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Nestled in the rolling hills of the Northern Appalachians in New Brunswick, Falls Brook Centre is a little window into what our future might look like.
A beautiful farmhouse, horse barn, and outbuildings have solar panels perched on their roofs and sit comfortably alongside a vertical-axis wind turbine and composting toilets. Solar dehydrators decorate the front lawn and a certified organic kitchen garden pumps out gorgeous produce. Swales and berms criss-cross the property, naturally irrigating permaculture gardens and orchards full of native fruit trees. Old farmer’s fields have become overgrown as nature reclaims them, turning them into thick, bright meadows dotted with nest boxes, beehives, and recycling bins. A little wetland sparkles with fresh tadpoles and mating mallard ducks while a stream full of trout winds through a patch of Acadian forest. Endangered barn swallows perform aerial acrobatics upon emerging from their nests in the horse barn and land gracefully on a bidirectional metre box, which allows Falls Brook’s solar and wind energy to supply electricity to the province.
Founded in 1992, Falls Brook Centre is simultaneously a registered Canadian charity and a sustainability hub. Their 98-acre property serves as a giant classroom, demonstrating how strategies for sustainable living can be implemented. In fact, Falls Brook Centre’s main mandate is to show the people of New Brunswick (and Canada in general) that the choices we need to make for a secure future are easier and more accessible than we might think. Through workshops, online resources, property tours, classroom visits, and festivals, they tirelessly seek to educate and empower the public.
From May to October, their property in Glassville, NB is open to the public. They offer access to beautiful campsites in wildflower meadows and a series of forest trails. Staff welcome visitors for prearranged property tours, leading them through the recently restored and thriving wetland to the certified organic kitchen garden, and showing them everything in between. In the height of summer, they host a knowledge-sharing festival called Free School - where the local community comes together to teach one another hands-on skills and share a weekend of togetherness in nature, completely free of charge. This year’s Free School theme is “Empowerment”, and workshops will focus on food security, self-awareness, and the power of storytelling. It will be held from July 15th-17th, and everyone is invited to visit and partake. Throughout the rest of the year, Falls Brook Centre engages the public through workshops, held both at their Glassville property and their satellite office in Fredericton. Workshops can range from growing your own shiitake mushrooms to building your own solar dehydrator. They are particularly known for their organic gardening workshop series, which takes participants through all stages of produce growing - from planting to harvesting to seed-saving.
If you want to learn more about how you and your family can live a more sustainable lifestyle, a visit to Falls Brook Centre is the perfect place to start. They’ll give you the tools you need to create a more sustainable lifestyle for your children and you’ll leave their property with an open mind and heart. If Falls Brook Centre truly is a window to what our future could be, then there is something beautiful in store for us!