Monkey in the Garden near Spences Bridge — where aninals and fowl work the soil — isn’t a typical farm. Photo: Madeleine Dumont

Kids’ Corner: A different type of farm

Chickens are put to work at Monkey in the Garden

By Madeleine Dumont

If you’ve been for a walk downtown lately, you may have noticed posters for a farm called Monkey in the Garden, and like me, you might have been curious.

Last week, my family and I took a trip down Highway 8 just past Spences Bridge to discover it for ourselves, and I found it quite enthralling.

Monkey in the Garden is a different kind of farm than what people might expect. In fact, it doesn’t look like a farm at all. It looks like things had grown there wild, instead of being neatly organized in rows.

Even though we dropped in unexpectedly, owners Mike Couts and Brandy MacArthur were happy to show us around. I learned that Monkey in the Garden is a permaculture farm. Permaculture is a way of growing things where the plants and animals work together so that it makes less work for humans. That’s why it looks so wild and overgrown.

Another interesting feature about permaculture is that they use animals to work the soil instead of machines and chemicals. Everywhere we went, there were chickens and turkeys roaming freely, working the soil by scratching the dirt and leaving their droppings. Because these chickens were used to living around people, I even got to hold one.

Chickens weren’t the only workers, though. They also had cows and goats grazing in the field that also helped to fertilize the soil. It seemed like everywhere animals were allowed to roam, plants flourished.

It was exciting to visit Monkey in the Garden because there was so much to see and do, and I highly recommend visiting if you can make the trip to Spences Bridge.

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There might not be a monkey in this garden, but there are other interesting critters to be seen. Photo: Madeleine Dumont

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