Homesteader Fest offers lessons in prairie life skills
Fraserwood, Man., do-it-yourself festival gives urban, rural residents prairie life skills
Ever wondered how to compost? Make your own soap? Can those fresh veggies from your garden? Well one Manitoba festival wants to answer all of those questions in one day.
The community of Fraserwood, Man., is hosting the first-ever Homesteader Fest, which aims to help urban and rural people get back to their roots through a number of do-it-yourself projects.
The festival will offer a host of workshops on how to do everything from can fruits and vegetables from your own garden to how to keep chickens or bees.
They’re all lessons organizer Adrienne Percy says are important for prairie citizens —especially the young ones.
"Kids don’t know where their food comes from. People often don’t know how to preserve or cook their own food," said Percy.
"It just seems like we were losing some essential skills."
Percy moved her own family from the city to a 320-acre property last year near Fraserwood, located about 85 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
In Fraserwood, Percy and her family found a community of homesteaders that had those essential skills.
"There’s all this amazing homegrown talent, and people who hold this knowledge and these skills," said Percy.
Her farm, dubbed Nourished Roots Farm, operates with the help of her kids, who help gather eggs everyday.
So Percy and her friend Kris Antonius thought up Homesteader Fest, a chance for those people to share their skills.
The fest will offer 27 workshops including "beekeeping, raising goats, keeping chickens, how to plant and grow asparagus, keeping your tools in good working condition," according to Antonius.
Percy herself is offering a workshop on fermentation.
"Anywhere you look in the world, there is fermented food that is indigenous to that region. A lot of us remember a crock of sauerkraut," said Percy, adding the simpler method of preserving food was a precursor to canning.
Farmer Dawn Cross will offer soap-making lessons at the fest. She already offers classes on how to butcher chickens and sew.
Cross was also once a city girl and said the fest isn’t just for people interested in homesteading in the country — but urbanites who want to learn how to bring the farm to the city.
"We’re passing on skills to other people who maybe don’t know where to find the information or maybe are just scared to do it on their own," said Cross.
The fest runs all day Saturday.