Thursday, September 5, 2019

Do you want to teach permaculture? Here's what you need to know.

Teaching permaculture design courses, for money, might seem like a fun and easy way to develop your right livelihood but believe us, months and months of background thought, planning and hard work go into designing and implementing a permaculture design course whether it is online, on the land, or some combination.

In the early years of permaculture when spreading the initial idea was critical, successfully completing a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) allowed you to teach PDCs and distribute certificates straight away. But that practice resulted in a lot of confused students who had spent good money on a PDC, only to discover that the teacher had no hands-on experience and, perhaps worse, no teaching skills whatsoever. 

Fortunately, there is a widely agreed-upon system of accountability within the permaculture community, and any PDC teacher worth their salt will easily be able to demonstrate at least the level of experience we are recommending you obtain before teaching your own PDC. It’s really a matter of integrity: there is nothing wrong with offering introductory workshops to your community, and learning by teaching as you move through the early phases of your permaculture journey. But if you want to teach students the big picture of permaculture design, it’s important that you have so much more than just academic knowledge and a couple of years experience under your belt. 

Think of it like anything else you might try to master: it doesn’t happen overnight, or even in a year or two. If you were learning an instrument, you’d expect 2-5 years for proficiency, 10 years for any level of mastery. Working with biological and social systems is at least that slow! So, don’t try to rush it. Take your time, work hard, document your learning, and do your future students, and by extension, the Earth, a service by taking time to deeply engage with permaculture, and also to learn what it takes to be a really good teacher.

10 steps to becoming a qualified permaculture teacher:

  1. Complete a 72-hour Permaculture Design Course with a qualified team of teachers, and obtain your certificate.
  2. Practice a range of designs, with different climates, cultures, and goals.
  3. Gain hands-on site implementation and management experience in your home community, working with the same land and people for long enough to be able to see multiple phases of your designs emerge, succeed, and sometimes, fail. 
  4. Complete a Permaculture Teacher Training course with a qualified team of teachers, and engage in peer review of your teaching skills. 
  5. Participate in an extended study of inquiry-based pedagogy and hands-on learning. 
  6. Co-teach several short workshops with a qualified team. 
  7. Teach several more short workshops, on your own or as the lead teacher on a team, and conduct a thorough evaluation of your performance.
  8. Guest- and co-teach several full-length PDCs, and conduct more evaluations, both from students and co-teachers.
  9. Design, coordinate, and conduct your own PDC, as the lead teacher. More evaluations. 
  10. Rinse and repeat! Participate in a lifetime of on-going learning, feedback, and reflection.

In many countries, becoming an accredited PDC teacher also involves completing an Applied Permaculture Diploma, a portfolio of applied design work. 

Here are the Permaculture Teacher Training courses we recommend, listed in alphabetical order by lead teacher:
  • Silvia di Blasio. Silvia teaches the next module! And she also teaches at OUR Ecovillage in British Columbia. Silvia offers a range of opportunities, both online and in person.
  • Robin Clayfield offers a bunch of courses, online and in-person around the world. She’s based in Australia. 
  • Jude Hobbs. Annual, in-person course in Oregon. Jude offers courses around the world.
  • Looby Macnamara. Looby is on our PWG faculty. She offers a range of in-person and online courses, in permaculture and cultural emergence.
  • Rowe Morrow. Annual, in-person residential course in the Blue Mountains and some courses internationally. Rowe is our Queen, in so many ways. If you have a chance to study with her, do it. 
  • Lisa DePiano. Offers teacher trainings and other resources for women. She mostly works in New England. 
  • Hannah Thorogood. Hannah is on our faculty here, and teaches annual courses in the U.K.
Via Permaculture Women's Guild - free permaculture

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Scale of Permanence as a Site Assessment and Analysis Tool

by Taj Scicluna
get the PDF version of this article:
The Scale of Permanence for Site Assessment and Analysis is an excellent tool that allows us to bring the ecological web of design together succinctly in a step by step process.

Firstly, for Assessment, use each topic of the Scale of Permanence to create overlays for your Base Map, and go through these onsite to draw diagrams and observations on the page, whilst recording information on your design process worksheet.

For example, on your Climate overlay you may map the sun, the shade, the prevailing wind, etc. (You may also need to do research for this to fill the gaps). On your design process worksheet you may write what month is the hottest, when the first frosts are, how cold it gets, growing degree days etc. This information may come from a primary source, such as a local person who has experience with the landscape and history of the property, or secondary source, such as data analysis online from weather stations etc.

Remember if you do not know the ‘answers’ you can look things up later, just remain curious. It’s great to write all the questions that come into your head and you can try and research them later if needed.

The Analysis can start when you are Assessing the site, however be mindful of the difference. Assessment is based on Observation, where as Analysis is answering the ‘How and Why’.

The Difference between Observation and Analysis:

Definition: Noticing or Perceiving. Permaculture Assessment Context: Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) is growing here.

Definition: Separating a material or abstract entity into its constituent elements; studying the nature of something or of determining its essential features and their relations. Permaculture Analysis Context: Yellow Dock indicates clay soils high in iron, and wet boggy areas where water accumulates. 

Analysis is answering why (… does it do that? Is it growing here? Etc.) and how (… where does it come from? What effects it? Etc.)
We can start to ask questions about how what we are observing relates to the larger picture, what components it is influencing and what components it will effect in the future.

From here we can start to use Methods of Design, such as Relative Location based on the Needs Analysis of the components which the client wants on their property.

The task of a Permaculture Designer is to marry the needs of the landscape (as documented in the Site Assessment and Analysis) and the Client context (as documented in the client questionnaire and methods of design exercises) to create a synergy between the two, so humans can function as part of the ecological system.

Below gives you an idea of how you may use the Scale of Permanence for Analysis.

1. Climate 

Questions to Ask: 
  • What is the Climate Classification? 
  • What buildings/vegetation/social systems exist within natural landscapes of this climate classification? 
  • What are the extremes in Temperature? Max Temp, Min Temp, First and Last Frost
  • What are the Limiting Factors here? 
  • What are the potential Disasters and when did they occur last? Fire, Floods, Earthquakes
  • How have these disasters impacted the other Scale of Permanence topics? 
  • What is the function of this element/energy? 
  • How can we utilize and harness these elements/energies?

Analysis Tools & Resources: 
  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here? 

2. Landform 
Questions to Ask: 
  • Obtain contour maps 
  • What does the slope indicate about the soil type? 
  • What are the geological processes responsible for the topography? 
  • What types of vegetation grow in areas of different gradients? 
  • Where are the keylines and keypoint on this landscape? (If there is one) 
  • Does the Client want a Dam, if so where would be the best site in consideration to catchment, wildlife, slope, soil, and distribution of the water? 
  • What gradient comprises the largest area you have to work with? 
  • What topography is indicative of natural pathways? 
  • What is the function of this element/energy? 
  • How can we utilize and harness these elements/energies?

Analysis Tools & Resources 
  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here? 

3. Water 
Questions to Ask: 
  • Where are the downpipes, tanks, main catchment areas? 
  • Are there any erosion pathways? What is causing them? 
  • Is the erosion due to the speed of water, lack of vegetation, soil type etc.? 
  • Are there areas of poor drainage? Why? 
  • Are there any microclimates caused by water sources? 
  • How can we minimize erosion? 
  • How can we utilize these energies? 
  • Is there a place of natural water accumulation? Where are the healthy areas of vegetation that suggests an abundance of water? 
  • What months are wettest? What months are driest? What does this mean for the surrounding vegetation and wildlife? What does this mean for the household and human needs? 
  • Is water needed in the case of a fire? 
  • Is there ever flooding? How can we design for this? 
  • Does drought effect this area? How can we design for this? 
  • How much water is needed for property needs? Household? Garden? Animals? Calculate 
  • Will Irrigation be needed in certain areas? What kind? How much? And where will the water come from? 
  • What are the limiting factors here? 

Analysis Tools & Resources
  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here?
  • How do water & topography connect? 
  • Where does the water enter and leave the property? How is it effected and what is it effecting? 
  • How can we ensure the water is cleaner when it leaves than when it arrives? 

4. Culture, Economics, Political, Social, Legal, Spiritual
Questions to Ask: 
  • Who are the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary decision makers on the property? 
  • Does the client have clear goals in mind? 
  • How does/can the surrounding community contribute and connect to the property? 
  • Does the property hold any historical and/or spiritual significance? How did the original peoples of the land use the land? 
  • Legally, what is the zoning of the property? Are there any overlays and laws to abide to?
  • Are the clients doing everything legally or not? What are they willing to risk? What are they not willing to risk? What is most important to them? 
  • Do the clients have good relation to the neighbours? 
  • Are their council regulations? What laws need to be considered in each scale of permanence area? 
  • Is the property going to be used for an enterprise? How will the property or the people living there generate income to pay for the development? 
  • What are the Limiting factors here? 
  • Is there enough of a budget to develop the property in relation to the clients goals? 
  • Is there enough time for maintenance to develop the property in relation to the clients goals? 
  • What are the inhabitants strengths? What are their gaps? 
  • Will anyone need to be hired (trade/exchange) to help in the development of the property where there are gaps? 
  • Is there a spiritual significance of the property/land to the inhabitants? 

Analysis Tools & Resources
  • Local Council Websites (check for zoning and overlays) 
  • Map nearby utilities (Libraries, Sports Centers, Community Houses, Community Hubs, Places where people meet, Areas of traffic, Hospitals etc.) 
  • Local Knowledge of history, cultural significance etc. 

  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here? 
  • What are the connections between the outside community?

5. Access and circulation 
Questions to Ask
  • Where are the natural meeting areas? 
  • Where are the natural paths? 
  • Are there current areas of stagnation? Paths that are not working? Areas where the flow does not feel natural or easy? 
  • Where are the nodes? 
  • Are there any areas that are not working in terms of placement and ease of use? 
  • Parking for cars and bicycles? 
  • Is the property easy to access for cars, bikes, public transport, pedestrians? 
  • Are there wildlife paths and corridors to be aware of?

Analysis Tools & Resources
  • Local public transport websites and maps 
  • Reading landscape to find wildlife paths  

  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here?
  • How do the surrounding wildlife access and circulate the property?

6. Microclimate 
Questions to Ask: 
  • Are there water tanks that can create a microclimate? 
  • What buildings/infrastructure/walls will create a microclimate? 
  • Does any of the existing vegetation need a microclimate to help it thrive? 
  • Are there any materials and resources on site that can contribute to microclimates needed? 
  • Does the slope create a microclimate and where? 
  • Do any areas need protection from wind? 
  • Are there any elements in the clients needs and goals that will require a microclimate? 
  • How can the existing vegetation supply a microclimate for elements needed? 
  • How can the elements needed supply a microclimate for existing elements? 
  • How can the elements needed supply a microclimate for each other? 
  • Are there any limiting factors here?

Analysis Tools & Resources:
  • Maps, trial and error, observation!

  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here?
  • How do the microclimates connect with Access/Circulation and Areas of use?

7. Vegetation and Wildlife 
Questions to Ask: 
  • What predators surround the property? 
  • Are there any pests that inhabit the property and pose a threat to vegetation and animal systems? 
  • What kind of inclusion/exclusion is necessary? 
  • What are the native and endemic species of the area? What vegetation and habitat do they need and can that be created on site? 
  • How can the native and endemic species contribute to the elements of the design? 
  • How can the elements of the design contribute to the vegetation and habitat for native wildlife? 
  • Are there any endangered species of flora and fauna and can the design assist them in any way?
  • Are there wildlife corridors or can they be created? 
  • Are there surrounding National Parks or Reserves? 
  • Are there any limiting factors here?
  • How can the vegetation elements needed in the design fit with the existing vegetation? 
  • How can you create habitat for birds, insects, mammals, reptiles?

Analysis Tools & Resources
  • What is the connection between the inhabitants of the property and the vegetation and wildlife? 
  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here?
  • Can windbreaks/firebreaks be also utilised as wildlife corridors or sanctuaries?

8. Buildings and infrastructure
Questions to Ask: 
  • Where are the utilities? Gas, electric, solar, hot water, taps etc. 
  • Where are the downpipes and where do they go? 
  • What is the sewage system?
  • What are the building materials? 
  • Are there any complications with the buildings and infrastructure? 
  • Are they safe? 
  • Can they be utilised for any multiple functions? Microclimates? Windbreaks? Catchment? Solar? Vertical gardens? 
  • Where are the windows, what are the views? 
  • Where are the doors, what areas do they access? 
  • Where does the greywater go? 
  • Are there any limiting factors here? 
  • What are the functions of each building and how may they be expanded? 
  • Are any buildings redundant? Can the functions be condensed into smaller areas? 

Analysis Tools & Resources:
  • Zone analysis

  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here?
  • Are there energy flows and pathways between buildings? 

9. Soil (fertility and management) 
Questions to Ask: 
  • What is the geology of the site and how does it contribute to the soil type? 
  • What is the climate of the site and how does it contribute to the soil type? 
  • Are there different areas of soil type, drainage, silt traps etc.?
  • Can these areas be used for certain vegetation or elements within the design? 
  • What areas will the soil need to be built up? 
  • Are there areas of pollution, contamination and high heavy metal loads? 
  • What is nearby that may contribute to soil pollution? Runoff? Sprays? Other farms? 
  • What is the history of the site and has it been sprayed heavily? 
  • Are there limiting factors here? 

Analysis Tools & Resources: 

  • What are the connections between elements/energies/structures/wildlife here?
  • What are the connections with the soil/compost/garden/vegetable garden/orchard and animals systems within the design? How does this make a difference to their design placement? 

10. Aesthetics 
Questions to Ask:
  • What atmosphere would the client like to create, and what are the already existing sense of place determined by the landscape, climate and elements?
  • Consider the type of aesthetic the client wants, and ask if straight or curvy lines are needed, what shapes will create this feel? 
  • Think about where the windows and doors are, where the views will be, where the client/inhabitants will be sitting and what they will see, if there are entertaining areas etc. 
  • How can you create this aesthetic with building materials, vegetation, patterns and shapes etc?
  • Is there any kind of cultural/climate aesthetic you are trying to mimic here? 
  • And what will contribute to the creation of this within the design?

Analysis Tools & Resources
  • Client interview, intuition

  • Here is an opportunity to get really creative! Search for ways to make your site more beautiful while also improving relationships. Next, you can start to determine the best placement for the elements within the design, considering inputs and outputs, energy efficiency and relative location. 
Have fun!

Download PDF version here
Via Permaculture Women's Guild - free permaculture

Thursday, June 20, 2019

How to Improve Clay Soil in 6 Steps

Heavy clay soil can be frustrating. Follow this 6-step plan to improve soil so you can garden with ease and grow crops that thrive.

The post How to Improve Clay Soil in 6 Steps appeared first on Tenth Acre Farm.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

On seeds, decolonization and the feminine side of things — a conversation with Rowen White

Picture of Rowen White
Rowen White
You are a Seed Keeper — that’s a pretty cool job title. Can you tell us more about what you do?

I come from a place called Akwesasne, which is an indigenous Mohawk community near the Canadian border. Traditionally, we are an agricultural nation so caring for seeds and for the Earth in general aligns with our cultural values and has been handed down from one generation to the next over millennia. There’s a lineage of people cultivating relationship to their food and to the Mother Earth. We have quite a number of heritage and traditional varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers, tobacco and other plants that have been specifically handed down through many generations over the last several thousand years as a part of our traditional food ways. I have the great honor of being one of the seed keepers of the Mohawk people which means that, together with others, I am making sure that the seeds stay alive and healthy and that they’re given freely within our community, as well as passed down to the next generations.

Sounds like a true passion.

It is a real passion. Due to the impacts of colonization and acculturation many of native North American food systems have been dismantled and unfortunately, they are not a part of our everyday life anymore. As a teenager I didn’t really have access to a lot of the traditional foods and to the cultural memory that goes with them. As a young woman I became interested in traditional farming and wanted to learn more about where our food comes from and to create more sovereignty and freedom through cultivation. That’s how I opened this Pandora’s box of the world of heirloom seeds… and wow!

It turns out that not only do seeds have this incredible diversity — a prism of different colors and shapes and sizes and places where they grow best and communities that they come from — but that they also carry stories and beautiful lineages of relationships.

For Mohawk people agriculture was historically at the center of our culture and I was very curious why it no longer was a significant part of my life and how I could reengage and restore that relationship and connection to the land. So I began to ask people, gather seeds and learn more and more about my responsibility to care for them. It led me on a 20-year-long path to being a seed keeper. Being an educator and a mentor constitutes a central part of this role. I am helping people who are in a similar situation I was 20 years ago — curious but not having access to knowledge or seeds. I am passing this knowledge I received from the elders and mentors of mine within the community because I honor the importance of keeping these traditional seeds alive together with the cultural memory that is attached to them.

Busy life!

It is. I run a seed co-operative. We have a 10-acre farm that focuses on stewardship of seeds and education of people about seed care and growing food in holistic ways. I am also the national program coordinator for the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network — a program of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, which works with a number of different tribal communities to create seed libraries and banks and also to build mentorship networks to leverage resources around policy for protecting our seeds against biopiracy, biocolonialism and patenting. I travel all over North America to see tribal communities and facilitate workshops and conversations around how communities are creating these resources in their lives. So that’s my work in a nutshell. It’s complex and multilayered but it’s also a beautiful path to follow. The seeds have guided me well along my path.

So would you say that seed keeping could be seen as a decolonization


​To me decolonization is the foundation of the seed sovereignty movement. But I also like to put a positive spin on it: it’s re-indigenising.

​We are claiming back our traditions and rehydrating those original agreements that we had with the plants and with our ancestors but also with our descendants. It doesn’t happen only in Native American nations. Across the globe communities start to recognize the importance of durable, resilient, local food systems. Local engagement has been growing the incredible momentum in the last several decades. The Seed Freedom Movement is a part of it because we recognize that we cannot have a durable and resilient local food system if we don’t have locally adapted seeds that are a part of it. Seeds are the foundation of agriculture but they also encode a memory of the land, the climate, the weather, as well as people’s cultural values, aesthetics and stories. And now people of all generations are coming together to recognize the importance of seed heritage, to create new ways to counteract the globalization and industrialization of our food systems, to resist monocultures. At the heart of what I do is the creation of the seed literacy. Even if you’re not a farmer or a gardener, seed is a vitally important thing in your life because we all eat.
Picture of seeds in a bowl
Photo: Rowen White
Among Mohawk people the women were traditionally responsible for seed keeping. Is it still the case within this modern growing movement?

Historically in most cultures — although I can confidently talk only about the Mohawks — seeds were considered feminine. It relates to our own reproductive system — it’s the woman who carries the seed. If you look botanically, it’s the female part of the plant that is creating the seed, so this is a feminine expression of the plant’s life cycle. In our tradition and in many cultures and traditions across the globe seeds have traditionally been considered a feminine aspect of the agricultural system and largely it’s been the responsibility of women to care for them.

In your writing you are using this beautiful word — rematriation.

We’ve been using it in a lot of different contexts. Primarily it’s about restoring the feminine back into our lives through our food systems and recognizing that many of the industrial global food systems are very patriarchal, so it’s about creating that balance. Our traditional knowledge wasn’t about women being more powerful than men or the other way round. The point was to maintain that egalitarian balance between the masculine and the feminine.

Rematriation in relation to seeds is about bringing the seeds back home into their original context and into their communities of origin. Speaking more broadly, rematriation is about restoring that feminine energy back into our lives and our communities.

I learned of the word through a man named Martin Prechtel. In my latest blog post I quote a piece from his book “The Unlikely Peace of Cuchamaquic” — he speaks very eloquently about the idea of rematriation, about that holy feminine being restored back into our lives. Among native peoples we talk a lot about repatriation of things back into our communities. So in this case we decided to use a more feminine word. It’s inspired by the work of Martin Prechtel but also by the legacy and lineage within indigenous communities.

Is it relatively easy to engage young people in such work?

For many years there had been this generation gap. Older people were keeping traditions and seeds alive but younger ones didn’t engage, didn’t see it as relevant. But now I’m witnessing a resurgence of the movement among the younger folks in tribal and farming communities but also in a more mainstream culture. People are waking up to the fact that the monocropped way of life and industrialization of everything is damaging not only to the nature but also to our relationship with the world. Young people these days are inheriting a world that is deeply troubled. In a way they know they have to do something and they are enraged. Stewarding seeds is such a powerful, beautiful and inspiring path to follow. It’s a hopeful form of activism. It’s very tangible and it creates something positive to work for instead of working against something else.

We have to be good future ancestors and responsible descendants, so it’s our responsibility to care for the seeds to make sure that younger generations and future generations that we might not know yet have them.

I have a teenage daughter who’s been growing up on a seed farm so this way of eating is her life from day one. She has a great passion for the culinary arts. She wants to be a chef. There’s a spectrum of ways in which young people can engage in this kind of work. If you’re interested in farming or gardening, that’s great but you might as well be a chef, an artist, an activist, a public speaker. There are many different ways to contribute. A lot of our work in the seed sovereignty movement evolves around inclusivity — how we can acknowledge the gifts that different people can bring to the table and how to make sure that a well-rounded resilient food system has many people contributing in various creative ways so it’s not only about growing food.

You also say that seeds are living beings and our relatives. Can you unpack it a bit for people who haven’t grown up within a Native American community and may have a problem with relating to it?

Sure. All of us — and that includes everyone who is reading it now — descend from a lineage of people who had a very intimate relationship with plants. It’s just in the last couple of hundred years of human history we’ve been looking at seeds and food in general as a commodity as opposed to something that was an integral part of our life that we shared. It used to be a commons, a collective inheritance. A long time ago our ancestors — mine, yours, everyone else’s — made agreements with plants that they would take care of each other. There is this intimacy, there are familial relationships that are encoded in creation stories that are held within many different ancestries and bloodlines.

So when I say that seeds are sacred because they are living relatives, I mean it wholeheartedly. That’s how I view seeds and that’s how pretty much all of humanity saw seeds up to a certain point.

Then it started to get industrialized and commodified and our collective view of what seeds represented has changed. I like to remind people that 200 years ago in the United States and in Europe there were no seed companies. People shared and traded seeds instead. I like to tell people to think deeply about their relationship with their food and with the seeds that make this food. If you trace back different cultural lineages, you’ll see that plants and seeds played significant roles in cosmologies and worldviews. In the Mohawk creation story such foods as corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and strawberries figure prominently. They grew from the body of the daughter of the original woman as a gift to her sons. These foods would then sustain them for the rest of their time here on Earth and they literally grew from her flesh and bones. So in our cosmology we see them as our relatives. We have an agreement with them that they would nourish us every day but we have to give back. That’s a reciprocal relationship.

​So now, in North America but also globally, we need to rethink and rewrite the narrative of our relationship with food and seed. At the moment there is a dominant narrative in the Western world that sees plants as dead inanimate objects that we just grow, harvest, mechanize and exploit. But that dominant narrative is really just a shallow facade around a much deeper relationship that humans have had with plants for a lot longer. So in our educational seed co-operative Sierra Seeds we challenge that dominant narrative.

This is a radically different view to the one held by mainstream agricultural companies. You are promoting it now not only through Sierra Seeds in the US — recently you joined the faculty of over 40 women who teach the Permaculture Women’s Guild Online Permaculture Design Course where you run a module on seed keeping. It is not a regular part of the PDC curriculum, is it?

It isn’t indeed. Permaculture is a fantastic curriculum and a beautiful pedagogy — a wonderful system of knowledge that has been distilled down from a much larger traditional ecological body of knowledge originating all around the world and I think many of us within the movement acknowledge that. There is a very particular curriculum of 72 hours of teaching that accompanies the PDC and seed stewardship isn’t a part of it but then… how can it not be a part of it? Seed stewardship should be an integral part of every farmer’s garden and it was — until a hundred or two hundred years ago. So when we’re talking about permaculture and creating holistic food systems, the seed has an inherent place within it. People need to know how to steward seed and how to cultivate seed that’s regionally adapted to a very specific place and to their own unique low input permaculture system. So I approached the creators of this course and said: “Hey, what if we include a module on holistic seed stewardship?”.

The seed is the beginning. It’s so vitally important to the foundation of all food systems but at the same time most seeds available now aren’t adapted to low input polyculture or permaculture systems.

​They have been bred and selected for monoculture in a very different farming system. That’s why I think that for people who are meant to obtain a certificate in permaculture design it’s important not to forget about saving seeds. I feel super thrilled to contribute to this course and hold a little corner of that space to really honor the seeds and all that they give us.
Picture of a woman in a cornfield.
Photo: Christine Peterson, Sacred Ecology
One more thing… I’m sure that everyone who got to this point of our conversation feels like me. I buy the majority of my vegetables from a local farming co-operative so the veggies I eat are local, culturally appropriate and organic. But as a city dweller with a small garden I throw away most of these really good seeds and now I feel super-bad. Any advice for folks like me?

The beautiful thing about this growing seed sovereignty movement is that there are many different community projects and initiatives that are springing up wherever people come together to think creatively about how we can develop more access to good seeds within our communities. So in a lot of places, especially in urban environments, there are seed libraries and seed exchange — places where people help to facilitate the distribution and collection of these seeds. So I would recommend that folks, who don’t have a lot of capacity in their life to do a lot of seed stewardship in their own garden or allotment, connect with the wider community. Seed libraries are popping up — it’s worth to look for a local one and share your surplus of seeds there.

​The beauty of a seed is that it multiplies exponentially. It is a wonderful example of the natural abundance of the Earth and I think it is also a beautiful expression of the gift economy. Even keepers like myself always have more seeds than we need. It inspires me to be generous and to give seeds outside of my own home farm. The seeds teach us to be generous and to share our abundance with other people and this is really the true nature of things. We live in a society where the dominant narrative is based on scarcity and austerity, so we need to start paying attention to seeds because they remind us of the inherent generosity of the Earth and of our own inherently generous nature.

#seedstewardship #permaculturewomen #seedsaving #decolonization 

To find out more about Rowen and the projects she’s involved in, have a look at the Sierra Seeds website. Rowen is also one of the tutors in the Permaculture Women’s Guild Online Permaculture Design Certificate course.
Via Permaculture Women's Guild - free permaculture

On placemaking, true diversity and intercontinental cross-pollination: a conversation with Ridhi D’Cruz

Picture of Ridhi D'Cruz sitting by the side of the road.
Photo: Kiran Jonnalagadda
You call yourself an “intercontinental cross-pollinator”— could you unpack it a bit?

I’m originally from India and have been living in the United States for almost eight years now. In 2010, I moved to a continent that I’d never been to before. At the same time I feel like American culture and Western European culture are pervasive and set aspirations in the “global South”. And as a result, there is a familiarity but also a dynamic I wanted to investigate . Knowing that I had taken on aspirations that weren’t really my own, coming to the US was also partially a journey of decolonization. I also wanted to give perspectives from other places some kind of a parity.

For example during sustainability conferences or university gatherings at Portland State University — where I studied in America — some folks would say: “So you’ve come to Portland to learn about sustainability” — insinuating in a way that people in India have nothing to contribute to the sustainability movement. And that really pissed me off. I’ve definitely come here to learn but also to share because a lot of what happens in other parts of the world is of an absolute and imperative importance to be honored and integrated.

And did you manage to get your message across to your peers?

I think so. These are small and slow solutions, right? When I first came to the US, I had a lot more anger and fire in me. I may have scared off some people. I came across as this angry Indian woman. But my discipline — and I trained as an anthropologist — is in a way built on a foundation of different ways of knowing and understanding. Especially social and cultural anthropology. But this knowledge is not on a level playing field.

There are geopolitical forces at play that make different types of knowledge weighted unequally. I would say that the established order in the sustainability movement feels very white-centric, middle class, academic.

I know this may not be true around the world, perhaps, but I still don’t feel that enough support, resources and listening are given to some of the stories and case studies that are coming from other parts of the world. And I don’t mean to over-romanticise because there is a fine balance here. But goals, aspirations, and credit typically go to a certain group of people and I’ve been actively working to dismantle this white supremacy within the movement.

I would think that the permaculture movement shouldn’t be a place where white supremacy prevails — on one hand this is quite surprising, on the other — I spoke to Rowen White who is an Indigenous American woman and she expressed her feelings very strongly as well.

I feel like here there is much clearer ethnic boundary between Indigenous and non-indigenous. Being Indigenous in India is a very different thing to being Indigenous in America. People often ask me: are you Indigenous to India? Well, as far as I know, all my ancestors are from there but I don’t see myself as Indigenous in the same way as they do here. I feel that in the United States there is a deep rift between native or Indigenous permaculture and the Western-centric, Euro-centric permaculture. In my experience, most times, Native communities don’t even want to use the term “permaculture”. They have their own words for it including Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Sometimes I see it being bridged but I think there is a lot of unpacking that we have to do on this continent in terms of whiteness and patriarchy. The longer I stay here, the more apparent it becomes.

You said you wouldn’t expect it from the permaculture movement. But how can it be any different? Despite our efforts to dismantle these systems of oppression, we must not forget that we are embedded within them.

​It’s more important to me to see how we respond to it. If we really dig into the teachings of permaculture and put the overarching goals first instead of our egos, we’ve got everything we need, even if it’s Eurocentric. But instead of concentrating on social justice we find ourselves divided, defensive, unwilling to grow. For me the biggest point of transformation is the need to set up robust mechanisms for giving each other feedback. We don’t have a culture of accountability and we don’t have a real commitment to growth.
Picture of a person getting food out of a pot.
Photo from Ridhi’s archive.
That’s a good point. And it’s a difficult thing to build, there is a lot of resistance towards it.

Yeah. To use a permaculture metaphor: we know that we need to capture rainwater but we’re arguing how to do that. And in the meantime… Dude, the water is just dripping! All we do is talk about divisions: people of color versus white people, feminists versus patriarchy. I’m thinking a lot about metaphors. One of them is a cell membrane which is semipermeable. It keeps the cell intact but it also has means of exchange.

I feel like there’s sometimes too many functions are being stacked and that over-integration is a real thing: we are diluting and homogenizing and therefore replicating the dominant paradigm in a way. And I’m more interested in understanding how to keep things distinct to retain the diversity but at the same time make the relationships between them beneficial — to keep them intact inside but able to exchange value.

It’s a very nice metaphor. But let’s talk practical — your work revolves around regenerating public places in Portland. Was it something you were doing as well in India, or did you get involved in it when you moved to America?

It’s something I was actually dabbling in when I was living in India. A friend of mine started something called “The Wall Project” in Mumbai. Mumbai is a crazy, scary city. I don’t know how I survived there for two years. She started painting public walls in collaboration with other people. When asked why she was doing it she said: “We barely have any greenery and everything is so densely packed. But we have a lot of walls so rather than looking at walls as a separation maybe we should look at them as points of connection.” It all started very informally and I loved that. I took part in one painting action and it felt so wonderful. I got to meet neighbours. There were many people walking by as we still have a lot of walking culture in India. I felt really inspired. And as a young twenty-something really apathetic, middle class, privileged person I didn’t know how to respond. Together with a couple of friends — one of them was an artist, the other was studying journalism with me — we decided to paint some walls in our own city, Bangalore.

I talk a bunch about Bangalore during the module I teach within the Permaculture Women’s Guild Permaculture Design Course because I feel it’s so essential — this is where I came from and this is why I do what I do. So in Bangalore all our hang out places, non-commercial public spaces were eroding so quickly and were driving us into such isolation — at least I felt that. I didn’t want to go to the mall, to just keep buying things to be able to inhabit space. So we started painting walls in Bangalore and that was really meaningful to me.

Sounds like a great project — a combination of art and saving the public space. It is also a part of what you are doing now in Portland with City Repair. Is the local community responsive? Who is getting involved in it?

At this point there are over 65 intersection paintings in Portland. The organization has been around for 20 years and has been growing steadily. We’ve got probably over 20 different communities who are painting and it’s a mixture of repainting the old ones to renew them every couple of years and creating new ones. I feel like the predominant workforce are the usual suspects in the permaculture movement — folks who have a strong critique of capitalism and modern development. I say it carefully because I don’t want to overly homogenize but it feels like they’re mostly white middle class folks who’ve chosen to live in voluntary simplicity.

The more I meet people within the permaculture movement, the more I have a feeling that it’s exactly as you are describing — people choosing to live that way because they are privileged enough to do so. And the communities everyone seems to want to include… don’t get included as much in the end.

The divisions between people run deep. When I was in India I had to make many choices. I grew up middle class so I had a lot of class privilege and I had to fight to go down a route that was not the usual “I’m gonna do an MBA.” There’s a lot of social pressure to keep maintaining the status quo. I have had so many biases because of this, so many prejudices. And one of my favorite ones was involving education. Education was a big deal to me for a variety of reasons. And I’m not saying that education is not important but I don’t think you need to have a degree in anything or to be a high school graduate to be profoundly wise.

I met a shepherd once who just blew my mind. We were talking about metaphysical things, the cosmos, the purpose of life and I was astounded: “Wow, you think about these things?” And he said: “Yep, I’ve got a lot of time, I’m a shepherd.” The fact that he was illiterate didn’t mean that he didn’t think about awesome things. We’ve got a lot of divisions and opinions that we replicate. One of them is that uneducated folks hold problematic beliefs. And I’m not saying it’s never true — really problematic beliefs do exist as a result of a lack of access to education. For example, I worked in a red light area with a non-profit organization and I was told that one of the myths they were trying to debunk was that the cure for HIV was to have sex with a virgin. But at the same time there are different sides.

​Sometimes, we’ve got this romantic notion that in rural India, for example, everything is idyllic and we just need to return to that lifestyle. And that’s not all true in the same way that cities are not all bad. To me permaculture is not only about harvesting rainwater and building physical eco-infrastructures — it’s a design philosophy and approach, right? So we have to define a challenge, its context and the goal and design the process to meet this goal. And it applies to social structures as well.
A series of pictures showing the building of a space.
The City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon. Photo from Ridhi’s archive.
And how do you integrate this approach within the module you’re teaching — the placemaking?

That’s a good question. I think I try to share some things, to come from a personal narrative perspective instead of blanket statements like: “People of color this…”, “Indian women that…” I do not want to be tokenized or be a representative of any of those identities. I wear all of them. I try to own my experience and I also admit that some of these institutionalized ways of oppression do constrain various other people. So I chose a personal narrative approach because I feel like the biggest potency for transformation is in personal growth opportunities. People hear about the effects of capitalism and globalization in other places but many don’t get a chance to meet someone who grew up there.

So I’m talking about Bangalore and how my whole world changed and I dedicated my life to being a part of an empowerment-based approach. I really believe in place-based power. Placemaking is never just about the material stuff, about painting the streets or the cob oven on the corner. All those things are great, they foster the sense of coming together and being in community with one another. But for me it’s also a deeply personal journey: what’s my role within this? What’s my place?

I feel like if we had an ability to root in places deeper and cultivate a meaningful conversation not just with the land but with each other — without being scared to show some vulnerability — I think many problems on the surface would kind of melt away.

Your place started in India, now it’s the United States. How does your middle class, educated, Indian family feel about the life choices you’ve made?

I love my parents. I realized that although as a teenager I thought I was fighting against them, actually I was enacting exactly what they taught me. I’m such a product of them. And I told them that. I said: “You know dad, I’m making these choices because of the values you’ve instilled in me.” And he just smiled and said: “You’re so smart, you know how to get to me!” But I was telling the truth. And I think this is when I started to understand that things don’t exist in duality but in between, in the grey area.

While my parents still don’t fully understand what I’m doing and why, we have conversations. They are surprised that I’m struggling, that I find it expensive to go to India and rarely have time. They say: “You’re working very hard but you’re not rolling in the dough, you’re not comfortable. You’re not even financially stable, forget comfortable! Why are you doing this?” I performed well at school so it’s definitely by choice and they really try to understand it. Over time, they get more snippets.

I’ve been doing this for 10 years so they know it’s not a phase I’m going to grow out of. And it’s really important for me to bring them along because they are true inspirers of this whole path that I’m walking. Recently my dad bought me land in India that I will return to and turn into a permaculture-inspired place. To me is a symbol that although he doesn’t fully understand what I’m doing, we’ve got this understanding and trust. He says: “I don’t know how you’re going to do this, there are wild animals and stuff.” And I say: “You’re right, I’m terrified, I don’t know how to do this but I know I will die trying.”

​He doesn’t need to be a permaculturist and I don’t need to be a business person but we can develop a relationship of mutual respect: although it’s not my path, I see it’s yours and I respect it and in ways that are aligned with my own values I will support you. And I think that such respect fosters so much possibility for collaboration, mutual benefits and a truly diverse community where we are all walking our own paths.

#placemaking #permaculturewomen #socialpermaculture

To find out more about the project Ridhi is involved in Portland, USA, check out The City Repair Project website. Ridhi is also one of the 40+ tutors in the Permaculture Women’s Guild Online Permaculture Design Certificate course.
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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Grow Food Not Lawns! How and why to turn your yard into a garden

by Heather Jo Flores
Growing food at home is hardly a new idea. But in this culture, where more people know how to take the perfect selfie than how to grow a potato, urban agriculture has become a form of activism. The slogan “Food Not Lawns” is spreading like wildfire.

Here are some reasons why:

Lawns are the largest agricultural sector, covering more than 40 million acres of land and consuming more than 800 million gallons of fuel each year in the U.S. alone, according to Duke environmental professor William Chameides. The cost of organic produce is prohibitive for many families. Growing their own gives them access. Eating fresh produce improves health and increases vitality. Gardening brings a family closer together and sharing surplus produce, seeds and plants builds community with neighbors and fellow gardeners. Growing food creates a sense of empowerment and gives gardeners the feeling that they have control over their food supply.

These are just some of the ideas that sparked the Food Not Lawns movement. I started the original Food Not Lawns organization in 1999 in Eugene, Oregon. Three of us who cooked for the local Food Not Bombs chapter started calling ourselves Food Not Lawns and hosting workshops in our garden. Our vision was to share seeds and plants with our neighborhood, to promote local awareness about food security and to learn about permaculture, sustainability and organic gardening.

Within two years the project had expanded to include dozens of gardens around the neighborhood, and Food Not Lawns was rewarded with a Neighborhood Development Grant from the city of Eugene. From there, Food Not Lawns continued to blossom. Now, 16 years later, Food Not Lawns is an International network with more than 50 local chapters.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that I get from people who want to turn their lawns into gardens:

How do I get rid of the grass?

There are a few options, each with pros and cons:

Sheet mulching.
Sheet mulching is a technique where you cover the grass with cardboard and then pile on organic matter — straw, leaves, food scraps, soil. It’s basically like building a wide, short compost pile all over the yard. The top layer is covered with fine mulch and then nursery plants and seeds can be planted directly into the mulch. This is the preferred method of most permaculture aficionados, as it is the least harmful to soil communities and can be a quick way to build up garden soil for growing food. However, sheet mulching can pose multiple problems.

If you have the kind of grass that spreads through underground rhizomes, there is a good chance those roots won’t die under the mulch, and will eventually create a hard-pack of thick roots that your plants won’t be able to penetrate. Also, the piles of un-composted materials can tie up nutrients and make it hard for your veggies to thrive.

Garden boxes, aka raised beds.
This can be a great way to build gardens quickly, while still maintaining paths and patches of your lawn. Spread a layer of landscape cloth or cardboard on the ground to suppress the grass, and then build boxes in any shape on top. Fill with organic garden soil and you’re ready to plant. This is a great technique for people who have back problems and prefer to garden in beds that are up off the ground. Problems with garden boxes include the continued growth of grass rhizomes, as I mentioned above with sheet mulching. Also, the soil in the boxes gets stale over time and will need to be replaced and/or amended. Garden boxes also tend to decay and fall apart over time, and will need to be repaired.

Roto-tilling (or hand-digging).
By far the most effective way for permanently removing your lawn is to dig off the top layer of grass and then till up the soil underneath. This presents a blank slate for designing your garden layout, and new plants will be able to send deep roots into the ground. Tilling can be problematic, however, if you have lots of rocks or toxic soil. Tilling also disrupts micro-communities in the soil, so it’s important to mulch over the new beds with good organic matter. Once you’ve tilled and established a garden, you probably won’t need to till again as long as you maintain the garden and keep the remnants of grass roots from re-establishing themselves.

Does it have to be in the front yard?

Of course not! In my opinion, the transformation of any lawn to a garden is always a good thing. However, growing food in the front yard becomes a statement to your community, telling them that you value homegrown food. Front yard gardens invite community dialogue, and bring fellow gardeners in the neighborhood out of the woodwork. Front yard gardens can also provoke complaints from the neighbors, however, so follow these four basic guidelines to help ensure those neighborly reactions are positive:

1. Be creative. Spend some time designing a garden that is beautiful and unique. Get some books on edible ornamentals and create a landscape people will see as a work of art.

2. Be consistent. Don’t let the front yard get overgrown and unsightly. Keep up with weeding, mulching and pruning. Be ruthless with dead and diseased plants. If your energy for gardening wanes, scale back your plans and only grow what you can maintain.

3. Be charitable. Offer surplus produce, plants and seeds to your neighbors. Invite them to share in the harvest and offer to help them with their garden ideas. Neighbors who value you as a friend are much less likely to cause problems.

4. Be considerate. Understand that not everyone in your neighborhood will be as excited about growing food as you are. Don’t leave piles of soil or cardboard in the driveway for weeks on end. Consider their needs and they will consider yours.

I’m overwhelmed! Do I have to rip out the whole lawn?

Not at all. In fact I recommend starting small. Remove a section of the lawn and plant a little bit of food or a herb spiral. Or remove the lawn around the edges and plant an edible hedge of raspberries and currants. Or just carve out a few circular spots and plant some peaches and figs. These small changes will provide a delicious inspiration for you and your neighbors, and when the time is right to take out the rest of the lawn, you’ll be ready!

p.s. You’re invited to be a part of a whole new kind of online permaculture course, taught by more than 40 women from 13 countries.

Want to learn more, post your pics, and get/give garden advice? Check out our Facebook group

Heather Jo Flores is the author of Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, and a co-founder of the original Food Not Lawns organization in Eugene, Oregon in 1999. She lives in Spain, where she spends her time managing a Mediterranean Food Forest and teaching online workshops for women writers.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

All About Aronia: Grow Your Own Superfood Berries

Ready to grow your own superfood? Aronia shrubs are low-maintenance, widely adaptable to a variety of conditions, and yield a ‘superfood’ berry. Learn more.

The post All About Aronia: Grow Your Own Superfood Berries appeared first on Tenth Acre Farm.


Monday, January 21, 2019

How to Learn Permaculture for Free, a handy guide by Heather Jo Flores, author of Food Not Lawns and director of the Permaculture Women’s Guild

learn permaculture for free
 My goal with the #freepermaculture project is to give people access to the resources I wish had been available when I first started learning permaculture, way back in the 1990’s. We didn’t have much in the way of internet then, and Facebook hadn’t even been invented yet. So we used the library and good old fashioned hands-on trial and error to figure stuff out.

If humanity has a snowball’s chance at survival in the coming climate cataclysm, it will be permaculture tools and techniques that get us out of this mess. But we need to get on it, NOW, and it pains me to see finances preventing people from experiencing the joy and fascination that comes with learning permaculture. So I’m doing something about it.

Here you’ll find suggestions for learning permaculture for free, and also for finding ways to fund your permaculture education. I only make suggestions based on what I, myself have done and continue to do.  

I hope you enjoy the work, and thanks for being here,
--Heather Jo

7 ways to learn permaculture for free

Want a PDF version of this entire article? Go here.
1. Enroll in our yearlong online permaculture course. 

Designed specifically for folks who don't have a lot of time or money, this course will give you one bite-sized class per week for a full year, taking you step-by-step through a permaculture design process, focused on your own home, garden, and community. Check it out at Tell all your friends!

2. Read.

I know, this is so obvious. And you already know there are a bunch of amazing permaculture books that you can get at the library. But did you know you can download a ton of excellent reading material, including some full-text PDFs of the best books about permaculture? Ok maybe you know that too. But where do you start? It’s overwhelming. 

To help cut out the noise, I’ve selected a handful of super-value texts to get you started.  

3. Form a study group.

Food Not Lawns was born out of the “Sustainable Horticulture” study group we had going at our house in Eugene. We met up every week and discussed texts--like a book club, but with more dirt! We often had our meetings in somebody’s garden, where we could discuss ideas while pulling weeds. Stacking functions! Now that we have the internet, there are so many excellent study groups online. Again, it’s overwhelming, and some of the Facebook permaculture groups aren’t really that helpful.  (In fact, as bizarre as it seems, several of the largest Facebook permaculture groups are run by internet trolls, unfortunately! So be careful!)  

Here are the ones I recommend (and help moderate!) 

4. Find a local mentor.
If there is someone in your community whose work you admire, approach them and volunteer to help. We can learn so much from help each other, and through respecting and seeking out the wisdom of our elders. 

And, if you are are a wise elder, consider looking for an young’un to pass your skills on to. 

Maybe you know alot about something besides permaculture, but you want to learn permaculture? How about setting up a skillshare with somebody? 

Most of the permaculture teachers I know LOVE doing exchanges like this. If you can’t think of anyone in your own area, start hanging out at the farmer’s market. Or, check out our faculty and see if one of those folks inspires you to reach out. 

5. Trial and error. 

This one is obvious too, but it cannot be overstated. You can take a dozen expensive design courses and still have no idea what you’re talking about. You have to get out there and start designing! Beyond designing, it’s important that you get dirty and do some serious implementation. Only through years of hard-won experiential knowledge will you ever truly master the fine art and science of permaculture design. 

The good news is, implementing permaculture design projects is pretty much the funnest thing ever! The #freepermaculture blog is packed full of hands-on ideas to help you find new ways to get your hands dirty with permaculture.

6. Raise funds in your community to do a Permaculture Design Certification Course together.

In 2001 the Food Not Lawns collective raised enough money to pay Toby Hemenway and Jude Hobbs to teach a permaculture course for our whole neighborhood. It wasn’t very hard to raise up the money, and the results were completely awesome. 

Ok, I know this whole article is supposed to be about learning permaculture without having to attend an expensive design course. And I’m a very critical, skeptical person myself. But I have to say, a good permaculture design course, taught by knowledgeable people who have taken the time to learn not just how to do permaculture but also how to teach it...well it can completely change your life. 

And there are ways to pay for it. I’ve known tons of students who did a gofundme with friends and family to come up with tuition money, offering the reward of teaching free workshops to funders afterwards. 

Others, like myself, leveraged existing community projects to get funding from the local municipality. Back in 2001, after two years of being super visible and growing gorgeous gardens all over the neighborhood, Food Not Lawns got a grant from the City of Eugene to pay Jude Hobbs and Toby Hemenway to do a 72-hour certification course for myself and twenty neighbors. It was awesome!

Most cities have little bits of funding for stuff like this, and if you frame it right, you can raise money to hire top-quality teachers and still be able to offer training for free to yourself and your friends. 

What I am saying is: think outside the box! 

You’re a designer now, you can do this. 

That being said, I recognize that not everybody has access to the time and resources to attend a PDC, regardless of the cost. Not everybody can get ten whole days (plus travel time) to go to an immersion course.  

So, just in case you didn’t already know, I’ve collaborated with 40 women to create a low-cost, go at your own pace online permaculture design course that includes an extra certification in advanced social systems design. 

We offer the entire first module for free, PLUS, we offer discounts for survivors of abuse and for women of color, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support and want to get serious about becoming a certified permaculture designer. 

7. Write for the #freepermaculture blog.

As I mentioned, our blog is a hub of skills, resources, and information, brought to you by a collaboration of some of the brightest minds in the movement, and it might just help save the world. 

And, as you learn, what better way to solidify your knowledge than by writing about your experiments?!? 

We’d love to feature you on our blog and get to know you better through your designs. So, if you fancy yourself a writer, come on! And if you already have your own blog, I’d love to do a guest post there as well.

Also, connect with me directly if you’d like to do a writing work-trade for a partial tuition waiver in our online permaculture design course.

And check out this program for Permaculture Women Writers. It’s not free, but it’s focused on helping you turn your garden writing into a cash crop!

P.S. Does the idea of writing for publication terrify you? 
If it helps, I can share that when I wrote Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, I had never published a single article! And honestly, sometimes I cringe when I read my writing in that old book (it was published back in ‘06), but it has changed a lot of people’s lives and empowered them to grow food and build community, so I am glad I pushed through the apprehension and just shared what I had with the world. And now that I’ve spent the last 13 years honing my professional skills as a writer, we’re doing a new revised edition! It’s due out in Spring 2021.

Alrighty? I hope that’s enough to keep you busy, and if not, then check out more resources for learning permaculture for free, right here.
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