Food Forestry North of the 49th with Richard Walker

Food Forest Picking

How growing a forest garden – a food forest – can generate health in more ways than one!

Join like-minded people in beautiful surroundings, in a workshop led by Canada’s leading expert.

Are you aching to find ways to bring wellness and health to you and your community? To reconnect with where food comes from and our environment, in more sustainable ways?

We can learn how to use our outer world to bring greater health internally – to our body, mind, and hearts. By being in the presence of nature, observing and studying nature, and by following the principles that the wisdom of mother nature reveals, we can learn to do this for ourselves and share the joy and wisdom with others, too.

The magic of a food forest

Imagine moving in a space crafted to nurture edible and medicinal plants, so that they can co-exist. Where birds, insects, critters, and people work together to support the greater good. A place where you’re calm and bright enough to notice the beauty around you.

That’s why we’re hosting this event with Richard Walker, in partnership with the Cranbrook Food Action Committee and reGenerate Design!
Come have fun and develop hands-on experience with Richard Walker, one of Canada’s most experienced forest gardeners in our one-acre cold climate food forest, just 35 minutes from Cranbrook, and 50 minutes from Fernie, BC.

In the news: Article on E-know about this workshop

Who is Richard Walker?

Richard is a food forester, designer, herbalist and teacher with over 30 years experience. He has designed community and private forest gardens throughout BC. He spent his early years as an organic farmer in Alberta. He later moved to Grand Forks BC where over 20 years he transformed his 3 acre property from a bare horse pasture into a lush self-sustaining forest garden with over 400 nut trees and seven storeys of food and medicine bearing perennial plants and vines.

Having converted a degraded piece of land into an abundant mix of rare, unique nut, fruit and medicinal plants from all over the world, he is one of Canada’s most experienced food foresters. Richard shares his studied and practical experience in a respectful and approachable manner to inspire grower enthusiasts and save many from years of trial and error.

He also has a great depth of herbal medicine knowledge and has developed herbal medicinal tinctures and teas for over 25 years. He shares his knowledge of plant biology to promote healthy living through the philosophy of food and herbs as medicine.

What really adds to Richard’s credibility is that he lives as he teaches. He lives simply, creatively using his skills to bring food from the soil to the table, and in doing so teaches us how food and plants create a culture of true sustainability. In his own words “gardening for a 1000 years”.

About Luke Kimmel – guest teacher from reGenerate Design

Luke has accumulated diverse gardening experience in a wide range of settings, studying extensively under a handful of Canada’s most experienced food foresters such as Richard Walker, Gregoire Lamoureux (Kootenay Permaculture Institute), and Rob Avis (Verge Permaculture); and working on some of Western Canada’s largest and most extensive food forest projects to date. He continually applies his “boots-on-the-ground” wisdom to enhance the design and installation process.

Luke believes that creating a better world is possible through helping people develop a meaningful and productive relationship with nature. He builds excitement and incites positive action by sharing this vision through workshops and public speaking.

Learning Outcomes

Five things you’ll take away with you from this workshop:

1) how to properly plant trees
2) how to select quality botanicals
3) pruning fundamentals
4) the key points of building soil
5) a copy of “Food Forestry North of the 49th” by Richard Walker

Workshop Schedule

Saturday September 23rd

9 am

  • Introduction
  • Food forest structure, description and function
  • Urban and rural applications, showcasing Richard Walker projects

10.30 am BREAK

11.00 am
  • Presentation from Luke Kimmel and his experience in Calgary with urban applications
  • Q & A

12.30 LUNCH local, nutritious and delicious!

1:30 pm

  • Mitigating and repairing site contamination
  • Site improvement and design
  • Clear Sky Food Forest Site visit ( species selection and design)

3.30 pm BREAK

4 pm

  • Species selection
  • Conclusion

5 pm

  • Farewell

Sunday September 24th

9 am

  • Importance of high-quality soil
  • Soil building

10.30 am BREAK

11. 00 am

  • Soil chemistry

12.30 LUNCH local, nutritious and delicious!

1.30 pm

  • Compost and compost teas
  • Bokashi and essential micro-organisms

3.30 pm

  • Closing circle

4.00 pm

  • Farewell

Details and Pricing

We will start at 9am, September 23rd and finish by 4pm, September 24th.

Price: CAD $315 for a two day program, including lunches, snacks, and a copy of Richard Walker’s book “Food Forestry North of the 49th.”

Accommodation options are available, if you would like to experience living in community at Clear Sky. To find out more, fill in the inquiry form at the bottom of the page.


If you are based in the Columbia Basin, you may be eligible for a professional development bursary to attend this workshop. Please check here for more details.

Testimonials from Richard’s past students

“Effective, approachable, engaging, insanely knowledgeable.”

– Clear Sky 2011 Food Forest Workshop participant

“Everything talked about was pertinent to our interests and what we are doing in our own backyard.”

– Pat and Graham Greenlee, Clear Sky 2013 Food Forest participants

“Richard showed me that growing a food forest can be fun, practical, and even a good idea economically. I’d been intrigued by food forestry for a few years but to listen to Richard speak and share his wealth of experience really helped me to see that this is something I can do and have a lot of fun with. I left with so much information about food plants and had fun trying my hand at grafting. I was so inspired by Richard, his information, and his photos that I’m itching to get my own food forest started! I would recommend this workshop to anyone interested in growing their own food or starting a nursery.”

– Elysse Lightpool – Herbal Medicine Practioner and Student

“Unparalleled experience in food forestry with knowledge and techniques that you aren’t going to find in any book. Quirky, funny, passionate, patient. Great person to learn from. I like that he doesn’t have much structure. I want to now spend a year with him.”

– Mike Cloutier – OUR Ecovillage Garden Manager

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