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Kathy Parsons 's Profile
Kathy Parsons
Red Deer, Alberts, Canada
Climate Zone:
Cold Temperate

My Projects

(projects i'm involved in)


(projects i'm following)

Ermineskin Cree Nation Permaculture Garden & Food Forest Jasper Place (High School) Permaculture ACIL Experimentation Site Olds Community Garden Wildwood Community Permacultured Gardens The Transformation of Our Urban Home The AREA The Permaculture Research Institute of Saskatchewan 2701 North 29th Street
James Reid Rene Michalak Rodney Robinson Starr Brainard Takota Coen
Geoff Lawton Rene Michalak
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About Kathy Parsons

I was fortunate to have had enlightened grandparents who gardened organically in their urban lot and taught me to start, compost, grow, harvest and preserve the bounty from the time I could walk. My family moved to a farm in the Alberta foothills, near Sundre, when I was 11 and that knowledge became our lifestyle. We grew almost everything we ate...grinding our own flour, making cheese and butchering our own animals, including local wildlife. We raised chickens for meat and eggs, turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, bees, cows and horses. We also harvested mushrooms, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries from the wild. My mother was one of those gardeners who was always seeking new plant varieties and pushing the boundaries of our Zone 2 garden. I eventually grew up and like many rural children, left the farm for the bright lights of the city for a few years. The farm drew me home again for a few years and then I settled in Drumheller, Alberta and the arid prairie of the Canadian Badlands to raise my kids. Gardening there was a completely different experience than in the much cooler, moister rolling foothills. I developed my urban lot of builder's fill, hardpan and bentonite into a garden of plenty with no mechanical or chemical aid. This is where I learned the most about building soil, mulch and water harvesting in a very arid climate during drought conditions. I also made another passion into work by owning and operating a quilt shop there.

My kids and I moved to Red Deer, Alberta in 2005 to pursue better schooling and the opportunites of a larger urban centre. City life this time did not include a yard so gardening took another twist. I started learning about growing in containers on my deck. I also had a community garden plot for a number of years. I now have a small yard and am enjoying a combination of raised beds, a hoophouse, vertical and container gardening as I transition it to an Urban Homestead.

I came to permaculture as a result of being so dissatisfied with the quality of foodstuffs now available to me that I took up the mission to start sourcing local, organic produce and meats and return to the way I grew up. Producing what I could myself and knowing those who produced things for me. Eventually that led me to Rene Michalak, ReThink Red Deer and the Centre for Urban Agriculture in Alberta.

I also work in a field where I deal with a lot of people who are disenfranchised and marginalized. I see their struggles to attain the basics in life like food and shelter. As a single parent, I too have experienced the uncertainty of feeding my family and having to make difficult choices of quantity over quality. Because of my background, I understood that I had the ability to provide some things for myself and, in fact, gardened not only because I loved it but because I needed to. Part of the lure to permaculture, for me, is that I can see it as a solution to some of these issues and the basic premise of building community and abundance for everyone. I am also drawn to permaculture because it is a systems approach that makes complete sense to me, it takes care of the environment and the community and is the only practical solution I see to the current issues the world faces. In addition, it allows me to not only become part of the solution but indulge in and share something I feel passionate about.

I currently do not have official permaculture designation but have a lifetime of practical experience. As I learn about permaculture, I see that the intuitive way I was taught to garden was based on many of the same practical principles. In March of 2012, I took a SPIN Farming workshop and apprenticed through ReThink Red Deer as a SPIN farmer. During the apprenticeship I was involved in planting a food forest, setting up an aeroponics system and operating a SPIN farm, while developing my own Urban Homestead. I took an Intro to Permaculture course in Feb of 2013 and will eventually attain a PDC. My long term goal is to practice and teach permaculture and participate in the growing movement to embrace a local, sustainable and abundant food system.


My Permaculture Qualifications
Other course unverified
SPIN Farming
Type: Gardening
Verifying teacher:
Other Teachers: Curtis Stone
Location: Red Deer, Alberta
Date: Mar 2012
Other course verified
Intro to Permaculture
Type: Introduction to Permaculture
Teacher: Janessa Matthew
Location: Centre for Urban Agriculture in Alberta
Date: Feb 2013

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