Along the beautiful Hay River, south of the town of Hay River, in the Northwest Territories province of Canada, the Savory Institute Hub Candidate, the Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI), completed training in Holistic Management in July of 2015.
As with many areas of the world, having food security to be able to feed one’s self, one’s family, and one’s community from locally and regionally produced food is a driving force behind the establishment of and training offered by NFTI. Although located at 60 degrees north latitude, production of meat, fruit, and vegetables is very possible in the Northwest Territories. The extended daylight hours during the short growing season add more than a month of growing time within the growing season.
Even though the tool of rest (no fire, technology, or grazing, or animal impact) has allowed succession to move the area to mostly forest, the environment tends toward brittleness. Rainfall and humidity are not regular. Rainfall averages nine inches a year with another three inches coming in the winter as snowfall. Biological decay doesn’t occur with the tool of rest.
Most of the woods are filled with a high amount of un-decayed, oxidizing wood that when ignited supports massive wildfires. An 80,000-acre fire burned right across the river from the NFTI base. Every day saw helicopters hauling water from the huge Great Slave Lake to the fire. Most trees are not large enough to be of value as logs. Remnants of the Wood Buffalo roam in some areas and keep the forests functioning.
NFTI is setting up a 260-acre base campus as a training center with other land leased nearby. They are offering training in vegetable, fruit, and small and large livestock production. All of the training will be related to the key insights, decision-making process, and planning procedures of Holistic Management. Future Landscape Descriptions include mimicking the Woods Bison with their predators of bear and wolves to create more open, productive food producing areas while reducing the threat of wildfire.
Byron Shelton, Senior Program Director for Savory Institute provided the training for the staff of NFTI in the Foundations of Holistic Management and all of the Planning Procedures including Holistic Financial Planning, Holistic Land Planning, Holistic Grazing Planning, and Holistic Ecological Monitoring.