Sunday, February 8, 2009

Update on the Permaculture Workshop Series at Red Clover

*photo taken at the Heathcote Community in the 1970s*

So, I thought I had already posted an announcement about the Urban Permaculture workshop series at the Red Clover Collective, but after a brief scan of my older posts, I think I might have forgot. Sadly, I missed the January workshop "What is an Urban Permaculture Garden?" but there was a ton of great information about permaculture in general, so I don't think I missed out too much.

"Apartment Permaculture," the #2 workshop was a great time. It definitely helped that this past Saturday was one of the first warm-ish days of the year, and I actually took my Raleigh out for a spin for the first time in months (crappy gears be damned). It was my first time visiting the Red Clover house, and I was blown away. It was nice to get over to Waverly (even if I couldn't go to the Farmer's Market in the morning because I have class). In any case there were loaves of bread, chunks of cheese, and pots of coffee waiting for us to arrive, plants were growing, and the walls were painted a robin's egg blue. (I'll have to post a photo of the exterior paint job too- it's gorgeous!)

Karen Stupski from Heathcote led the general discussion, where we talked about general permaculture design theories (for example, allowing one resource such as a tree serve many functions such as providing wood, food, oxygen, ecosystem support, etc.) Of course, I could never even begin to talk about everything we covered, but let's just say it all comes down to one word: sustainability. But of course, if you're even reading this right now, you probably knew that already.

Sweet worksheets were passed around, with a great list of information. In the interest of my tired typing hands, I'm just going to post the overall topics, just to show the variety of information that was covered. Perhaps they will give you some food for thought as to the scope of different permaculture projects.

- Heat resistant plants to grow on a fire escape

- Simple sprouting techniques

- kombucha recipes

- alternative menstrual product services (my personal favorite is the Diva Cup- please ignore the horrible packaging )

There was also quite a bit of talk about engineering the home in a sustainable way (I am so sorry, but I don't have the gentleman's name at hand! He was also from Healthcote.)

For example, we talked about ways of sealing windows to save energy (from DIY curtains to double-paned storm windows) and thinking of different solutions to one problem (such as obtaining water from roof collection and rain barrels, cisterns, and re-using greywater). As you can see, the topic strayed a bit from "Apartment Permaculture" specifically, but I was o.k. about that.

The workshops leaders were wonderful at getting everyone involved. After another quick lesson on vermiculture (yet again I have lost the woman's name), we all went outside to do some hands-on work. I'll have to save the information on that for another time, because I'm sure you're eyes are tired from reading all this, if you've even gotten to this point.

Needless to say, we got to walk around the house and look for insulation improvements, and then we got to make worm bins. Can't wait til I have time to post about those fascinating composting wonders- red wiggler worms! For now though, I'll just post the poem that is due for my class tomorrow, since I was clearly inspired by our grassroot mission:

*Note: this is only a rough draft. I suck at html right now and the format is all wonky...*

Revolution = Cycle

Because no one is coming to save us. We must arm ourselves
with endurance,
assaying the damages, making repairs

Shovel in fist
Pen to page
Needles threaded
Hammer cocked
Fires blazing
Hand outstretched
Gears greased
Gloves on

Bring in the artillery
of our actions, perpetual

Set into motion.

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