Miracle Farms, a 5-acre commercial permaculture orchard in Southern Quebec, Canada


you one day I can remember where I was in the orchard and looking at this organic orchard was wonderful that it functions as a organic orchard but it doesn’t function as an ecosystem I didn’t like emphasizing well let’s stop the negative I rather take my energy and say okay what should we do so we tore out most of the trees and began replanting in a permaculture design not a monocultural design not just an apple tree orchard design but right away as a as a mixed planting so the basis of the design is the trio’s nitrogen fixer and an apple then a pear or a plum could be a cherry and so that nitrogen fixer fixes all the nitrogen or gives all the fertility needed to the fruit trees on either side that’s just the fruit trees it would also be the fruit shrubs and other plants as well that you put the great beauty of these planting design in a you know three different specie configuration is that if an insect lands in one for example in the apple tree he can’t go into the nitrogen fixer because there’s predators there waiting for him he can’t go into the pear and even if he does he doesn’t he doesn’t affect the pear and so he’s got a far-away to go till he reaches the next apple it’s every three trees would be an apple and the next apple is not even the same cultivar when we were certified organic we had 12 cultivars of apples just apples now we have just in apples we have over a hundred cultivars we have eighteen cultivar pears several plums cherries we have a whole range of cherries I think about seven peaches planted we have Papas planted we have Kiwis grapes mulberries small fruit gooseberries red currants black currants Saskatoon berries basically our goal is anything that will grow as a fruit in southern Quebec we want to have it we put both annual and mostly perennial vegetables now in the permaculture orchard so the goal being once it’s established we don’t have to be replanting but we still take advantage of spots where we have Sun for example on the at the base of the honeysuckles which is our nitrogen fixer we put climbing plants so eventually we will have grapes on all of them in Kiwi on all them but in the meantime we still can grow cucumbers peas and beans so all our climbers go on our nitrogen fixing trees once all this variety kicks in once it’s getting going and it’s established then the insects come then the birds come we have snakes now like we’ve never seen so many snakes we have all kinds of frogs one day when the honey locusts were in bloom I stopped for ten minutes just to do a survey a quick survey of what’s going on you could hear the insects in that tree in 10 minutes I counted 36 species species not individuals they were hundreds in one branch these are in big trouble I hear big trouble huge losses I wouldn’t know we went from four hives that wintered over we started with eight in the fall and there was only four survived so yeah there is big losses we lost 50% of our hives but we went from four hives to 23 hives during the summer basically because the bees have so much of an abundance of food through the succession and the biodiversity of trees the honey locusts flower almost up to the end of June and in between May first and the end of June there is some tree in the whole succession of trees that is flowering so that instead of having 10 days of apple bloom’s we now have 60 days of tree blooms before the main honey flow of clover there is some work but it’s so much less and and the abundance are is really there to prove I have nothing to envy conventional orchardists I haven’t fertilized that this block since it was planted in 2007 so that’s six years no fertility no not no fur tip no fertilizer nobody does that everybody fertilizes not just every year but sometimes several times in the year the output is huge not just in in diversity but in in taste we had an open day this weekend so people would come and they you give them one of these plums and they go usually and after they tasted one they say that’s crazy you never taste such a sweet and delicious plum in the store of course the whole system is not geared towards taste it’s geared to shelf life it’s not a system that’s geared to giving you the maximum pleasure now one of my goals for the farm is bringing back the Wow in food we’ve lost the Wow how often do you get wild by food in the grocery store if you go down the row everything is by a certain date we function with 10-day windows so if say now we’re early September we’re picking in rows that all the trees will be ripe in a 10 day window it’s either the apples or the pears or the plums they’re already in this window it’s efficient because you go down the rows and you can pick so even if you don’t do a direct marketing and somebody wants to pick everything and take it to market they still only have to go down certain lanes on certain dates so you can simply have two or three boxes with you and depending which tree you’re picking you would put it in a separate box we have huge abundance here surpluses of all kinds of things we just had an open day we are giving 160 pounds of apples to members come pick it Street that’s four bushels most people didn’t even take they didn’t know what to do if they took four bushels that’s part of the abundance so yes we think of that ethic of sharing the surplus as sharing with people and that’s true we should but we shouldn’t forget that that principle really has two sides to it sharing the surplus with people and sharing the surplus with nature we don’t need to have the attitude that oh we have a certain insect in the orchard that’s eating one of my fruit oh we have Birds coming and pecking some of my fruit what’s wrong with sharing some of your harvest with them they’re working day and night to take care of your orchard for you I’ve had people just walking around shaking their head like they were in a daze because they said everything I’ve learned everything I’ve done in my orchard is contrary to what I see here it makes sense what I see but it doesn’t jive with what I know and what I’ve done so the future is getting enough people to see that one it’s possible to it’s viable and three it makes so much sense why am I not doing it the only thing wrong with these plums is you can never eat just one you

100 thoughts on “Miracle Farms, a 5-acre commercial permaculture orchard in Southern Quebec, Canada

  1. Stefan, What a wonderful garden you have! I am speechless! I totally agree with you, "why not share with the nature." I live in Calgary, Alberta, zone 3. Not much luck for fruit trees. Not even good vegetables. So I grow mostly root vegetables and lettuce or leafy greens like spinach and mustard which grow in a short time. last year I grew cabbages in green house, because they take really long time. Beans are good here too. But I have handful of sweet crab apple trees which give me the feeling as my home orchard. :). I want to come someday to try some heavenly testy fruits from your garden, before that I don't want to die. 🙂

  2. You are lucky cause you don't have the problems of deer, gophers, moles, voles, ground squirrel, rabbits that kill young trees and you have good land that wasn't destroyed by modern farming and roundup …. I have everything, but good land! I am trying to do Fukuoka natural farming, but it is just difficult. BTW, you don't need to replant annuals every year cause I have lots of daikon volunteers every year.

  3. I love your mantra! I never get "wow"ed in a grocery store anymore..we're starting permaculture on our farm in Alberta. Hi neighbor, thanks for sharing!

  4. Dear Stefan,

    You have inspired me in your philosophy in agriculture. I have a similar philosophy in my own life and work.
    I have recently acquired a small parcel of land size 5 arce, not all arable. I will now dedicate a portion of the land towards a small permaculture farm with an aim to feed my own family and friends. Any more I am more than happy to give away to those who can use the crops.

    It is a very daunting project for me as I do not have an agricultural background and will be learning everything from scratch. If there are any directions you can point me towards for ideas and advises that will be much appreciated.

    I will start off with using the information you have in your video above to do my research.

    Best regards,

    Peter

  5. how has your business profitability been?  same? up? down?  interested to know if the diversity has improved sales.

  6. This is one of the best permaculture videos I've ever seen. I really love the focus on doing what does work, instead of setting out to destroy the other practices.

  7. this video is truly inspiring! I have been passionate about agriculture my whole life but work in construction. I am ready to start growing. Great content! Love the passion and knowledge.

  8. RESEPCT to you and your methods of keeping with what nature put forth for us to follow!
    Aspirations to bring this to my neighbors and community one day.
    🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  9. I could watch this a thousand times. What we are striving for on our tiny little farm. Degraded, sand and gravel….twelve years of soil building here and there, slowly able to see some progress with berries and bushes….our trees are just babies right now… I love your attitude, if it grows here, we want to try it! Bringing back the wow factor to food. Farm on!!!❤️ signed, one of your biggest fans.

  10. Good job. Fantastic orchard. Inspirational video. I can't grow those kinds of fruit, but I will be doing a similar tropical grove here in Florida.

  11. Am planning on planting a 1/2 acre orchard. Am in zone 7a. Want really good tasting fruits to eat fresh, not necessarily for preserving/storing. Can you give me ideas on what to grow and how to plant them (ie: you mentioned every third tree, and growing things under the trees, etc)? Do you have a book?

  12. How about showing us some of the permaculture techniques you use instead of having a video set up like an advertisement for freedom 55. INFORMATION PLEASE.

  13. 2 years out of the last 4 you had a nearly 100% crop failure on your tree fruits. Please make a video about that so that people aren't misled by your utopian fruit-growing video. What you are doing is very positive, but deception by omission is unacceptable.

  14. He is living my dream life. I want to live exactly like him, have my own wild orchard and then be buried in my orchard after I pass away, so that I can watch over my lovely orchard long after I am gone :-(.

  15. wow…….I invite you to come and see my apple orchards. I have almost fruit you mention in video .I am from Shimla Himachal Pradesh India. I from hilly area and its different from your country. I hope you will come.

  16. As part of our training associated with receiving a grant from Tree Canada to plant an orchard of northern adapted fruit and nut trees and bushes at our site in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland we were required to participate in an online workshop with Stefan. It was absolutely wonderful. He shared with us many details of how he has applied permaculture insights to how we plant and maintain our trees. Among the insights he shared were planting nitrogen fixing plants alongside fruit, to provide continuous and ongoing fertilization to the fruit trees, mixing trees and vines and shrubs, inviting birds and pollinators in, and finally, when asked why aphids were such a problem, he said they are a message, and the message is "too much nitrogen in the soil." This is a great video, and an introduction to someone who has continued learning as he works with plants.

  17. Hi Stefan I love listening to you as I have just started the same system as yours and I can see the difference. My experience started with a clump of stinging nettles next to my green house and that year I had no aphids. I started tolerating plants I call weeds and take my time clearing them for the compost heap. Have watched your video several times before and will watch again and again because it is so interesting I agree the fruit tastes even better.

  18. Mr.Stefan. You belong to the Roots of Life and Living because you believe in Sharing. Western Culture is in building Credits NOT Wealth. Annual credit increment leads to loss morality, integrity,…, and identifying need and want. We are in a culture of want but not in need or necessity.

  19. Marvellous. I was highly uncertain about the potential of permaculture in cold Canadian climates. Yet, here's a perfectly stable and need I say beautiful example of a thriving food forest close to my home. Hopefully I'll make my way out to visit this summer. Thanks for the share!

  20. Seriously one of the best videos on this subject I've seen…and I am obsessed w/ this topic.  I am doing the same thing w/ my yard and constantly learning,  planning and planting. I'm in WI, and have been planting EVERY fruit, nut, berry and plant for wildlife I can over the last 8 years on 2 acres.  Even had Almonds fruit last year.  Every year I expand and learn so much more. Finally getting honey bees this spring and have another batch of Mason bees to release soon:)  If only everyone could be so "in the know"! What a wonderful, thriving and diverse planet this could return to.  Thank you for caring!!!!

  21. Il n'y a rien de miracle!!!… c'est du verbiage gratuit!!!… Tout le monde a fait ça à un moment donné!!… par exemple dans les pays très chauds (Argentine, etc…) on cultive la vigne très haute et comme il faut irriguer et que le sol est quasiment libre on cultive de la luzerne dessous.. cela va très bien!!!.. pas de quoi faire tant de discours stupides pour la plupart!!!.. By

  22. Stefan’s work is amazing. I’ve integrated many of his practices in my own permaculture orchard in northern Vermont.

  23. Is does not take long for the re establishment of wildlife and insect life to return once the monoculture of factory farming disappears.Im reforesting 7 acres and planting gardens with wildflower meadow.Dug a 130ft pond.NOW,I lend some land to a bee keeper.My place rocks in the morning with song birds,and turtles in the pond.Everything came back naturally.There's no better feeling.

  24. Anyone know what kind of fruit is pictured around 5:03? I have a bunch around my house, but have no idea what they are! They smell sweet, and have separate pods on the inside…

  25. Hello, this video us just the thing I was looking for. Please is there a way I can reach you by phone, or with email I can leave my number. I'm leaving my email address, I have so many questions I need to ask.

  26. i do this in my small backyard. polyculture. full of insects. i dont spray a thing on them. everyones telling me im doing it all wrong and that i need to do rows of mono culture, use fertalizer, trim back, get rid of the native trees, spray chemicals, lay down plastic, use netting. Geeet fucked.

  27. this is the way to help our mother earth to gain knowledge of growing abundance. instead of trying to buy abundance so that major chains grow in wealth keeping the rest of us humans in a lack and scarcity. i am ready to start growing abundance in my life. inlakech 💚 thank you for this.

  28. No orchards receive mostly potash fertilizer and micro nutrients thru foliage sprays which can not be avoided since a fruit tree sits I. The same soil for some 30 years depleting the same nutrients every year

  29. Watching this Video in Australia. Keep up the good work, you've got me thinking about alot ahead of starting my own Orchard here down under!

  30. How do you keep the deer and bears out? And the bird comment, I don't get. They tend to take one peck out of 50 fruit, not eat 2 or three whole fruit, so it does tend to be a problem. Love to see what you're doing to avoid the problems I have. I am not even a commercial grower.

  31. This is so wonderful and inspiring. I am going to join as a member and go out there a few times this year. Please farmers and gardeners, try this permaculture thing. It seems to make for happy sustainable farms. The planet needs you.

  32. Congratulations on your zero eff's given on not producing enough to sell and not caring about how much the insects take.

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