I'm Carmen Lamoureux, owner and founder of URBAN FARM SCHOOL and the Urban Farm Permaculture Project, located in the southwest community of Palliser, in the beautiful city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Raised in the hinterland & prairie landscapes of Alberta, I was keenly aware that our livelihood and our food supply depended upon our relationship with the land. I remember freezers full of foraged berries, venison, moose, duck and fish, and a pantry overflowing with canned fruit, veggies, meats, pickles and jams. And, of course, my sweet French mother's lovely little wine-making crock that helped fruit peels and berries meet their ultimate destination!
Upon moving to Africa at the age of 13, my relationship with food and food security was forever changed. My eyes were opened to new methods and belief systems around growing, distributing, preparing and consuming food, as well as how we as humans relate to food culturally, physically and spiritually. With no grocery stores, we ate what grew locally, seasonally and what we had access to, aware that everything could change in an instant, depending upon which way the political or economic winds blew and, very importantly, according to the relationships we had built with the local vendors.
When I returned to Canada as an adult, I was so struck by our incredible natural abundance and also by what I saw as a growing personal disconnect with our food supply. Many farmers had begun making weekly trips to town to buy their groceries, no longer interested in growing their own vegetables or raising their own chickens. So, fueled by youthful passion and inspired by my incredibly supportive Italian neighbors (who grew their own wine grapes and raised squab in the attic of their garage), I enthusiastically started a multo-fantastico compost pile, built a small greenhouse and planted a huge organic garden. It seemed so fundamentally important to me to take at least some small measure of responsibility for my own food supply. It was an epic success, and birthed a life-long passion for organic growing and the power of connected community.
It was with this awareness that URBAN FARM SCHOOL was founded.
Bringing learning opportunities to folks who want to gain some real, honest, practical knowledge and fundamental life-enhancing skills has become my passion.
Opening the door for students to begin their journey to live more sustainable and enriched lives is truly a joy.
Sharing my own experience, as well as the incredible know-how of our guest instructors, is, well, pretty awesome!
We love what we do, and we're committed to URBAN FARM SCHOOL's motto of "Empowerment through Positive Action". We hope you'll join us as we move forward on this amazing journey towards greater self-reliance, community connection and resiliency.
See you in the workshop!
THE URBAN FARM
After a career working for the government and privately in the fields of Forestry, Sustainable Land Management, Soils, Silviculture, and Aerial Photography, I moved to Calgary 28 years ago, raised 4 children and grew my current organic garden. It was important to me that this property provide not only healthy sustenance and abundance for my family, but also create a sense of place. Step by step I began evolving my mature urban landscape using permaculture design principles, and the Urban Farm Permaculture Project was born.
URBAN FARM SCHOOL
is a Calgary-based skill-building hub for learning sustainable urban homesteading strategies, permaculture and resilience skills.
Through the URBAN FARM SCHOOL workshops, we aim to inform, inspire, empower, share skills & knowledge, and, at the same time, build meaningful and collaborative relationships. Our goal is to promote the practice of regenerative local food production and permaculture in our beautiful city and beyond, and help contribute to creating vibrant, resilient and connected communities.
With the application of sustainable principles and ethics as foundational guidelines at home and in our communities, and by acquiring skills which build resilience and collaboration, we are able to gradually transition from being dependent consumers to becoming mindful and responsible producers.
What's our story?
It became increasingly clear that what I saw as simple common sense and practical knowledge was, in fact, what many folks were longing to learn and apply in their own backyards, on their apartment balconies and in their community gardens. More and more I recognized that as human beings, we hunger for that feeling of abundance, security and being able to have access to healthy food for ourselves and our families. We want confidence that we can take care of some of our own needs and create stronger connections, not only with our own landscape and local ecology, but also with our community. I truly believe that the most powerful action we can possibly take is to secure even a small measure of responsibility for ourselves, our local environment, and our own food supply.
Sharing knowledge, resources and skills helps all of us build and nurture strong, vibrant and supportive community relationships and contributes to much greater levels of resiliency in times of need.