Our name is a nod to Emily Carr wrote a book called the House of All Sorts about her struggles as a painter. It recalls everything she did to fund her dream of being an artist and painting her vision of the Canadian landscape. Her House of All Sorts was a boarding house where she did laundry, cooked, bred dogs, made pottery, hooked rugs, and taught art lessons. She was a permaculturist ahead of her time.
All Sorts Acre is our 1.18 acre piece of property just outside of Guelph. It sits next to conventional farm fields, a creek, and wild areas. We have forest gardens, pasture, and annual gardens. The animals we have on our smallholding include sheep, goats, a pig, and many chickens. We sell eggs, chicken, lamb, preserves, herbs, and produce from our farm gate. Jennifer is trained as an artist. She produces paintings with natural and agricultural themes, and uses our sheep’s wool to make felt objects, natural art objects. She also teaches courses about urban chickens, permaculture, wild edibles, nature awareness, needle felting, wet felting, and creativity.
Tim and Jennifer both farm All Sorts Acre. They have been featured in local media, spoken at conferences, and lead workshops around Ontario. Both their successes and mistakes are gladly shared with anyone who will listen.
Permaculture: is a major influence on the design of All Sorts Acre. It is a design philosophy modeled on ethics and relationships. It is applied to ecosystems, agricultural systems, and human relationships. Permaculture strives to create landscapes that mimic natural systems. Everything should have more than one function.
Biodynamics: A well run biodynamic farm is a “closed loop” system, with animals producing fertility for gardens which nourish the people. We are lucky to have many skilled biodynamic farmers as teachers and friends.
Nature awareness: The main premise of Nature Awareness is to become a native of your area and know what surrounds you. This includes the plants, trees, animals, birds, medicines, weather, soils, and all of their uses. These three concepts are guide activities at All Sorts Acre.
Biodiversity: We wanted to attract as many domestic and wild species as possible. A few of the highlights are tree frogs, a wood frog, horntail, green metallic bee, and a scarlet tanager. The forest gardens also have a diverse number of species in them including apple, pear, currant, and even plums.