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Permaculture with Community Gardeners and a neighborhood

  • Subject: [cg] Permaculture with Community Gardeners and a neighborhood
  • From: Sharon Gordon <gordonse@one.net>
  • Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 09:55:31 -0400

One of the Permaculture teachers Toby Hemenway, recently posted about doing a
Permaculture Design Course within one neighborhood which also
included the neighborhood's community garden.  It could help a community garden
to design the basic site to take advantage of permaculture techniques.
And then for community gardens to use more of the urban permaculture
design techniques and/or some biointensive techniques in their individual
plots.  Toby's post about working with this neighborhood/garden is
posted with his permission.

Subject: Re: Invisible Structures
From: Toby Hemenway <hemenway@jeffnet.org>
To: "permaculture" <permaculture@franklin.oit.unc.edu>


As for implementing what's learned in a course, Jude Hobbs and I just
finished teaching an urban PDC over a number of weekends (I know Jude has
her own stories to tell about this course, too). What was unusual here was
that participants were all drawn from one low-income neighborhood in Eugene,
Oregon (the Whiteaker, which is where the anarchist "black blocs" of WTO and
other protests came from). A group of radical ag people, "Food Not Lawns,"
got a big grant from the city of Eugene that covered the course's expenses
(which I consider a miracle of organizing) so Jude and I could be paid,
while keeping the tuition for the 72 hour course at $40 (that's forty, not a
typo). Some people couldn't afford even that, so they did trades.
It felt different from anything I'd ever taught. Since all the participants
were from the same neighborhood, many of them knew each other (which has its
good and bad points; one romance broke up just before the course). We did
hands-on projects at nearby houses, helped with a children's garden theater
show in a local park, worked in a community garden, and did the design
project at participants' homes, one of which was a housing co-op with over
20 residents. The course was upstairs from an organic food store and next to
a restaurant, so our constant snack and coffee purchases went right into the
local economy. The worst part for me was avoiding the heroin needles while
we were weeding the store's yard. Another high-point was the loud,
falling-down drunk but very bright woman visitor during an outdoor demo. One
day a local man saw us all walk down the street with shovels and he yelled,
"I don't know what you're doing, but I'm really glad to see you do it!"
The invisible structures part of the course we also did differently from
usual. Jude and one of the participants worked out a visioning exercise to
plan for the short- and long-term future of the neighborhood, and that
really helped draw the course together. We had a local community activist,
Tom Atlee, in to lead a discussion. We also worked a lot on concrete
problems of the neighborhood: single parenting, transient visitors,
designing local sustainable businesses.
The key element was the grant, which made it possible to draw students from
a single neighborhood. There is, at least in the US, a tremendous amount of
grant money available for low-income projects, and this is an avenue well
worth pursuing. Obviously, we don't know about the long-term effects of the
course in Whiteaker, but the potential is tremendous, with all those new
permies and their projects clustered in a small neighborhood.
Toby

****
More info from Sharon:

The most complete large site book is Permaculture: A Designer's Manual
by Bill Mollison  which can be gotten from Amazon or the Permaculture
Activist http://www.permacultureactivist.net .

Toby Hemenway has a book coming out in June which is focused more
specifically to permaculture in urban and more individual areas called 
Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture  .  There's info about it at
http://www.chelseagreen.com/Garden/GaiasGarden.htm .

On the permaculture list, we asked for more about Toby's book, so he gave us
more detailed info about the chapters :

Here's a little more detail on what's in my new book, Gaia's Garden: A 
Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Though it's oriented toward any 
eco-friendly gardener, there's plenty in it for permaculturists, 
particularly the sections on polycultures, guild design, forest gardening 
and assembling a whole-systems garden. It's 240 pages, has plenty of tables 
of useful plants, is well illustrated, and has an appendix listing several 
hundred useful species. Several instructors have said they're going to use 
as their textbook. It will be available in June, and can be ordered now 
from The Permaculture Activist or from
http://www.chelseagreen.com/Garden/GaiasGarden.htm

GAIA¹S GARDEN: A GUIDE TO HOME-SCALE PERMACULTURE By Toby Hemenway

FOREWORD by John Todd

Part One: THE GARDEN AS ECOSYSTEM

1. INTRODUCING THE ECOLOGICAL GARDEN
Gardens that Really Work with Nature
Why Is Gardening So Much Work?
Beyond‹Way Beyond‹Natural Gardening
The Natives versus Exotics Debate
Making the Desert Bloom, Sustainably
How to Use This Book
Sidebar: What Is Permaculture?

2. A GARDENER'S ECOLOGY
Three Ecological Principles
A Mature Garden
A Few of Nature's Tricks for Gardeners
Sidebar: Do Plant Communities Really Exist?

3. DESIGNING THE ECOLOGICAL GARDEN
The Ecological Design Process
Natural Patterns in the Garden
The Edge Effect
Sidebar: Some Pear Tree Connections
Sidebar: A Summary: Designing the Ecological Garden
Sidebar: Building and Planting a Keyhole Bed

Part Two: THE PIECES OF THE ECOLOGICAL GARDEN

4. BRINGING THE SOIL TO LIFE
Soil Life: The First Recyclers
Building Soil Life
Sharing the Wealth of the Soil
Sidebar: Woody Ways to Build Soil
Sidebar: The Ultimate, Bomb-proof Sheet Mulch
Sidebar: Starting Plants in Sheet Mulch

5. CATCHING, CONSERVING, AND USING WATER
The Fivefold Path to Water Wisdom
Conserving Water with Catchment
Water Brings the Garden to Life
Sidebar: How to Make a Swale
Sidebar: Planning a Water-Harvesting System
Sidebar: Tips for Using Graywater
Sidebar: Creating a Backyard Wetland

6. PLANTS FOR MANY USES
The Many Roles of a Tree
Multipurpose Plants
The Roles of Plants in the Ecological Theater
Annuals and Perennials
Microclimates for the Garden
Nurses, Scaffolds, and Chaperones
Summary: Mixing the Many Functions of Plants
Sidebar: Weeds and Other Wild Food

7. BRINGING IN THE BEES, BIRDS, AND OTHER HELPFUL ANIMALS
More Good Buys than Bad
Attracting Beneficial Insects
The Gardener's Feathered Friends
Other Backyard Helpers
Sidebar: A Gallery of Beneficial Insects

Part Three: ASSEMBLING THE ECOLOGICAL GARDEN

8. CREATING COMMUNITIES FOR THE GARDEN
Interplanting and Beyond
Guilding the Garden
Sidebar: lanto Evans's Polyculture
Sidebar: Jajarkot s Advanced Polyculture
Sidebar: Growing the Three Sisters Guild

9. DESIGNING GARDEN GUILDS
An Intimate Way of Guild-Building
Guilds for Bookworms
Creating a Super-Guild
Guilds Aren't Perfect
Sidebar: Using Natural Plant Communities to Guide Guild Design

1O. GROWING A FOOD FOREST
Experimenting with Forest Gardens
The Seven-Story Garden
How the Food Forest Evolves
Sidebar: A Brief History of Forest Gardens

11. POP GOES THE GARDEN
Choosing the Right Pieces
The Garden Gets Popping
Assembling the Garden Revisited
Sidebar: Ecological Compromises, or You Can't Make an Omelet . . .

Appendix: A Sampling of Useful Plants
Glossary
Bibliography
Resources
Index

******
To go along with the Permaculture books, I(Sharon here again) find several 
other books
very helpful with planning and growing the annual food crops in particular.
For planning a complete diet and growing it in a sustainable manner I find
One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in Less than 1000 square feet
by David Duhon to be helpful along with How to Grow More Vegetables
Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine,
5th ed by John Jeavons to be helpful.  (Note that Permaculturists and
Biointensive Gardeners differ on the strategy of double digging, but
otherwise the strategies often work together well).  An additional
book that helps is Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman which helps
with designing  a garden that produces year round fresh food.  Coleman does
this even in the far north of the US where there is a great deal of snow.
All three of these books can be gotten from Bountiful Gardens
http://www.bountifulgardens.org

Sharon
gordonse@one.net




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