Established back in the early 80s, Northern Sun Farm is a farm coop here in Manitoba just outside of Steinbach. People there live light on the land and very simply. It’s a dream for the hard core off-the-grid enthusiast, and is a wonderful DIY setting.
Gerhard met us as we pulled up, and gave us over to Tim. A couple curious dogs met us too. We had the good fortune to visit on a beautiful spring day.
Unlike a city, this sort of small community moves with the seasons and was still waking up from it’s winter slumber. Gardens were covered and winter things hadn’t been fully cleaned up.
The common areas were well tended. Their community building was a gorgeous round-house built for a kitchen, dining room and entertaining space. Its doesn’t appear to be much from the outside, but the interior is really incredible. Like all the homes on the property, it was constructed with trees from the surrounding area.
Each house has its own solar panels and well. Water was drawn up the well using the solar installation and a small motorized system they invented. Water usually was carried by hand into the home. Heating was handled by wood burning stoves that also had water reservoirs. There were solar ovens that helped with cooking and baking. In the house I visited cooling was handled by having a cold shafts in the kitchen. Toilets were composting outhouses.
The homes were handmade by residents. The spaces were very cozy and felt like little islands of serenity in the woods.
The community also had a large water tower. A cold room had been built into the hill beneath it. Also in the area was a sod roof barn.
As far as animals go, there were the aforementioned dogs, a cat or two, a few cows and a goat.
People there managed to live within their own means. When money was needed, they found contract work to do.
The visit was brief, at most only a couple hours. While it would be in the same heading of ‘ecovillage’ as say, Twin Oaks in Virginia, the two are extremely different. I will explain this more in a future post.
It feels great to meet more people who are living in this manner, especially here in Manitoba. It really isn’t so far away, and can be a lot closer to home. I know my little guy liked it, seeing goats and cows for the first time.
My fourth ecovillage visit, I find it more and more fascinating to be seeing these very different lifestyles. I am excited for wherever our adventure takes us next!
Update @ 14:04, 5/27/15
I have been informed by a member of the community that there were a few things I missed during my tour! There are two laying flocks of chickens, rabbits, and during summers there are pigs. Two people have careers. One is a registered nurse and the other is an organic inspector and educator.
Northern Sun also has a straw bale house with a Strawbale attachment, and a large straw stuffed insulated sauna. Thanks to Janine Gibson for pointing it out!