We Grow From Here's Blog

A Community Garden Project


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Please Help Fund Our “CSD” Scholarship Fund!

What’s a “CSD”?  Community Supported Design – at We Grow From Here, we don’t just start gardens–we also educate people on how to

  • Create their own edible landscapes;
    • Learn how to grow small green businesses;
      • Practice natural building skills; and
        • Earn their PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate).

In order to make our classes accessible to as many as possible and still cover costs, we are building a scholarship fund–one which will be available for partial scholarships to any of our classes.

While we encourage anyone wishing to attend one of our workshops to create their own “CSD” campaign, there are those who have limited computer access and/or skills, therefore we wish to be able to offer the option of doing a partial scholarship/worktrade, which is what this fund will be used for.

The amount is based on the number of students inquiring about scholarships and worktrade openings for our two current offerings:  The Cob Building Series, and  ‘Design Your Own Foodscape‘ PDC course.  We hope to build this fund into an ongoing pool of funds to make our courses available to anyone in the community!

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On the Radio: WMNF Sustainable Living and Alternative Health Show

Listen to my ‘plug’ for justice here:   Making Our Living Spaces Greener

Please come to the courthouse on August 8th at 8:30 AM to show your support for “Food Not Lawns”, and whether you can make it in person or not, please sign the petition:  Support Statewide Recognition of Permaculture Design Certificates 

Bee HappytatRead the history here:  Casa Seranita

 


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The Home of Serenity

It’s 4:24 AM, and I’ve been awake since before 3AM, pondering life, the nearly full moon, and the phenomenon of the mouthguard which refuses to stay in my mouth while I sleep.  Mostly, only on nights such as this one, when, try as I might, I cannot meditate away the monkeys chattering in my brain, sleep eludes me and knashing of teeth disturbs what little rest I find.  My teachers tell me that this is all an illusion, the ‘problems’, the conflicts which seem to manifest as physical realities are, in fact, a reflection of my own mind, and I believe them—I do.  I pray for peace, knowing that when my mind is still, the world is not such a bad place.  And yet, I fret.

Yesterday, (which is now last week, since I failed to finish this post until now), I found myself thrown into chaos by the receipt of three pieces of paper.  These innocuous forms, printed in triplicate, state that I am, according to the County in which I reside, the county that I am the fourth generation of my family to own property, work and pay taxes in, a criminal.  My great-grandparents would be proud, would they not?

Alfred and Maggie moved to the County of Pinellas in 1962, a year after I was born, right around the same time that we were returning from Germany, where my father was stationed and where I was born on an Army base.  Alfred and Maggie were modest people, shopkeepers from upstate New York who moved South, as many did and still do, to enjoy their golden years in sunshine.  They had grapefruit trees, which Maggie would climb a ladder to tend into her nineties.

Maggie had one son, and he and his wife, retired schoolteachers, built their home in the then-new neighborhood in which I have lived longer than any other place in over fifty years—in 1972, theirs was one of 29 homes built, to add to the 135 built since 1958.  In 1977, they helped my mother purchase a house one block over, when her marriage and the transient life of the military, ended.  This house is the one which is now known as ‘Casa Seranita’:  the home of elusive serenity–for my mother Anita, until her early demise in 2001.  This is the property which the County has deemed inappropriate for use as a teaching facility or a demonstration garden.  This is the home of two citations for misconduct earning me an appearance in court next month.  The criminal courthouse, where I have been only once in over thirty years to serve for jury duty, is seven miles from where the prior three generations of my family are all buried.  I am as close to a Florida ‘Native’ as most white folks can be—my daughter was even born in Tampa.

Why so much detail on local family history?  Because, for nearly as long as I have lived, at least one family member has been paying property and sales taxes in Pinellas County.  That’s over fifty years and thousands of dollars per year.  I personally have owned and paid taxes on not just one, but five properties in the past ten years alone.  That is quite a sum, all told.  Certainly more than I have paid for anything else, other than mortgages–and it has bought me, not appreciation, but criminal justice.

I could spend a lot of time pondering the ‘why’s of this situation, and I have—questions like “Why is it necessary to make citizens feel like criminals, or to treat them as if they are, when the infraction is pretty much a difference in opinion about what a yard should look like?” Here, we live in a state where the water tables are in such peril that a dry spell causes sinkholes to swallow homes, and where the contingency plan for salt water intrusion is, well, that it will—intrude, that is.  And yet, those of us who choose to educate not only ourselves, but others as well, on such “Florida Friendly” practices as rain water catchment, conservative water usage, and Xeriscaping are often labeled as some kind of pariah?

Justice, indeed.  We shall see whether there is any such thing, on August 8th, 2014.  Please, do come along, and let your voice be heard—I certainly intend to share my feelings, along with graphs, charts, petitions, photos…perhaps an example or an attorney or two!

jailbird

 

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Cultivating Community:  The 2nd Annual Florida Permaculture Convergence

Category            Social Permaculture

 

The very first thing which comes to my mind post-convergence is this now-famous quote:  “The map is not the territory”, after months and months of meeting and planning and discussing and deliberating, we pulled it off—a ‘more mature’ event than the first—a progression down the path to mapping and connecting our community.   And what a community!  Holy cow, as I go through, card by card, the results of the Regional Roundup (yes, actually—I did in fact volunteer for this honor, as oftentimes this sorting and compiling is somewhat soothing.  Must be those 20 years in accounting, I dunno.)   I am amazed, yet again, at the extraordinary glimpse of the underbelly of this State such a gathering allows.  We are more diverse…stronger, hardier, and far more connected than we know.  Aho.  (Yes, I meant that to rhyme, yet another oddity.)

As in virtually every permaculture gathering, it rained.  It didn’t just rain, in fact—the deluge on opening day Friday was such that it, no doubt, kept many arrivals from happening that day.  The 2 – 2½  hour trip it should have been for me turned out to be five hours, most of it at a jerking, clunking, sputtering 35 miles an hour—the truck does not like rain.  The soaked, shivering, dripping bunch in the registration tent when I arrived were so reminiscent of Cuba that I immediately felt at home.  There is something about the state of discomfort, that once it has been reached—that’s it–there you are.

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Sandhill Farm

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We easily managed to cobble together 20 or so people for a tour of a local tiny eco-home, with its amazing array of fruit trees and organic and biodynamic methodology.  The area surrounding Crooked Lake on the Lake Wales Ridge is an awe-inspiring pocket of diversity, and both Hunter and Linda, our hosts for the tour, really know their history, so the tour was quite the treat!

The rest of the weekend went pretty much the same way—nothing quite as planned, perhaps, yet still rich with the compost of the community already formed.  To say the event was ‘enriching’ would be an understatement—it truly was cultural cultivation.  We could not have chosen a more fortunate spot for this gathering–H.E.A.R.T. is not only one of the best examples of permaculture principles and applied ethics in Florida, it is also located in one of the most diverse regions.

officerfriendlyAnd, now I must digress into the realm of Pinellas County authorities, and “Officer Unfriendly”—the harsh glare of reality outside of those happy permie, weed-infested weekends.  Because, no matter that I have taken great care to remain under the radar, regardless of my hours upon hours (upon hours and hours) of back-breaking labor and uncharacteristically pleasant and neighborly demeanor… ‘the man’ is after me.   Because I chose to share my journey with the public, and divulged such things as the (extra four) loads of mulch I had to scramble to deal with, once Pasco County deemed my yard their new favorite dumping ground.  Because I like to experiment with designs, such as combining my freestanding water colleBee Happytatction and hopefully graceful, artistic structure with a Warka, now used in Ethiopia for village water collection, miles from other potable water sources.  Because I like to share my findings with other like-minded people in the community.  Because my yard(s) do not look like cookie-cutter manicured, chemical-laden, water-sucking, bee-hating landscapes—I get to take my time to pay a visit to the County courthouse, to apply in retrospect for permits for dirt which has been used, and for structures and cultivation which no one has complained about.  Yes, this is a rant, because I chose to invite the public in, thinking that if only they knew what I was about, that the whole idea is about helping people (People Care), and saving the planet (Earth Care), that ‘they’ could not possibly choose to stop me, and even if they did try, they would not succeed.  So much for thinking.

As was said at the convergence—in my intro to the keynote speaker panel, I compared this group of permies–not as ditch-diggers, ‘in the trenches’–but as a swale, the event on the whole was very swale-like, an appropriate application of a design technology for the purpose of slowing down, absorbing, and creating an absorbent layer of material, which all of us have access to.  The panel participants have been at it here, in this state, for anywhere from one to ten years, and there are those not present who have been at it twice as long.  One might think we’d have re-charged the aquifers by now, but there are forces, still, running contrary to our ‘Mother Nature’.  The greatest of these forces is not, as one might think, “The Man”, but is ignorance.  It is the sheer weight of mis-information fed to the masses every day, the tick-tock sleepytime lull of our society’s metronome and mantras:  “get a job”, “pay the bills”, “sit still”, “mind your manners, ”be good, Johnny”…”clean your plate”.  Nobody warned us (ok, a few did), that our plates were heaped with poison.

It should come as no great surprise to those who know me that I have taken on the task of undermining such acceptance of “ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise”, when said folly leads us to…well, pretty much where we are, on this planet.  I’ve pretty much had it, in fact—for one who does not believe in terminology or strategies of war, this uphill battle has become, for me, much as I remember the battlefield of Gettysburg—over a century later, the stink and despair hang over the place like a dark cloud of carrion birds.  So, my mentor Dave Jacke says:  “…instead of focusing only on the size of our footprint, we need to increase our handprint”  [paraphrased].  I will not share my evil visualizations of how one might just go about increasing ones’ handprint, flapping and jazz hands notwithstanding.  It is encouraging to know, to be in the company of others who know, that the future lies, not in the hands of those who have already done so much damage, but in our own hands.  The simple act of being in the presence of, granted, a very small percentage of the population, but one which is growing daily—less than half of our 200 or so attendees this year were also part of the 200 last year—is an indication of the hidden masses underlying this great, green iceberg.  Or, perhaps a tree is an even better metaphor, as our glaciers are melting, because over half of the body of trees and many other plants, is below the ground.  Like mycelium, the invisible structures we are forming through these convergences are creating a tightly woven web of inter-connectionThe basic idea, and evidence from our experience…is that as people feel more connected and aligned, the thought of collective action becomes that much more inviting and its potential impact that much greater and longer lasting.”  The more people I meet and converse with from these connections, the more I hear how good it is to have someone to talk to who “gets it”.   These connections are now forming on a very basic, root level—deep, shallow, or broadscale.  As we continue to grow, as a community, and as each of us individually takes a look at our own inner landscapes, and whether that design serves us—the entire ecosystem will mature, revealing the natural, inherent design.  Eventually, the hope and design is that this polyculture will eventually sort itself into guilds—true, needs-and-yields based design, where the overall stress to each component – what Dave calls ‘resource partitioning’, in which cooperation is essential, and competition minimized.

In people systems, this requires a high level of self-actualization from the individual components—again, the requirement here is that each person does, has done, and continues on a regular basis to do the work on his or her own inner landscape.  Unless we understand what our own needs really are, we can’t hope to become enmeshed in a highly developed system based on needs and yields.  This process cannot happen, outside of a community, which is what is at the core of the current PDC certificate debate—many feel that “permaculture is a design science”, therefore can be taught virtually.  I believe that the environment of the digital age is very efficient for delivering the bulk of the informational goods, and it completely ignores the majority of what makes this study a ‘culture’, and not a ‘science’ alone.  Culture does not occur in a vacuum, and we cannot effectively teach or learn the components of social permaculture unless we spend time in a group with other people (uncomfortable though that may be, at times!).  So…when would now be a good time to get out there and learn some, hands on, with some other like-minded people?

 

© Loretta Buckner, 2014, We Grow From Here

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Loretta Buckner and WeGrowFromHere.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Resources:

Thomas Gray “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College”

scold’s bridle

Why Networks for Social Change?   “Thinking in terms of networks can enable us see with new eyes.”

– Harold Jarche

2nd Annual Florida Permaculture Convergence

P.I.N.A.

H.E.A.R.T.

 


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Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Category            Permaculture Principles

‘Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be’

This is the last post in this series, and if you have read them all you, too, may have seen the progression in my vision, because I have indeed grown over the course of this endeavor—both as a writer and a permaculture designer.  And that is the essence of this last principle:  you don’t know what you don’t know, until you find out.  Design science is all about vision—all about taking what ‘is’ and creating something else, first in your mind, then in reality.

I can tell you from experience—the reality isn’t always what you pictured, often it is very different, which is why adaptability is so important.  If you set out, as a designer, with the goal of ‘just so’, you will fail—because nature doesn’t work that way, and none of us can predict all possible outcomes.  Our job is to go slow and adjust the design as new factors present.  In Essence of Permaculture, Holmgren states:

“The adoption of successful innovation in communities often follows a pattern similar to ecological succession in nature. Visionary and obsessive individuals often pioneer the solutions, but it generally requires more influential and established leaders to take up the innovation before it is widely seen as appropriate and desirable. Generational change is sometimes necessary for radical ideas to be adopted but this can be accelerated through the influence of school education on the home environment.”

As a second-generation organic farmer, I believe that what we are seeing is just that generational change—really no more than a re-adoption of prior practices, but as a country, the ‘wingnuts’ of our parents’ generation are now the elders of ours, and these are the ones—the baby boomers, who can easily cause a shift to happen, if they choose to be so inspired.  It happens through patience, perseverance, and passion—which means education, and commitment.  We can plant all the trees and feed all the people, and just as “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” until the changes in thinking happen on a broad scale, the system will continue to collapse—over, and over again.  Which is what we have been seeing, in the past 50 years, perhaps more—those in power sway the masses with propaganda, or simply distract them with some kind of conflict elsewhere.  This pattern has repeated itself again and again throughout history–the whacked-out visionaries lead the charge, and whether or not their intentions are good, the design is not, therefore the system falls into conflict and chaos again.  Complacency is the bane of change, and the lifeblood of corruption.

chaos

Permaculture teaches us that chaos isn’t all that bad—from chaos comes order—it is part of the pattern, it’s just not a very comfortable place to be.  It is, however, a very creative place to be—after all, how many tidy artists do you know?   OK, maybe a few—but it’s usually that they are partnered with a neat freak.  Creation is messy, whatever art form it takes.  So, why not embrace a little chaos once in a while?

May I inquire after your precuneous?  How dare I, you say?  This part of the brain, finely tuned by such creative activities as, dare I say–writing–fires up in ‘creative cognition’, and in some folks, it does not shut down… ever heard ‘there is a fine line between genius and insanity’?  That could very well be the pernicious precuneous:

“For most people, this area of the brain only lights up at restful times when one is not focusing on work or even daily tasks. For writers and creatives, however, it seems to be constantly activated. Fink’s hypothesis is that the most creative people are continually making associations between the external world and their internal experiences and memories. They cannot focus on one thing quite like the average person. Essentially, their stream of ideas is always running — the tap does not shut off — and, as a result, creative people show schizophrenic, borderline manic-depressive tendencies. Really, that’s no hyperbole. Fink found that this inability to suppress the precuneus is seen most dominantly in two types of people: creatives and psychosis patients.”  Cody Delisraty in Human Parts (The Depressing Downside of Creative Genius)

Tell that to these guys:

 Octo-3MainAlexGrey

OCTO3 Anthony Howe

Alex Grey TEDx talk:  “Cosmic Creativity:  how art evolves consciousness”

Yes, if you must ask, I have been feeling a little ‘unhinged’ lately—It does not help that two of he kes on m keboard quie suddenl and with no good reason sopped working, and he are wo of he mos commonly-used letters—“t” and “y”.  You would not believe what I had to go through to coax those just then, or the gyrations I must perform to fill in the blanks as I type.  Not fun, no—not at all.

Thank you, Universe, for providing me with yet another opportunity to unleash my creativity in response to change.

 

Read the Series:

Introduction:  ”Unplugging”

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from patterns to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

 

© Loretta Buckner, 2014, We Grow From Here

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Loretta Buckner and WeGrowFromHere.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 


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Use Edges and Value the Marginal

Category            Permaculture Principles

‘Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well-beaten path’

This was just too good not to share, from “Essence of Permaculture”, Holmgren:

Eastern spiritual traditions and martial arts regard peripheral vision as a critical sense that connects us to the world quite differently to focused vision.  Whatever is the object of our attention, we need to remember that it is at the edge of anything – system or medium, that the most interesting events take place; design that sees edge as an opportunity rather than a problem is more likely to be successful and adaptable. In the process, we discard the negative connotations associated with the word “marginal” in order to see the value in elements that only peripherally contribute to a function or system.in rural development work, the focus on staple crops, prime agricultural land and clearly articulated aims and values within communities frequently leads to undervaluing, ignorance and destruction of wild species, marginal spaces, along with the less visible needs of women, the disadvantaged and the landless.”

Oh, those edges…I’ve looked at edges from both sides now…and whether the margins be brambled forest or concrete jungle, this is indeed where the juicy stuff happens.  The mere mention of ‘weeds’ is enough to cause many a stalwart, upright human to bend and resemble our knuckle-dragging cousins.  Is this genetic?  I suppose I’ve been a hippie too long, because I see nothing wrong with a few green things ‘out of place’, and in fact I prefer wild overgrowth to manicured lawn.  And yes, the dirt beneath my broken fingernails is somewhat permanent–that is a fact.  The lack thereof might be more of an indication that something is out of whack.

In Early American Literature we learned that the woods represented ‘the dark side’—the wild and untamed was no-man’s land to the first European settlers in the ‘New World’.  Little did they know that the indigenous people already inhabiting the land had management systems in place, which were quickly encroached upon by the order-seeking Old Worlders.  To those who crave order, natural systems are messy and undesirable, and the ones who thrive in those untidy systems would likely be categorized as ‘marginal’, (just as ‘those dirty hippies’ and ‘Anarchists’ are labeled now).   Our society revels in drawing lines between the ‘middle’ and the edge—exemplified in the massive variety of television programming highlighting the fringe, from cop show, ‘real’ or fictional, to reality programming focusing on everything from hoarders to gun-toting survivalists.

The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, The Scarlet Letter

 HoldSignSND

Who is on the fringe in your world?  Is it Auntie Mabel, of crazy cat lady fame?  Or is it the homeless guy holding the “will work for food” sign on the corner?  In the Florida Bay area we have an entire county of those marginal, fringy types—once a retirement destination, now land of the lost, haven for illicit drug trade—the highway lined with strip malls and strippers—a nutrient-rich soup, for some things.  Many of those who subscribe to permaculture principles would consider themselves as marginal, on a conventional scale, however even those on the fringe have a fringe—the possibilities for edge are everywhere.  And, as any proper queen (edge players, every one) can tell you—you just can’t have too much fringe or froth.  Therein lies one excellent example of ‘edge’ in our world—that of the gender unconventional.  The entire country if not continent has willingly divided on lines of conservative and not-so, based on a book of rules written for a culture thousands of years past.  This is not how species adapt, mind you, but it has proven very effective for filling the coffers of the few, because the way to wealth lies in creating conflict and supplying the war.

Any battleground, however, also grows lots of edges—think of all of the marginal people created by PTSD and war wounds—families torn apart scatter and create new alliances elsewhere.   Those who grew up, as I and my sister did, military brats, moved from place to place without any opportunity to put down solid roots—nothing but edge in our childhood.  This leads to a strong core, adaptability, and also extreme estrangement of any sense of community, outside of family and perhaps others in the same boat.  We’re all marginal, and we have an uncanny ability to find one another in the world—brats like me, and we’re all ‘outsiders’ to some degree.

Like Hester Prynne, heroine of The Scarlet Letter, me might heed the advice of the narrator:

”The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude!  These had been her teachers — stern and wild ones — and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.”

To truly understand and appreciate the marginal, we must walk, and think, and exist for a time, outside the boundaries of what we were raised to be…to believe—that is how to embrace diversity, and value the marginal.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Read the Series:

Introduction:  ”Unplugging”

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from patterns to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

 

© Loretta Buckner, 2014, We Grow From Here

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Loretta Buckner and WeGrowFromHere.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo credit:  Conrad Goulet "Designing Educational Ecosystems", 2014


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Use and Value Diversity

Category            Permaculture Principles

‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’

There is no such thing as a monoculture in nature.  Nowhere on earth, except in places where man has intervened, will you find a single species which is independent of others.  Therefore, my choice for the quote on this one would be, instead:  “No man is an island.”

2014 Class in TN

Photo credit:  Conrad Goulet “Designing Educational Ecosystems”, 2014

My most recent immersion experience in permaculture is the best example I can possibly think of to illustrate this concept, in terms of human interactions, a class with Dave Jacke, Cliff Davis, and thirty or so permaculturists from, literally, around the world.  These are the kinds of experiences leading to the levels of bonding required to create real change, both inner and outer landscape.  Human connection is essential—this is where many efforts get it wrong.  Not only is connection essential, so is diversity—and the more, the better.  The entire philosophy of permaculture is based around the idea that natural systems do not produce mono-crops, and that lack of diversity can and does lead to weakness and ultimately disease of the system and its components.

So, I ask you—if you were a plant, what kind would you be?  There are dynamic accumulators, nitrogen fixers, mycelium, and nectaries.  There are overstory and understory, climbers and ground cover.  Consider carefully, think of what others may or may not have to say about you, in all of your dealings with others…would you be considered a ‘weed’, or ‘invasive’?  Alleleopathic even, carbon sequestering, or are you a pioneer species?  Do you encourage connections, help create diversity in your surroundings, or discourage them?  Are you highly critical of others, or helpful and supportive?   Do you take responsibility for your own welfare and that of others, or do you expect someone else to do ‘the dirty work’?

Read the following, consider the design of a food forest type of garden–take a few moments to really think about it—identify with not just what you want to be, but what history would show, from an impersonal, ego-free perspective.  Please comment, and let me know what part of your social ‘guild’ you feel best suited for.

How to maximize omega diversity in your forest garden.

You may find yourself torn in several directions while selecting species. On the one hand, it is desirable to maximize compositional diversity at the omega level. On the other hand, certain important uses and functions are limited to certain families. Nitrogen fixation is mostly limited to the legumes (Fabales) and certain orders within the rose (Rosales) and beech (Fagales) orders . Specialist nectary plants are generally limited to the Apiaceae, Araliaceae, Saxifragaceae, and portions of the Asteraceae. The great majority of fruit and nut species that can grow in cold climates are in the rose order (Rosales) – in fact, almost a quarter of all species in the Plant Species Matrix are in that order! Thus there is little avoiding the fact that your garden is likely to have heavy representation from these groups of plants.

Beyond this limitation, however, you can make an effort to include as wide a sampling of diversity as possible. Groundcovers, dynamic accumulators, and shelter and nectary plants come from a great diversity of families, and you will find a remarkable range of edibles to choose from as well. When selecting species from the Plant Species Matrix, look up their families in the table below. Keep track of the families, orders, and superorders you are including. Wherever possible, make decisions that maximize diversity. Try to avoid over-dependence on the Rose family in particular, perhaps by substituting persimmons for apples, or one of the edible honeysuckle species for juneberries. We have made an effort to provide you with a diverse assemblage of species to choose from.  (Eric Toensmeier, Maximizing Omega-Level Diversity, 2012)  [“Omegalevel diversity looks at an ecosystem’s diversity at higher levels, measuring a deeper diversity. This ‘deep’ diversity is likely to be the most important contributor of the benefits of compositional diversity. Gardening for omega level diversity (‘kinship gardening’) was developed by Alan Kapular and Olafur Brentmar, and carried forward by David Theodoropoulos.”]

http://permaculturenews.org/2012/08/25/maximizing-omega-level-diversity/

 

We had lots of Mycelium in my class—I consider myself one of those—“humacelium” I like to say.  But am I, really?  Sometimes the mere effort to create connections with people seems to lead to the dissolution of an entire system, after all.

I thought I was encouraging diversity in the random assemblage of persons in my ‘eCo-house’, Casa Seranita.  The important lesson taken from the current outcome, which leads to a dramatic re-design, is that agreement must be established first, along with an understanding of what role each person chooses or brings in by nature.  The inputs do not need to be the same, indeed they can be dramatically different—one person, for instance, may wish to provide only financial support, while others would prefer labor or caretaking.

The important component is that the understanding is there first.  The community cannot thrive or even survive if the components do not have both a full understanding and acceptance of each ones’ expected inputs and impacts on the system as a whole.  There are no islands in people systems—at least, not in sustainable, functional societies.

Rather than continuing to dance around the subject, speaking in vague generalities and using botanical metaphors—here’s what happened:

  • One man, one cat.
    • Two men, one cat.
      • Unknown quantities of undefined genders and one cat.
        • Cat herding.
          • Feral cat herding.
            • Code Violations (one woman).
  • One Cat.

“Casa Seranita is an eCo-housing permaculture demonstration site, now seeking residents (permaculture experience preferred).”

Read the Series:

Introduction:  ”Unplugging”

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from patterns to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

© Loretta Buckner, 2014, We Grow From Here

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