Sustainable Forests and Backwoods Cabins in New Brunswick

Dear Shelter Publications,

First of all, thank you- I love your work.  The influence that the Shelter Publications team have had on my life is indescribable, to say the least.  I am a 30 year old designer/ builder/artist born and raised in the only bilingual province of Canada, New Brunswick.

I live in the town of Sackville, ‘the cultural crossroads of Atlantic Canada’ (or, the heart of the heart of the Maritimes) along the Bay of Fundy and the Tantramar marshes.  This is a beautiful place, and one of the most overlooked & undervalued places in Canada (see Maclean’s article “Can anything save NB: The province’s economy is in free fall, it has more deaths than births and an ugly language war to rival Quebec’s”).  But despite what they say, New Brunswick is thriving in many important ways: community, ingenuity and resiliency- a fertile ground for the active fermentation of ideas &energy, a place where people embody DIY values & ethics.  People don’t often live in New Brunswick for economic reasons, but they live here for reasons which are much more visceral- the peace of rural life, the pace of life dictated by 4 distinct seasonal shifts and the world’s highest tides (55 foot daily tidal range!) I could go on…

Your work highlighting owner/builder projects and vernacular architecture are a constant source of motivation for me to pursue dreams and work with people who’s values I align with.  I feel fortunate to have tapped into a network of those people, and am proud to say I have been a self-employed entrepreneur & builder for the past 5 years, despite living in this economically deprived area of the world.

There is a group operating in this small town I would like to draw your attention to: Community Forests International.  CFI is an environmental start-up, working to connect people and their communities to the forests that sustain them.  From planting over a million trees and building a rural innovation campus which focuses on Permaculture Training in Pemba, East Africa, to active reforestation and land preservation in NB, Canada- these folks are up to some incredible, visionary projects.  One such project I think you would be interested in (I have just been awarded with the position of ‘Green Builder In-Residence’) is the implementation of a “backwoods cabin of the future”.  We are currently in the process of judging over 60 cabin design submissions from all around the world. The full design challenge (and submissions) can be seen here:

There is also a fundraising campaign & video here:–2#/

and the main website of CFI, to get a sense of their scoping work/vision:

Please share widely!  And follow, as we build a vision of rural resiliency in New Brunswick and abroad.  (Let me know- I would love to send photos of completed/process projects & buildings …)

Thanks for your time- take care,

Shamus Griffith

Post a Comment