First ever homesteading fair this weekend in Cobble Hill

The Vancouver Island Homesteading Fair, Sept. 17-18 at the Cobble Hill Hall

The Vancouver Island Homesteading Fair, Sept. 17-18 at the Cobble Hill Hall, is all about sharing skills, knowledge and experience, according to the Cobble Hill Events Society.

This first-ever, free event aims at “supporting a secure, vibrant and sustainable Island community,” according to CHES organizers.

Over the weekend, starting at 10:15 a.m. both days, in three venues — the Community Hall, the Baird Barn and the Youth Hall — there will be presentations varying from wastewater systems to cake decorating, and from seed saving to bio-diesel production.

Presenters include Brandy Gallagher of OUR Ecovillage, Michael Hermary of Gaia College, Don Skerik of Veridian Energy, MP Alistair MacGregor, cake decorator Pat Spezowka, Christine Nikolic of Organic Gardener’s Pantry, and Alison Philp of Going Wild.

You can also learn about raising ducks, and raising animals on pasture from Barbara Houston of The Good Farm, hear about alternative energy from Dylan Smith, see Samantha Ellis’s draft horses, and hear Dr. Brenda Bernhardt on “Healthy dogs don’t do drugs”.

There will also be advice on planning a year of homeschool education with Zoe Clement, advice on rainwater collection from Jaime Wallace and on wastewater systems from Eugene Lee, along with talk about seed saving from Carolyn Herriot.

Wild about wool? Check out Dave Woodall’s talk on turning raw fleece into something useful and hear Jennifer Symons on “story sweaters”.

Dave Friend will be on hand to offer advice for young farmers.

It’s all happening at 3550 Watson Ave., in Cobble Hill. For more information, contact the CHES at

John Baty, CHES president, said as a newly formed community organization in Cobble Hill, the Society is trying to build stronger community cohesion and awareness.

“We offered a free Thursday night series of Music in the Park this summer from June 2 to Aug. 25 and a small, but real, Farmers’ Market on Sundays during the same period,” he said. “The music series was a great initial success with crowds from 150 to 320, depending on the weather and other things like the Olympics, local forest fires and the like. The Farmer’s Market was more of a struggle, but by the end we had a small, but good core of vendors and a steadily increasing number of people attending. Both summer events are now done, but we expect to run them again next summer.”