden he's been tending for the last two years. He's been working to build good soil conditions and experimenting with a number of permaculture approaches, such as inter-planting species.

And he's seeing the benefits.

“By mixing colours, textures and smells in the garden, it provides a natural way to prevent disease and insects,” he said.

thunder bay garden

Nick Kitchener's permaculture garden in Thunder Bay. The garden features a mix of colours, textures and smells. (Nick Kitchener)

Fertile ground for research

Now Kitchener is looking beyond his garden in search of a piece of property he can rent or lease as a site to experiment with cold-weather permaculture.

A rural setting will allow him to study how animals and plants interact.

Thunder Bay offers the ideal conditions for his work, he noted.

“There are very, very few examples of extremely cold climate permaculture,” he said.

“It provides a lot of fertile area for research.”

Most permaculture takes place in dry, tropical areas — not “where there's six months of snow,” he added.

Kitchener has a series of experiments he wants to conduct.

But for him, the test site is about more than research. It's about public education.

“We want somewhere not far outside of city limits, so people can visit and see what permaculture is all about and how it acts.”

The ideal spot would be a rural property, within the city limits, where animals and crops could be raised, and the public could visit, he said.

See video and audio links from other CBC regions below:

Permaculture garden7:37

From Culture to Permaculture2:02