Manitoba

'There's lots of innovation': DIY Homesteader Festival makes two-day debut

A Manitoba festival aimed at helping people build sustainability-focused life skills that their grandparents likely took for granted continues Sunday — the first time it’s ever been held over two days.
Mike Berg, co-founder of the DIY Homesteader Festival, says the response to the event is sometimes overwhelming. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

A Manitoba festival aimed at helping people build sustainability-focused life skills that their grandparents likely took for granted continues Sunday — the first time it's ever been held over two days.

But such is the popularity of the DIY Homesteader Festival at Cityfolk Farm near Thalberg off Highway 12, not far from the southeastern shore of Lake Winnipeg.

At the heart of the festival are workshops and demonstrations aimed at fostering more sustainable lifestyles. It's billed as a fun and connected way for people to bring sustainable life skills into their lives. 

Seven venues will feature a range of topics Sunday including raising backyard chickens, edible ecosystem design and basket-making.

Kids are welcome and get a workshop on weaving specifically geared to them.

"We have all these connections with people who are dying to share these skills," said co-founder Mike Berg in a Saturday interview. The response is "very positive," he said. "It feels a little bit overwhelming sometimes."

Workshops run the gamut from food preparation to basket-making to making a composting toilet. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Berg said it's the first time the festival, which started in 2013, has been held in August. In years prior, when it was held, it was on a day in June.

"There's a whole new generation of people who are wanting to get back into living off the land and being having a more sustainable lifestyle," he said.

Attendee Greg Wiebe said he'd learned about permaculture farm design through a workshop on Saturday, describing it as "instead of you working for the farm, the farm works for you," he said.

"It's nice to see other people and how they're homesteading," said Lita Savage-Murray. "There's lots of innovation."

The festival runs until 4:30 p.m. CT. Information on ticket prices, workshops and associated fees can be found here.  

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