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Man of the soil: Chris Faria on his mini-farm

A farmer’s mission to see “mini-farming” adopted in Bermuda had yet to be fully embraced before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

But interest in Chris Faria’s “grow biointensive” method of farming has blossomed as people begin to take responsibility for their food security and look for ways to grow their own food seven months into the “new normal”.

Mr Faria said: “Before Covid, what we were doing and trying to promote was fringe.

“But then shelter-in-place came along, and we could only go to the grocery store once a week and we didn’t know if a particular item would be there.”

Mr Faria is the founder of Agra Living, which will offer an introductory workshop on sustainable farming on October 24 at Tivoli Gardens, the Bermuda National Trust property on Middle Road, Warwick.

He said: “What we offer is an action plan for people to move away from being fearful about what might happen in a pandemic, or whatever else affects the food supply chain, and feel comfortable that they can grow a significant amount of food in their garden.”

Topics at the workshop will include soil building, deep soil preparation, composting, raising seedlings, closed loop fertility, and garden planning.

Mr Faria said: “By the end of the day, you will have the knowledge and skill sets you need to grow your own food at home.”

He added: “Garden planning is really the key to maximising the space and getting the most out of the garden. We create a year-long plan so there’s always something growing.

“When tomatoes are finished in June or July, we can use a sorghum and cowpea cover crop to grow soil fertility during the summer when it’s not an active growing season due to the heat and low rainfall.

“The cover crop protects the soil and encourages microbiology in the summer so that when you’re ready to go with your fall plants, the soil is healthy and alive.

“What we teach is how to grow your complete plant-based diet on as small a space as possible while building the soil.”

The workshop will run from 9.30am until 4pm and is a mixture of presentations and hands-on learning in the garden.

Registration is limited to 20 people at a cost of $275 a head.

Mr Faria said: “That includes a delicious, wholesome, plant-based lunch, which is part of the experience.”

Agra Living teamed up with the National Trust to present the workshop.

Mr Faria said the Trust was also looking for people to use the community garden at Tivoli Gardens.

For more information and to register, see www.ptix.bm.

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Published October 14, 2020 at 6:44 pm (Updated October 15, 2020 at 12:45 am)

Grow your own food workshop to be held

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