January 2021

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Refarmers.org is a Canadian Registered Non-Profit. We operate on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

 

What an Inaugural Year!
Refarmers really found its voice in 2020. The pandemic forced us to slow down and think small and local. We were just at the beginning of our journey as an organization only having registered as a Canadian non-Profit at the end of January 2020 when everything suddenly came to a halt. We took this as a beautiful opportunity to ground ourselves exactly where we were and dig our roots deep in our own communities focusing our attention right at home. For some of our Refarmers, that home was in Kitgum, Uganda and for others it was in Hastings-Sunrise, Vancouver, Canada. Through this, we developed and are still exploring a new vision and approach for the future of our projects which is based on “scaling down”. Now, our work in East Africa and East Vancouver are united under one of the 12 permaculture principles “Use Small and Slow Solutions”.

After walls went up in so many directions, we found out what it was to feel like we had all the time in the world. The changes freed us from indoctrinated pressures to succeed and we began to listen better to the community’s needs and our own needs. We had lost access to funding (so we thought!), we couldn't travel, so we took a deep breath and shelved our big dreams and just lived the moment which resulted in intentional, mindful and present actions like starting a seed library out of an intuitive sense to be of service which had huge ripple effects in many communities in Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

In response to COVID-19 back in April, Patrick Paul Kidega our East Africa Project Manager and an unpaid volunteer, had the vision to create fifteen 10m  x 3m kitchen gardens for the neediest families in his community. He wanted to practice his permaculture designs at the same time as providing some relief from impending food shortages and this humble small action turned into 103 kitchen gardens with positive impacts that directly improved the lives of over 1000 people! The Grandmothers Kitchen Garden Project was born and so was our exceptional Ugandan Refarmers team: John, Ali, Tommy, Milton, Lino, Jimmy, Alex and Sundaya. Thanks to our amazing supporters, we were able to raise $16,000 in a “just in time funding model.” Week after week, our supporters, many of whom were completely new to our organization, gave so generously that our success far exceeded normal expectations!

To all the Refarmily, comprised of donors, supporters, and allies who found it in their hearts to believe in a new organization; We appreciate you more than words can ever express!

Become A Member - Click to find out more!

We gave the pandemic a run for its money with our wins in 2020! Our Grandmothers Kitchen Garden Project resulted in communities on two continents collaborating to donate money, seeds, time, food and radio airtime. Patrick led a fantastic team of matching coveralled Refarmer superheroes who became mentors and engaged community members, developed a homemade neem bio pesticide from scratch by googling it,  planted 400 fruit trees, became proficient at an entirely new vocation and so much more! Some of our grandmas started small businesses and their family members like, granddaughter Joan, replicated gardens on their own plots. Positive ripples reached beyond our dreams!

"Scaling down" is the opposite of what the mainstream urges us to do yet unless, we invest what is necessary to develop deep roots over time, our well-intentioned actions are only short term band aid solutions. We embrace this idea as an obvious way to solve the world’s problems through food growing. As Einstein said "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." So there it is: small and slow solutions with the people being served holding the reins.

Our "scaled down" initiatives took the form of guerrilla gardens and sack gardens and so much more than we can possibly highlight in one newsletter! We were presenters, podcast and radio show guests, panelists, featured in a few magazines, were sponsored for permaculture courses, are a runner up for a $5000 Euro permaculture prize (fingers crossed for Refarmer Tommy winning the Youth in Permaculture Prize on Jan 25th!). It was a first year to remember and we end it with indescribable gratitude for making it this far nurturing our big dreams with small acts....Happy 2021!

Click Here to Support us in 2021!
Upcoming Events!

Refarmer MP will be speaking at
Generation Regeneration, we help co-create the bi-monthly Regeneration Pollination meet-ups, we are allies for our friends presenting at the World Indigenous Forum and the next Global Permayouth Festival is on at the end of February so we hope you will join us! All these events are free to attend!
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
Lao Tzu
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