Calgary has a growing permaculture community, and lots of residents are choosing to grow their own food through this unique system. Permaculture is a kind of ecological design that allows you to create a self-maintaining agriculture system. The philosophy is to work with nature, rather than against it in order to optimize sustainability and food production.
One of the really amazing things about the permaculture community is its commitment to help one another. I was recently asked by a friend to help construct a permaculture system in her yard and was amazed when 20 or so individuals showed up to help build. They call these kinds of weekends a “permablitz” and members of the community are able to sign up to help, in exchange for free labour on their own projects.
It was an intensive weekend of digging, laying underground piping, planting, installing rain barrels and so on, but the outcome is incredible. My friends now have an entire food forest containing fruit bushes, an apple tree, perennial and annual vegetables and herbs. Everything is watered by rain barrels and drip lines, and all they need to do is weed and harvest the good!
There are a number of permaculture organizations in Calgary, and they really try to emphasize the collaboration aspect if it. They offer learning opportunities, consultations, and courses. Big Sky Permaculture and Verge are highly recommended.