We Grow From Here's Blog

A Community Garden Project


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Sustainability, and Beyond

Support:

Synonyms
1, 6. Support, maintain, sustain, uphold all mean to hold up and to preserve. To support is to hold up or add strength to, literally or figuratively: The columns support the roof. To maintain is to support so as to preserve intact: to maintain an attitude of defiance. To sustain a rather elevated word, suggests completeness and adequacy in supporting: The court sustained his claim. Uphold applies especially to supporting or backing another, as in a statement, opinion, or belief: to uphold the rights of a minority. 3. suffer, bear, stand, stomach. 13. sustenance, subsistence, keep.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/support?s=t

In permaculture circles, the term “sustainability” has now become “regenerative”. Those of us who have been striving for sustainability have recognized that the erosion of our natural support systems has reached the critical point. The damage already done is to such an extent that more dramatic measures than simply reinforcing the foundation and refusing to participate in further destruction is no longer enough. Therefore, the processes we now engage in must both repair and sustain: regenerate.

Let’s look at the human body, which naturally deteriorates, like any physical form, over time. Many of us have found that even a lifetime of what were once considered “good” practices is simply not effective in preventing degeneration—that’s just life, right? We are told that this is just aging: “a fact of life”. But is it…really? We know all about cellular regeneration—our entire body replaces itself on a cellular level over and over throughout our lives, and it is the damage we inflict upon ourselves which leads to reproduction of less-than ‘perfect’ new cells. Is it always ‘less-than’, however—or is there potentially a process by which the regeneration can actually improve on the original? When we break a bone, the mending process can create a stronger bone mass, if the body is given enough support during the healing process. Could it be, then, that this process of proper sustenance could also be applied to other human body systems, and beyond that microcosm, to the macrocosm of our big collective body: the Earth?

If we were to consider each of our bodies as individual cells in this larger body, as indeed many spiritual practices tell us “we are all One,” then one way to look at the cells which do damage to the larger body could be considered cancerous. If we were to attack these cancer cells the way in which modern medicine approaches the dis-ease, we would irradiate the entire body in order to kill those cells—much like a nuclear holocaust. Wars are our way of attempting to surgically remove ‘tumors’—all in the name of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’. The conundrum which any soldier surviving battle may relate, however, is that in the course of eradicating the ‘enemy’, he may recognize that his foe is indeed, very much himself—a different form, yet still the same. We are all bodily forms, units in the same system.

Science fiction has even gone to the length of creating ‘them’ as alien life forms—some evil, wicked, destructive, others benevolent, but all, still: Other. Regardless, as we are all cells in some greater system—that is a fact which neither science nor spirituality refutes—the ‘them’ in the universe of possibilities is still us. Shakespeare said “there is nothing new under the Sun”, and we know that this is true, because all new life comes from material which already existed, in some form, prior to the creation of any new body, be it cell, plant, animal, or planet. The system is elegant, a symphony of simplicity in grandiose complexity—it is life.

If we are to support ourselves, our bodies, each other, and our planet, we must first recognize these simple facts—we are, truly, all part of the grand scheme. To sustain the system, we must turn from habitual destruction and focus our energy instead on repair. To regenerate, we must choose to feed rather than starve, to share knowledge, resources, and time. When we choose to value our time equally, when we recognize one another as all part of one body, not only will we be healed, but we will also begin the process of healing our home, with us still a part of it—because Mother Earth has her own ways of dealing with cancerous overgrowth. When a part of the system becomes too greedy and takes up more resources than it gives to the system, it will be undermined in some fashion in order to restore balance.

The theory of the ‘tipping point’ posits that it takes only a minute percentage of the collective to create change on the largest scale. Therefore, if each of us—that is you and I—were to devote one tiny fraction of our attention beyond the daily maintenance of our personal support system to focus on community, the point would be reached virtually in an instant. So, what are you doing today? Got time?

One easy way to focus this energy is in the form of currency known as time banking—an exchange of a valuable commodity often overlooked in our daily existence: Time.

Get involved—join your local timebank, BE the difference.

In the Tampa Bay area, visit TampaBayTime.org for more details—there are events all over each month, one happening this week (see details: Casa Seranita Update – Two Events Coming Up)! Elsewhere, visit Timebanks.org.

Namaste.


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Casa Seranita Update: Two Events Coming up!

March looks to be the month for the winds of change to blow in with a breath of fresh air…no Ides of March here, my friend.

On March 2nd, We Grow From Here and the Tampa Bay Timebank will hold the first official “Barn Garden Raising”, which is the TBT term for a permablitz. In the days of old, barn-raisings were common community events, involving the entire community—from the oldest to the youngest, fit or infirm. They became symbols of the ideology of our young country, one which some of us would like to bring back into common practice.

A barn raising wasn’t just an organized work party, you see, they were truly community events—a chance for families who lived miles apart when transportation wasn’t so efficient to gather and celebrate the creation of something new, because the raising of a barn also meant the birth of a new family in the community. Everyone participated—each to his or her own ability or desire—not only on the swinging of hammers and climbing rafters, but also preparing food, toting water, chasing children, and no doubt a bit of matchmaking occurred.

This event on March 2nd, and the following weekend on March 10th, are opportunities for our young community to come out and get involved—learn a little about permaculture principles, meet some of those who have been practicing this lifestyle for a while, and yes, of course you are welcome to move some dirt! On Saturday the 2nd, beginning around 10 AM, we will be setting up the actual design of the permaculture-inspired community garden site, which is primarily the backyard all the way to Klosterman Rd. There will also be a community garage sale happening in Baywood Village, so attendees are advised to park on the North side of Klosterman Rd. behind the house, and to bring anything they want to get rid of to throw on the community sale tables, located on the driveway n front of the house. There will be plenty of shopping opps as well, so if you’re brave, bring your wallet as well. Rakes, shovels, pitchforks, wheelbarrows and any other dirt-moving equipment will be needed, and gloves and sunscreen advised.

For those who have yet to be introduced to the concept of time-banking, we will break at noon for some lunchtime sharing, at which time all of those who have been involved will have the opportunity to share their experiences with others who may not be familiar (hint: bring a friend, or three!). Lunch is potluck—bring a dish if you can—Casa will provide some snacks and beverages for a small number of attendees otherwise. Timebank members are also encouraged to submit any projects of their own which they wish to organize an event such as this one around—We Grow From Here will be helping to organize ongoing ‘barn raising’ and ‘quilting bee’ events for the Timebank and surrounding communities.

March 10th: Casa Seranita Grand Opening

Our first educational “Learn & Earn” event will take place on Sunday the 10th, beginning at 1PM (to give you time to make it to the Tarpon springs Sunday Market first!), we will have a series of presentations by local permculturists and timebankers, on subjects ranging from Florida gardening to nutrition, upcycling, well-being, wildcrafting, a seed swap and more! Timebank members may attend in exchange for hours, and presenters may earn hours for facilitating discussions. This is a non-monetary event, so there is no fee to attend for the community-at-large, however donations of needed garden equipment, plants, seeds, etc. are encouraged, as are additions to our newly-forming tool bank.

Check back for the list of presenters and facilitators, and if you have something you’d like to share, please contact Loretta@wegrowfromhere.com to be added to the roster. The schedule of events will be posted on the website a week before the event.  So far, we have interactive workshops planned for:

  • Worm bins
  • Backyard chickens
  • Market Gardening
  • Upcycle Wizardry
  • Timebanking/Alternative Currency
  • Garden Art
  • Digestive Wellness and Your Diet
  • The Kinder Garden
  • Permaculture Design 1.01
  • Seed Swap
  • Drum Circle

And I’d REALLY like someone to do fermentation…kombucha…canning (I can do canning, but…)  ;^)


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Mulch Ado About Mulching, or: Making Molehills out of Mountains

There is an argument, in Permie circles, about whether it is ‘permissible’ to use powered machinery to get the job done.

Highest and best would, no doubt, be 100% petroleum free…but, my back would beg to differ here. See, I’ve got eight 15 cubic yard loads of mulch to spread, and while it’s great exercise and all, this is a pretty daunting task. Yoga has taught me great patience, that is so—and yet, this part of the job is preventing progress on everything else, or so it seems.

Enter (Timebank) friend, who offers a gas-powered mulcher. Oh, “heck ya!”, she thinks: this noisy creature will make short work of those piles, maybe even two tasks at once, moving AND grinding into useful dirt! Well, not so much—not without a few clever modifications, anyway—I’m all about removing steps, particularly those which require repetitive bending or loading and unloading. I do have extensive experience in the field of “back-breaking”—thus, the daily yoga practice.

So, gas-powered: not ideal, however (here’s where she’ll justify her heart out), the amount of gas required to munch up all of those mountains will be far less than the amount it takes to drive to the other end of the county and back, once. I know some people who do that every day, to go to jobs they despise! (Not that I am condoning it—I am not.) I think that the formula should be something to the effect of: “If the time and effort (including bed rest required post-back-breaking) required to complete a task without the use of machinery is greater than the sum total of time, gas (including the gas it takes to bring the machine to the job), and other inputs: Use the Machine. This, by the way, is an example of “true cost accounting”—if you are unfamiliar with the term, it is something we use in permaculture, and which the corporate machine avoids like the plague it is—plague, that is, to their business model. Try calculating in the cost of countless lives wasted in filthy factories, of working conditions so bad that in this country we wouldn’t (knowingly) subject them to our animals. Ah, but we do—this is the true cost of shopping, for instance, at Wal-Mart. It may save you gas, because it’s so conveniently located at every major intersection, it may seem to save you money, if you are the disciplined sort of individual who can walk past the endless end-caps of enticement—but the true cost is factored on everything which has gone into every single item in the store, as well as the people who work and shop there.

Another one of my favorites to run through the “true cost” calculator is garbage pickup. In my neighborhood, no less than five days a week you can get stuck behind a monstrous gas-guzzling, soul-crunching beast picking up mounds of household discards. What do you suppose the true cost of this practice might be? Factor in the inconvenience of the time and space they consume on our roads and in our neighborhoods, the noise pollution and visual insult of having these nasty trucks near our homes and children on a daily basis. Factor the gas they use, not only on the pickup runs, but all the way to the county landfill, where these trucks are lined up by the dozens to dump the waste—most of which is in the form of excess packaging no one could be bothered to attempt to recycle. Now factor in the humans—those who were forced into this line of work, of picking up other people’s garbage, because there was nothing else available and at least it’s a paycheck. Now what is the true cost of your sheer laziness—those who can’t be bothered to separate the recyclable plastic, glass, aluminum, and paper items—that many don’t even know which these are? I’ve considered starting my own recycle/compost pickup—to encourage those who don’t to start—everything begins with awareness, after all. Imagine a world where the piles of garbage in a landfill were actually piles of compost, turning into beautiful, viable dirt.

Maybe that’s just me—dreaming of soil, dirty girl that I am—but this is how it is done, turning mountains of garbage into molehills—through awareness.

01-26-13 7:02AM