Located in west Hants county along the tidal Kennetcook river, this farm has been operated and remains jointly held by Alex DeNicola and former partner Pam Denicola. The approximately 120 acres of land consists of a mix of woods(50ac), pasture and hayland(25ac), residential and barns(5ac), with the balance in marginal marshland and river escarpments. Garden cultivation, done with a single horse, remains at about 2 1/2 to 3 acres, with the wide variety of organic produce being sold directly to our many loyal customers at the Halifax Farmer’s Market since 1992. We’ve enjoyed economic self-reliance without debt for awhile now. Supportive of that is our firewood harvesting, our high food self-sufficiency, our low tool and overhead budget, and all the wonderful helpers we’ve had over the years. The farm remains a big design challenge primarily because of it’s size and layout, yet the presence of caring folks is evident on many fronts, and the soil, though heavy and difficult(and previously abused) to cultivate generally, has responded well to organic care and a light touch. Much remains to be done, or not done, as the case may be. Many interns and WWoofers have come through, and we have all learned by caring for small numbers of livestock, “producing”(earth and cosmos the only primary producers!) way most of our meat, dairy, and vegetables. These days, as we attempt to practice permaculture(small&slow) more intensely, the opportunities for creative and beneficial change seem to never end!
With a divorce related property division, Motheroak Pc will as of 2012 hold its land title independent of Highland Farm, though cooperation continues, especially with market gardening and livestock care.
So Motheroak is and will remain a place where much PC learning and practice can happen, especially around edible wild plants, vegetables, a few mixed livestock, and the use of a horse with very simple yet efficient tools, and as of 2009, a serious transformation of the built environment. This transformed a long, thin building designed for conventional pig raising to a longhouse well suited as a low energy, low impact permaculture centre. We are also looking at intentional community type arrangements and the natural/hybrid building projects that would entail. Like most other small farms in Nova Scotia, Motheroak would benefit from more committed residents, and you can read our invitation to this at www.ic.org in the communities listing. http://directory.ic.org/23010/Motheroak_permaculture_coop