To help transition Japan to a peace promoting post-carbon country while enjoying every step of the process.
僕のビジョンは、祖国日本で、平和文化を育みポストカーボン(Post-Carbon) 社会を促進してゆく事です。

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Intro to Permaculture Course


Last weekend was the annual Permaculture Intro Course, starting on Friday evening and concluding on Sunday afternoon. About 30 folks including 2 super enthusiastic permy kids attended the learning party.


The schedule was something like this

Friday was arrival day and it turned out to be a glorious day.

Saturday 土曜日
730-830 Breakfast 朝食
830-1230 What is permaculture (Pc), History of the Bullocks brothers and this site, Pc ethics and principles.
1230-1400 Lunch 昼ご飯
1400-1700 Tour of the site in 3 groups 三つのグループに別れて、ブロックスホームステッドの三時間パーマカルチャー・ツアー。
1700-1800 Free time 自由時間
1800-1930 Dinner 晩ご飯

Dave and Doug on tour of the property. In 3 hours I feel that they just scratch the surface because the site is so dense with permaculture goodness. The tour is a good workout and therapeutic too. Lets call it the permaculture diet, good for you, good for the planet. The site tour is definitely one of the coolest parts of the course as you see best practices and failed experiments in action. And there is a story to every piece of it.


Sunday 日曜日
730-830 Breakfast 朝ご飯
830-915 Q and A 質問の時間
915-945 Introduction to the work project (Guild planting in Zone 4 Walnut orchard) みんなでやるワークプロジェクトの説明。今回はゾーン4(パーマカルチャー用語)にあるクルミ園のギルドの整備。
945-1000 Break お茶とトイレ休み
1000-1230 Work project ワークプロジェクト開始
1400-1445 Pc network/resources: Global, North America, Pacific North West パーマカルチャー関係の国際、北アメリカ大陸、そして現地(ワシントン州とカナダ西海岸)のネットワークとリソース
1445-1500 Closing circle 締めくくりの輪(参加者への感謝と参加者の感想)
Most people were off to the ferry. 殆どの人はすぐにフェリーに向かいました。
1900 One of the course participants talked about pedal power and the organization he is part of, Maya Pedal (

The food was cooked by the wonderful team of Yuriko and Maria, and without going into any detail, lets just say it was delicious.

I was reminded of how impressively knowledgeable and articulate the course teachers (Sam and Doug Bullock, and Daver) are, especially their ability to thoroughly address different elements of Pc and field questions. That was a major element that drew me to this internship program. They are also jokers with an an endless repertoire of stories.

Something that stood out to me was the Bullocks sharing about how having mechanical, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and other trade-skills helped them immensely in the permaculture adventure. I think they also have experience in the commercial nursery trade. I don't think any of them have a college degree, and here I am with a lot of education and very little to show for it....well I have a fancy piece of paper somewhere. Much of what I am learning are these very skills that they probably taught themselves or learned on the job. Its quite an opportunity to learn these skills pretty much for free with such exceptional teachers in a beautiful environment with other enthusiastic youth. That just seems too good.

A few notes from the Pc Ethics discussion

Care for the Planet:
  • Pc is not about taking a pristine ecosystem and bulldozing it to plant fruit trees.
  • Since our modern life-styles have degenerated much of our life-support system (aka nature), working toward sustainability is not good enough at this point. We need regeneration!
Care of People: We need to design systems that takes care of people......all people!

Careful Process:
  • Changing the mentality from scarcity to surplus and distributing that surplus. Like the Bullocks share their knowledge, living space/experimental and education farm, and palnt materials among other things. Love and enthusiasm too!
  • Transitional Ethic: we want to invite everyone so we need to be welcoming not discriminating
  • Use of appropriate and intermediate technology while using high-tech minimally
We did an activity for the Pc principles where we break-up into groups and each group explores one of the principles, then come back to share to the rest of the group. Our team had the principle: use biological resources. It seemed obvious and there were endless examples that we could discuss but I was really impressed at how Daver put it. Non-biological resources continually degrade, whereas biological resources regenerate. There is one thing in our world that seems to move against entropy, and that is biology.

On this topic of biological resources, I also thought about Vandana Shiva's quote that I wrote in the next blog entry on work and human energy. I think we have an opportunity to replace fossil fuels, machines and chemicals, that displaced people from work and nature, with the massive population of growing unemployed people! Many of whom are young and disenchanted in our current politico-economic landscape, which can lead to social instability and political volatility. Of course we need to do this in a dignified way and not just creating more wage slaves or slave slaves. E.F. Schumacher is a good person to look up on this issue. His book Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered had quite an impact on me.

And now for some more pictures. These are from the guild planting work project. We explored the concept of guild planting, useful guild plant functions (nitrogen fixers, dynamic accumulators, barrier plants, insectary, etc), and looking into the successes and failures of the zone 4 walnut orchard guild on the property. The work project not only was an opportunity to learn and spend time outside doing stuff, it also fulfilled a need on the property to give these plants some attention. It was also a fruitful space for deeper interaction with all the cool people who were out there.Everybody is hard at work. About 3-4 people clustered around each guild planting with someone explaining what plants were there, and what we needed to do to improve the condition (a lot of weeding, mulching, and deer proofing).

Daver gloriously explaining about the plant guild as the other men toil beneath him. I think this is a sterile French broom x2 (nitrogen fixer), autumn olive (n-fixing shrub with edible fruits), walnut sapling guild.

The permy kids showing everyone how its done. We need more permy kids!!!

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