More about us

Founder and owner Ruth Lapp has been planting trees and designing & creating edible landscapes for over 45 years. Grandmother Birch Forest Garden Designs is the creative integration of these decades of research, hard work, study, and community engagement. Ruth is a land-regeneration practitioner, soil artist, ecological farmer, sustainable woodlot manager, creative visionary, and community educator. For 20 years, she owned and operated Herb and Roots organic farm in Centre Burlington, Nova Scotia, during which time she supplied garden produce to the Halifax Farmers Market, the Windsor Farmers Market, and the Wolfville Farmers Market. In partnership with Human Resources Development Canada, Ruth both: 1) designed and facilitated an ecological farm apprenticeship program; and 2) operated a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that provided fresh produce and educational events for low-income families in Hants County West, NS. Additionally, Ruth ran a successful CSK (Community Supported Kitchen), for which she utilized her own garden produce and other locally-sourced ingredients to create meals for customers in Halifax, NS.

Together with Jenece Gerber Ruth is the co-founder of Fireweed Earth Arts, an Earth-inspired arts and education centre established in 2018 on 50 acres of recovering/regenerating forest and farm land on the western coast of Cape Breton Island. Here she has further honed her skills of artistically and mindfully engaging with the plant and animal worlds and inspiring communities to joyfully co-create with the land. Fireweed Earth Arts hosts ecological arts apprenticeships, artist-in-residencies, workshops, coaching/teaching, performances, and other events.

Creative land-based teaching experience includes:

  • the land-based art installation “Conspiring Soil” (2016-2018, Lake St. Peter, ON)

  • “Building a Black Walnut Tree Guild” and other Permaculture techniques (2018, Maynooth, ON)

  • video installation at “Food for Thought” (2015, Harbour Front, Toronto, ON)

Speaking engagements include:

  • "Re-indigenizing the Food System", (2014, Guelph Organic Conference)

  • keynote speaker of “Life in the Soil" Visual Arts Conference (2018, University of Windsor)

  • "Temperate Forest Gardening", (2018, United Church Parish, Maynooth, ON)


Ruth is the co-author of “Defining the process of re-indigenization through soil communities" in Perma/Culture: Imagining Alternatives in an age of Crisis (Routledge Press, 2018). In addition to presenting on-going workshops at Fireweed Earth Arts, Ruth has taught workshops for community groups such as:

  • Harvest the North Community Garden Program (2016-2017, Bancroft, ON)

  • W.E.E.D Youth Project (2014, Windsor, NS)


Augmenting her continual self-directed research and study, Ruth's formal education includes Permaculture design studies, the Master of Arts in Atlantic Canada Studies (Saint Mary’s University, 2004), and PhD Studies in Cultural Studies at Queens University.

Website created by Jenece Gerber

Logo design by Deedee Clohessy