About & Contact

Kristeva Dowling:

Before the fall.

Before the fall.

Until recently, I lived on a small mixed farm on the west coast of British Columbia in a remote First Nations village town. In 2008, I quit my job, returned to the farm and committed to a project that I have dreamed  of attempting for several years. That is, to provide all the food we will eat for a year. This will entail growing vegetables, raising meat animals, fishing, and learning to hunt.  At the time, I did not have an agricultural background, but knew that farming is in my blood. It is almost all I can think about. If I won the lottery, I would buy a large farm or ranch and spend the rest of my life spending the money farming!

A new/late addition to the list of provisioning options is trading. I am far enough into the project now to realize I simply cannot do everything. Recently, while at another farm in town, I  asked if the family was interested in trading eggs for milk. Thankfully, they were! When I decided to quit my job, I had the fantasy that I would ‘indulge’ my dream. That I would have time to read books, ride my horse daily, write my book, co-author another one, having puttered in the garden provisioning for myself in the mornings. The reality is far from that. I’m up early daily, going non-stop either in the garden or in the kitchen preserving the harvest, I’ve not read a book and only ridden my horse three times this summer! So, I’m adding trading to the definition of Personal Food Sovereignty and calling myself a ‘Food Provisionist’.

In June 2011, the book that I wrote about the experience was published by Caitlin Press. It is called Chicken Poop For The Soul: in search of food sovereignty.

I have a Master’s Degree in Social Science with a background in Community Development. I now live in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

Email: kristeva.dowling@gmail.com



44 responses to “About & Contact

  1. Awesome site Kristeva. Can I put a link on my blog? (I also post on http://www.blacksolutions.blogspot.com )

  2. Robin

    Kristeva – what a beautiful name.

    We have an amazing amount of things in common. I’m glad you found my blog and made comments. It lead me here and I’m having a blast. I have a few things to plant this morning, a load of compost to move – you know how farm work goes – but I’ll be back to read with a cup of coffee when I take a break.

  3. Jeremiah

    What you’ve done, Kristeva, is what I aspire to do when my wife finishes her graduate work and we decide where we will settle down. How did you learn to do all of these things. Obviously advice from other farmers and trial and error will be invaluable, but are there books you used to help get started?

  4. Jeremiah,

    I have read tonnes of books on all sorts of subjects relating to homesteading. I volunteered on an organic vegetable farm while doing my undergrad degree. I took a permaculture course (and read Bill Mollison’s book). I have spent time with farmers asking questions, volunteering on their farms, and learning everything I can from them. I have spent time with vets to learn how to do certain things myself (this is borne of necessity because I live 460 kms from the nearest Vet).

    In the end my advice is this: there is no education like actually doing it yourself (and this includes volunteering on other’s farms). Start small and manageable, don’t take on too much and get overwhelmed (it is VERY easy to do and I managed to overwhelm myself this year, despite the fact I know better–theoretically at least!).

    Begin with growing some food crops and if you want animals, start with chickens; they are the easiest of all farm animals to husband and they return eggs and meat (ducks argue about the bedtime and herding them from the pond can be impossible, turkeys have to be rounded up and corralled to bed as do pheasants, goats are happy to go to bed if you entice them with grain but they are master escape artists and will test your fences and patience daily and they need specialty care like hoof trimming, and so on). I don’t have experience with bees but from everyone I have talked to who has raised them say they are easy as well. I’m hoping to begin some hives next year, will keep you posted!

    Then grow from there.

    Finally, always take time to enjoy what you have built, the lessons you have learned, and laugh. In order to satisfy the laughter piece, make sure there is always some form of entertainment and joy on your farmlet–it’s why I keep the goats and Mrs. Mallard!

  5. dowhatyoulove

    Kristeva, its wonderful to read about you following your dream! I wish everyone would do that for themselves. I encourage everyone I can, and when I am honored to meet someone like you that is actually doing it, I am filled with joy. Good for you! Keep doing what you love!

  6. Susan Jerome

    What a great website. I salute your determination, and you should take that as a compliment, because I have been farming and ranching by choice for 30 years. I found you while looking for a information on how to make a pastuerizer–specifically, one that will pass USDA regulations.
    I milk goats and make cheese, and am thinking about going commercial, although the commitment in money and time is daunting. At any rate, I am spellbound by the misinformation all over the web about raw milk. As an old community health nurse (used to be an organizer, too), I am appalled by the return of the dark ages when it comes to farming science. The answer of course, is that no one alive today, from N. America remembers watching a loved one die of TB, coughing up blood, or dying of cholera or dysentary, with lower GI bleeds and dehydration. Raw milk is like an agar plate, and the minute it leaves the body of cow, goat or sheep or caribou, it has the potential to grow any microorganism with which it comes in contact. If people really looked at the potential contaminants on their hands, udders, stands, a bird flying by, a fly buzzing, a speck of alfalfa, a dirty dish towel, a sneeze, they would be horrified. It has taken humankind two hundred years to educate itself on the prevention of disease, and only a few blogs thoroughly lacking in scientific education, fueled by conspiracy theory to once again, needlessly risk the public health. It’s been less than 100 yrs. since we lost 40% of children under 10 to contagious disease. I’m not willing to risk the ones I know. Let’s not forget that “natural” includes rabies, great white sharks, volcanos, and rattlesnakes. Let’s not forget that we got to the top of the food chain by using our brains.

  7. David

    Kristeva, your picture on the horse is, well, nice! Yea, I’m a guy.
    I have chickens and ducks, the garden, and lots of fruit plants in south Louisiana. I have oranges, grapefruit that produce an unbelivable amount of fruit. I have muscadine grapes, blackberries and blueberries etc. I plan to retire in about 10 years and my plan for retirement is to focus on my garden and animals to provide for my family. I call it “living the good life”. I just showed a visitor my place this evening. I showed them the chickens and the new RIR chicks, the garden, the orchard etc. I didn’t show them the 401K or any talk of money. This is an important lesson I am trying to get my teenage daughter to understand. You know, that money is not that important, but following your dreams and striving to be happy is important.
    I don’t have much experience with snow, I sure you do. In Louisiana, we can garden year round. It’s stuff like cabbage and mustard greens in the winter, but still, we can grow healthly things year round. I like your web site. We are similar types.

  8. Gina

    …wow, I thought I was the only one to run away and join the farm circus !!! I’m having a great time and building (albeit slowly) all the time. Chickens, eggs, sheep, goats….. horses ponies and a llama…. geese and mohair goats rounding out the little family….. so far at it for 5 years having built barns and all from the ground up…. learning all the time… maybe we’ll see you at the Cariboo Garlic Festival? We should harvest enough to make the trip….

  9. Pingback: Canadian Woman’s Homestead Blog « greenfred

  10. Hi, Kristeva,
    I just discovered your blog and am so glad.
    There is a wealth of information on the internet for would-be-farmers but what I appreciate most about your blog isn’t the helpful info that you’ve provided but your chronicling of the learning process.
    Your honesty about your initial uncertainty and inexperience and your continued struggles gives me hope that maybe my dreams of going from city-mouse to country-mouse aren’t so far-fetched.
    So keep writing!

    • Thanks Jenn for your kind words. You know, your reaction is precisely what I was hoping for! I hope to be an inspiration to others who, like me, dreamed of it but didn’t quite know where to begin. The learning process is sometimes daunting, sometimes fascinating, sometimes downright scary but always intriguing and exciting. Trust me, if I can turn from City-Mouse to Country-Mouse then you (and others who dream of this) can too. Go for it.



  11. Oz Knecht

    I sure was glad to meet you at the Laughing Loon in Williams Lake. Came down to buy some eggs but nobody was home, You had some sign that said no more eggs but regulars could come inside the gate and get theirs. Maybe see you next year when we make another to fish the Bella Coola.

  12. hi kristeva … email me hi … john

  13. Great Web Site. We are going try this out East too.

  14. Tom Stewart

    I found your Blog at Natures Harmony Farm and have read it all! I only have access to the web at work and that limits my use. But two years ago I got my own place (3 acres in North Carolina) and have been fighting the Deer and Bugs for my garden. Sorry to say that I did not do all of my homework before buying my homestead and found out after I moved here that there are restrictions on lifestock and what I can raise as far as amimals are concerned. But I may have found a loop-hole and Iam thinking of raising worms. I will let you know that works out. Looking forward to you next post and to see how you plain to cook the moose.

  15. hey Kristeva, my names tadpole, ive been homesteading at black bear ranch in northern california since july of 2009. i just wanted to extend a thank you for your graphic blogging on goat butchering, as well as for your enthusiasm for homesteading. we were kicked down a goat from our neighbors, who were going to off it today. instead, we’ll milk her for 4 days, and then kill and butcher her. ive never had a goat experience, so im looking foward to the learning experience. some day black bear ranch hopes to gain total self sufficency, and until that day, we’ll do the best we can. thanks for the goat info!! ❤ Tadpole and BBR family

    • Hello Tadpole!

      Welcome to the site. Thanks for the lovely comment on the goat butchering. I’m glad it is helpful. I hope you enjoyed eating your goat too. Check out my recipes page. The slow roasted goat is really, really yummy! Most people think goat needs to be covered and hidden under a curry sauce. Once you try roasting it with some nice herbs and spices, I hope you’ll agree that the meat stands well on its own.

      Let me know how you fared with your first butchering experience!


      PS. I’m very envious of your California weather! You must be able to grow some things all year round.

  16. Jeff

    Hello Kristeva,

    I’ve spent the last month or so browsing over your website about self sufficiency and remote living. Your writing style makes me feel like I am actually there experiencing bears attacking your chickens or being out on a cougar hunt.
    I’ve had the pleasure of driving through your area but I don’t think that does it justice. I would sure like to see it up close some day. Do you provide tours of your place. Or if you ever needed help butchering livestock I would gladly volunteer my time.
    I look forward to more posts about your upcoming adventures and I hope you find the happiness that being a responsible consumer provides! 😉

    • Dear Jeff,

      Thanks for the compliments on my writing style. It’s for people like you that I do it! You are welcome anytime to come and help with the butchering process. Please advise if you are ever in the area… I never turn down that kind of help! As for the bears and the cougars, rumor has it that there are far fewer bears this year to deal with but you always have to keep your eye out for the cougars!



  17. ocean

    As a born and bred Bella Coola girl that has traveled the globe, I have to say… your in good hands with the people in your photo’s. I am dreaming of returning myself. I miss chickens, deer & bear in my yard. The eagles sailing overhead, & the clouds that snuggle in low making the valley feel so intimate & private.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hey Ocean,

      I wonder if we met years ago. I used to come in to Bella Coola and teach scuba diving with Blue Water Diving. I somehow remember someone named Ocean taking our courses… was that you?


  18. ocean

    Hi Kristeva,

    I did take my diving cert. in the Valley. It was a long time ago, over 15 years. I was also a lifeguard and oversaw the dive courses through that job. Good memory, we must have met, glad to be reacquainted.

    I will keep following.

  19. Oh Hello, i was researching (googling) and i came across your blog, your journey is so similar to ours, except we are First Nations ourselves and we are in Ahousaht BC about 45 mins northwest of Tofino by boat. We started our journey into our dream on Jan 1st, we dont have any background in homesteading(?!) I am unsure if thats the right words for us though. What we are doing is building on reserve ourselves, no band funding or govt funding, just the sweat off our backs and hopefully help from friends and family along the way. We are going to film the build and blog as well ( we have a blog: sovereign housing project at livejournal.com) were going to build a cob house and are hoping to raise chickens and goats, food sovereiignty is very important to us and dear to our hearts aos i am very grateful adn pleased to come across your blog! I also have a cousin who started an Indigenous diet and is part of the VICCIFN http://www.indigenousfoodsystems.org/category/community/vancouver-island-and-coastal-communities you may be interested or already a part of =) anyways i look forward to corresponding with you if you have the time!


  20. Jenny

    Hey Kristeva,
    How’s your year going? Haven’t seen or heard from you in ages! Would love to catch up via email or skype or something 🙂 I am still in the UAE – living life large here and enjoying it.
    Write soon!

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  22. belinda

    I would like to follow your blog cant find a way to do it

  23. Laura

    I love your book! I found it completely by accident in Mosaic Books in Kelowna. It was the best find! I learned so much and was immensely inspired to continue my own efforts. Any chance you might be speaking in the area? or do you have a list of your speaking engagements or book signings?

    • Thanks Laura,

      I’m glad you found my book. I’d LOVE to have an excuse to come to Kelowna and speak in the area. Do you have any ideas/contacts that I could talk to to make something like that happen?



    • I did the same thing! Was looking for something to read on a camping trip with my dad and stumbled upon your book in Chapters, Langley. It was the perfect read! I don’t get much time to read, as we raise goats, chickens, ducks, 1 sheep and 3 cows here in Langley. Loved your book! Lots of helpful hints tucked into it.

  24. Hi Kristeva,

    I picked up your delightful book at the local library. Am still reading but did skip to the end. Indeed, I am so sad and mad about the insanity of government politics! A spirited discussion on living with bears is taking place here in the Kootenays, especially in New Denver. I’ll have to do a blog on it….

    • Hello Len,

      Too bad you missed my book tour when I was down in your area this Sept! I am glad however that you found the book. I had not been to the lovely Kootenays in 16 years and really enjoyed being back in the area. It is one of my favourite places on earth. New Denver being top of the list! I have done a 5 part series on the politics of bears on my blog that may help furnish your argument. Please feel free to quote me and ‘steal’ anything that seems to fit the situation for you down there. Also, I’d be happy to join this important debate so let me know when you post your article!

      Here is the page with all the links. Scroll to the bottom for part one, and read your way up: https://howlingduckranch.wordpress.com/?s=how+to+make+bears

      Kind regards,


  25. Robin-Taine

    Hi Kristeva…came upon your site through Kevin Kossowan recently. I just finished your book, which is fantastic! I borrowed a copy from the library, but will purchase it on my next book order. Thank you for both an informative and fun read. I lived in Bella Coola when I was little (79 – 81) while my dad pastored the Pentecostal church there. Your book brought back so many memories…especially the bear traps. The church parsonage was located, at the time, where the current church building sits, right next to the RCMP building. My bedroom window faced that street and I often woke up to see a bear trap waiting to be pulled into the valley somewhere!

    Will be keeping up with your blog!

  26. Hi Kristeva,

    Just read your book and loved it, especially when I went online and could look at the butchering process of animals. That is the hard bit for me on our 30 acres. If you ever need a place to stay in Sicamous, call me.

    I can’t find why you left your farm in Bella Coola. Why did you move?


  27. Buck

    What a terrific book this is! Not only is it a shining example of what one determined woman can do in terms of sustainability in a significantly difficult region but it is also peppered with huge laughs and characters that you could only hope to meet. It is a great read for anyone on the journey towards self sufficiency, permaculture and making the world a better place.

  28. midwestgrandma

    A grizzly end to self-sufficiency – Boy Thank you thank you thank you. I have pictures of my ancestors from 1880’s and they aren’t smiling.
    Boy, I live in the cushy suburbs and couldn’t survive more than a couple weeks if TSHTF.
    It’s blogs like yours that make sense, teach, and I love the picture of you? on the horse.
    Bears – Oh my! They like fruit on our fruit trees!!!! :O .

    Maybe as was done in Medieval Times connect the barn to the house – chickens included.
    God bless you for your blogs, I read them religiously because I don’t think we will be able to get our food from Jewel / Meijer much longer.
    I did start a vegetable garden last year but depended mainly on the city water supply as we had a drought in the midwest.

    Keep teaching us how to survive, your skills, what you learn.

    And, May God bless, watch over and protect you.

  29. Hi. Would you please put a follow by email widget on your blog?

  30. For the sake of sustainable organic farming practices and outdoor adventure… Please consider sharing our venture with your followers? Here is our campaign page and a recent article in Blue Ridge Outdoors… We would greatly appreciate it!



  31. Hello, Kristeva.
    Thank you for visiting and following me on the Farmlet. You have so much information here for the reading. Fabulous! I stand to learn much from you.
    Life on the Farmlet

  32. Marissa

    My name is Marissa, & I would really love to take you for lunch, pick your brain and visit your lil paradise. My husband and I have been researching off grid living for a couple of years. We were both raised in the Grande Prairie area and have recently moved back from the island. We currently live out by Teepee Creek, but are looking to buy land and set up our off grid nest. I absolutely love your story and would love to meet you. Strong women inspire me and I believe that the Universe has directed me to contact you. I found your story purely by accident, so I would regret it if I didn’t at least try to contact you. Hopefully we will meet someday. If interested give me a call, Ivan & Marissa 250 509-0444. I look forward to meeting you, and hopefully your goats too 🙂 Cheers

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