Lessons Learned on a Bio-Diverse, Interplanted Farm (6 Years Later)

Sunday, January 26, 2020
12:45 pm to 1:45 pm

Workshop Description

6 years after my first talk at this conference, I have gone from wanting plants that are tasty and tenacious to observing plants that actively help each other and are tasty and tenacious. Holistic resilience.

I have some varieties of fruit that are fairly dependable producers without irrigation or off farm inputs. But, even these inherently resilient plants are stressed by the harsh reality of climate change. Can we lessen the negative effects of stress with specific plant combinations? Can we measure all or at least some of the possible benefits of companion plantings?

I am drawn to exploration and experimentation on the farm, but I am also trying to make a living. My questions about companion planting are practical. Most of my companion planted crops are harvested by hand, but there are examples that would suit machine harvest.

Companion planting is not new. Inter-planting, under-planting and alley crops are fairly recent, but not new. Learning more about the complicated inter-actions between plants is on-going. Proving measurable effects through Farmer Led Research is new.

Every farm is unique. What I am proposing is not a template of design, but rather a template of questions to consider as we attempt to continue producing food in the face of climate change.

Topics covered will include:

  • Holistic resilience.
  • Companion plants that are also crops.
  • Companion plants instead of inputs.
  • Companion planting – planned and otherwise, including weeds, native plants and trees.
  • List Studies from: EFAO (including my own Comfrey and Saskatoon 3 year trial) and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
  • Importance of saving seed/breeding companion/crop plants on farm: annuals/perennial.
violas 2019 1080 sq


Pawpaw fruit end of Aug 2019 1080 sq

Pawpaw fruit at end of August 2019.

Borage flowers ready to go 1080 sq

Borage flowers ready to go.

red and pink currants at market 1080 sq

Red and pink currants at market.

Speaker: Pat Kozowyk

Pat’s farming experience goes back to 1954 if one counts growing up and working on a pesticide free, mixed farm.

Baba Link Farm produce has been certified organic farm since 2008. The farm was formed from part of the Kozowyk family farm.  In 2013 the farm received the Regional Premier’s Award for Agri-Innovation Excellence.

As an artist, Pat knows that one can disrupt assumptions and increase subjectivity by taking her artwork and turning it upside down, and looking at the refection of the image in the mirror.

In the same way – Pat tries to avoid assumptions by turning her ideas of farming upside down, and finding other views.

Assumptions get in the way of asking the questions that will help us understand what our farming challenges truly are.

2016 Pat Kozowyk head shot 300 400