Here is the description of the class:
"Creating an Edible Landscape - Growing your own food can be extremely satisfying with great benefits for your health, your pocketbook and the environment. Based on permaculture principles, this workshop will explore unique approaches to integrating fruits, berries, herbs and annual and perennial vegetables throughout the landscape. "
This was a fantastic class, and all for the great price of 5 dollars! It was very well attended, and almost everyone there was scribbling notes about all of the different types of edible plants that are suited to our Zone 3a plant hardiness area.
The instructor also talked about the beauty of food plants, and how they go well in any garden, whether it be for decoration or not. As you can see from the picture, Rainbow chard is gorgeous, and there are so many different colors of kale too. He described how to create a 'spiral herb garden' which is made from a small mound of earth, that takes on different micro climates depending on which side of the mound the herbs are on-- oregano and rosemary go on the sunny side, parsley on the shady side, and lower down. Plus, the mound creates more surface area, and visual interest, than a flat spot would. I couldn't take notes fast enough! Fortunately, a comprehensive list of plants native to Alberta and edible are available on his website, here.
He spoke for a while about Thomas Pawlick's book, The End of Food, and how for example, a tomato contains fewer vitamins and more fat (!) and sodium than it did 30 years ago. He recalled how a nutritionist at one of his workshops had commented on this being the reason why the Canada Food Guide has to keep revising its portions of fruit and vegetables upwards, because the industrially grown varieties just don't have the vitamins and nutrients that they used to.
It was a most informative and enjoyable way for Gord and I to spend the evening, and work on the Independence Days challenge at the same time!
Gorgeous rainbow chard picture courtesy this flickr site