Field Trip to Invermere

 In Courses, Featured, Greenhouse, Permaculture Projects

Hey Everyone…

(our July 18th field trip was such a success that we are doing it again…. updated details below! Note that where the last tour was restricted to Permaculture Calgary members, this tour is open to the general public. )

You are invited to join us for a tour of an award-winning eco-facility in beautiful British Columbia on Saturday August 29th!

As you may already know, we’ve relocated for the summer to the beautiful East Kootenays, to act as Resident Permaculture Designers for an amazing, world-class organization called Groundswell Network Society.

If you are curious about what drew us out here, we’d like to invite you to come out for a visit. Along with the  Groundswell Network Society, we are inviting you for a tour of Groundswell’s world-famous community school for applied sustainable living

So, please join us in Invermere, BC, on Saturday August 29th for a tour of the Groundswell multi-year integrated permaculture project…a project that began with an award-winning community solar greenhouse outfitted with the very latest technology, and is continuing with the development of an 12,000 sq. ft. integrated outdoor garden & food forest with extensive rainwater harvesting, swales, a community gathering space, a community garden, a double chamber cob oven, and much more!

Groundswell is serving as an inspiration and example for other visionary communities…more than 100 other communities and organizations from across BC, Canada and internationally have directly contacted Groundswell looking to emulate Groundswell’s principles and practices. Thousand of people visit the Community Greenhouse annually, including the likes of David Suzuki and Geoff Lawton, who produced a short film about the greenhouse heating system (see the trailer here).

You’ll get a tour of Groundswell’s passive solar greenhouse and the adjacent food forest and an opportunity to interact with their leadership group who were instrumental in the Community Greenhouse development and its ongoing programs. And you’ll have an opportunity to learn about all their leading-edge practices in:

  • production of organic, wholesome and local foods
  • renewable energy technology
  • harvesting, conservation and recycling of water
  • soil creation and conservation
  • waste reduction and recycling
  • green building techniques and materials
  • food forestry
  • advancement of local economies, social enterprise and employment

And depending on the number of registrants, and depending on what is going on in the garden or food forest, we may try and throw in a hands-on activity (or two!). The goal is to make this little adventure a fun and informative event for Permaculture Calgary members.

And then there’s the surrounding environment: Invermere – need we say more?

This breathtaking location, located in the East Kootenays of British Columbia between Mount Nelson and the Rockies offers hot springs, wilderness hiking, mountain biking, birding, golf, fishing in Lake Windermere, and so much more. There’s so much to do in the area that it is easy to make an excuse to head in that direction for the week-end!

Sound Interesting?

Or, read on below for the nitty-gritty logistics and details!

Date & Time:

The tour is scheduled for Saturday, July 18th from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. We start early to beat the heat. 

What to Bring:

Bring your own snacks, a hat & suncreen, your camera. As we may also do some hands on work, gloves and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

Location / Transport:

Invermere is located in the East Kootenays of British Columbia (approximately a three hour drive from Calgary) and offers hot springs, wilderness hiking and soaring, mountain biking, birding, golf, fishing in Lake Windermere, and so much more.

Transportation to and from Invermere is not included in the tour. If you’d like to try and organize a carpool, please visit & join the Facebook group page for this event, located here.

Directions & address of the community greenhouse are located here:


The cost of the tour, per person, is $49 + a shrub (yep, you read that right, a perennial plant or a shrub).

This one quarter acre community food forest is in its third year. The overstory is mostly planted, and we are now focusing on filling in the understory with bushes, or other medicinal or edible perennial herbs or shrubs. We’ll take pretty much anything, but some specific requests are: haskaps, currents, gooseberry, saskatoon shrubs, cherry shrubs, western sand cherry rhubarb, sorrel, strawberry (wild or domestic), hazelnut, nanking cherry, elderberry, ostrich fern, walking onions, lemon balm, mint, ….). If you can’t find something on sale at a local greenhouse, or dig up something up from your garden, we will also accept a cash donation towards the plant fund.

One hundred percent of proceeds from this event will go to Groundswell to support the continued development of their programs, including the Community Permaculture Garden.


Accommodation is not included in the tour. If you’d like to try and organize shared accommodation, please visit & join the Facebook group page for this event, located here.

As Invermere is a tourist destination, there are loads of accommodation options. A simple Google search will help you find B&B’s, hotels, campgrounds, vacation home rentals or whatever you might prefer. Having said that – July is the heart of the tourist season. So – book early if you want to find inexpensive or reasonable rates. You may also wish to contact the Invermere Tourist office for recommendations.

  • Camping: There are several campgrounds. None are actually located in Invermere, you’ll have to commute to Windermere, Fairmont or Radium (~20 km’s).
  • Hostel: The hostel is very simple and has kitchen amenities (see photos here ). Shared dorm rooms and private rooms are available.
  • Billeting: The Groundswell Network Society is sometimes able to provide free or low-cost billeting through their members. If there are billeting opportunities we will post them on the Facebook group page, located here.
  • Hotel / Bed & Breakfast: If you are not on a budget, there are loads of great places in Invermere. A simple Google search will help you here.

More About the Project

Learn more about the community greenhouse and/or about the community permaculture garden through the hyperlinks provided.

This great video introduces the project, how it came to be, and what it’s done for the community:

Watch Rob Avis, of Verge Permaculture, explain the design here:


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