Van Jones remains as one of the most eloquent, honest, and influential people working at the nexus of environmental and social justice. Van is a personal hero of mine and his social philosophy is very akin to the ideas driving the liberation permaculture movement to which I subscribe.
*Editors Note* David Holgrem co-founder of the permaculture movement will be giving a talk at 5pm pst on U-Vic radio which you can find here
No Justice, No peace….!
In Solidarity with Garden Struggles everywhere…
we at Punk Rock Permaculture E-zine support the Uvic students as they affirm their right to exercise their autonomy and creativity and practice regenerative design at the school that is dependent on their attendance.
UVic Administration Bulldozes Students’ Garden Plots, Students Pledge to Continue Resistance
Friday March 26, 2010 – Coast Salish Territories – Victoria, B.C. At midnight March 26th campus administration and Saanich police at the University of Victoria used bulldozers to destroy the ten garden plots created by approximately 400 UVic students the day before. UVic student Mike-Jo was handcuffed and arrested for “assault by trespass” for standing by the garden plots to block their destruction. He was later released.
Yesterday hundreds of students who walked by the pits of mud that were plots of vegetables and native plants the day before expressed grief and anger at the gardens’ destruction. “Yesterday we proved that we as students can build a sustainable and positive relationship with the land,” said UVic student Joyce Lyell, “after fifteen years of having UVic administration turn down every one of our campus agriculture and garden proposals, we took action on our own. With the bulldozing of our gardens, it is now more obvious than ever that UVic values lawns over sustainable food, and values control of students over student choice and ingenuity”.
Yesterday students turned the former garden plots into a memorial site, erecting tombstones marked R.I.P Food Security and R.I.P. Student Voice, and a flag reading “Shame on UVic”. Approximately forty students then marched to the campus administrative building to demand an apology for the destruction of the gardens, but found that Campus Security and Saanich police had locked them out of the building. “I find it disgusting, and indicative of the administration’s cowardice, that they refuse concerned students entry into the building whose administrators claim to represent them,” said UVic student Erin Davis.
Several students attempted to gain access to the administrative building when Tom Smith, Executive Director of Facilities Management, said by UVic to have authorized the bulldozing of the gardens, was seen trying to sneak into the building via a back door. When these students held the door open to access the building after Smith unlocked the door, Smith violently shoved the student standing in the doorway. The student says she will bring this encounter into the public so that students will suffer no illusions that UVic administration exists to help students. “To deny students an opportunity to bring food security to our campus, to openly destroy our efforts, and to actually physically assault concerned students, sends a crystal clear message – that UVic opposes creativity, dialogue, and solutions, and that administrators have nothing but disrespect for the land, community, and student voices,” she said.
Yesterday afternoon at a large, public meeting students decided to start rebuilding the gardens at the same location in front of the UVic library, at noon on Wednesday, March 31. They encourage students and community members to bring shovels and seedlings to the event.
Matt Christie: 250-588-7924 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I encourage anyone interested in Garden Struggles to watch the film below and show it to your friends….
My instructor Scott Pittman of the US permaculture Institute on the need for a Permcorps from permaculture.tv
Gaia punk here,
Below is a great update from Nika Boyce (@nika7k) I want to thank everyone who has expressed interest and I am inspired that this idea IS HAPPENING! Stuart Leiderman (Lakou Permaculture) is on the ground in Haiti right now calling out for help stateside with coordinating a long term Permaculture Relief Corps effort. People working in Haiti have asks that folks do not send goods just yet as you can see from the photos the port is a total mess! Below is a email list of key coordinators by region:
Stuart Leiderman —Currently in Haiti right now was working on the Lakou-Permaculture project
Joni Zweig –Currently in Haiti works with AMURTEL disaster relief
Cory Brenna—Currently in FL coordinating funds and people in FL works with permacultureguild.us which has a donation site up now for the creation of a Permaculture Relief Corps
Kevin —-Currently in Hudson Valley NY coordinating fundraising
Rhonda—- Coordinating in the Bloomington IN region
Marvin Warren —Coordinating for the Ithaca Finger lakes area
If your not on this list and want to be or on this list and don’t want to be….
Evan Schoepke (@gaiapunk) Currently coordinating for the Olympia WA and Seattle area
From Nika Boyce (nika7k):
Like you, I have been simply swept away by the brutal earthquake that has subsumed Haiti into a hell that gets worse by the day.
I have been mostly learning about it via CNN and on twitter. I have been pouring over the satellite images of the destruction as seen in Google Earth.
As I write, Reuters says that more than 200,000 people have died and as of this evening, they have buried 40,000 dead. MANY more bodies lay in the streets and under endless tons of ruined buildings.
Thank goodness for twitter and the permaculture people I have gotten to know there because that is the only thing that is keeping me from feeling utterly lost in desolation over this apocalypse.
He posted several links to projects already either training Permaculture First Responders or projects on the ground in Haiti and other disaster struck places.
I have been wondering how I might be able to help nurture this idea here, tucked away in my small part of the world without actually going to Haiti myself.
I have been chatting with Cory at Permaculture.org and am happy to share this link that is very constructive in terms of the next steps.
(UPDATE: @gaiapunk will also be posting a Long term Permaculture Relief Corps project on kickstarter.com a crowd funding site look for that in the next day or two)
From that site you will see:
Some of the projects which permaculturists can design and implement are:
Building sewage systems, composting toilets, compost and recyclying centers, rocket and solar stoves, temporary shelters (perma-yurts), water catchment and filtering, and plant nurseries.
Rocket and solar stoves are key because the major ecological problem in Haiti which causes huge hardships from many angles is deforestation for fuel. Solar stoves use no wood and rocket stoves, which can be made out of old cans and pipes laying around, use almost no fuel and can cook with twigs.
Correct diversion of sewage, human waste, and water can substantially contribute to rebuilding farm land in the area – the idea is to create the conditions for long term self-sufficiency and abundance with even our short term handlings.
Permanent, low cost, earthquake resistant natural buildings, water storage, earth works, renewable energy, permaculture food forests, broad-scale reforestation, farms, aquaculture systems, and community buildings such as schools and health centers.
We are currently working via a worldwide network of permaculturists to bring resources to Haiti, and several permaculturists are interested in traveling to Haiti to help with the rescue and relief efforts, but need funding to do so. We are in contact with disaster handlers in the area who they can coordinate with for maximum effectiveness. There is a permaculture project existing in Haiti that we are working to connect with as well. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me – I am also willing to meet with potential funders to answer questions personally.
If you want to donate now, please use the “Haiti Donations – Donate” Paypal button on the right hand side of this web page. For past projects we’ve funded, please see the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation article under “Projects.” We will use initial funding to get people there on the ground and most needed resources such as equipment for building the short term items needed. Whenever possible, we use existing resources in the area that are free or very inexpensive – permaculture is very effective at getting the maximum return for energy invested, so you will know your money is going to a good cause.
I know that the idea of surviving this disaster is like a miracle and then the idea of Haiti being able to climb up from a place so dark seems too distant to contemplate.
To this end, I have been graphing out what the needs would be over time for people living through such overwhelming disasters.
I think its extremely important to do this now and for Haitians, now, because these same ideas and strategies will be needed again and again as climate change progresses.
In the graphic above, I try to illustrate the needs of a person immediately after surviving a catastrophe (earthquake, fire, flood, etc). The needs are pretty basic but inelastic in their being absolutely needed.
Once the person is out of immediate danger and is left standing with nothing, no assets, nothing but other survivors around them, they need to find a way to rebuild, regenerate, and boost their resilience so that they become embedded in a community that provides current and future needs.
In this next graphic, I extend on the specific needs outlined in the second graphic with permaculture and no/lo-carbon and low cost strategies for coping and rebuilding.
Please take some time and explore these graphics and tell me what you think, whats missing? What would you add?
Please consider becoming involved in helping the Haitians, using permaculture or by other means, as where the Haitians are right now, that hell, could easily be ours, any of us.
We are, in many ways, their community.
We are each other’s community and it is through us banding together that we build resilience in every place.
The Remarkable History (and Possible Future) Of Permaculture Disaster Relief
Yesterday the island of Hispanola was hit with a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake near Port-Au-Prince the capital of Haiti . Many multiple story buildings have completely collapsed including the major Hospital in the region. Thousands may be killed or trapped in the rubble and aid is being mobilized from around the world. With little to no backup power, sewage, water, housing, or food aid systems in place, Haiti, which is currently the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, is in a VERY DIRE SITUATION. Without a doubt resources and expertise are moving en mass to Haiti, but beyond this temporary relief, what will sustain this nation of 10 million people when it’s left in an even poorer position than ever before? This is where permaculture design comes in, with an adaptable and ever evolving tool kit that can be of vital assistance in disaster relief and the long recovery period to follow.
During the war in Kozovo back in 1999 when displaced refugees flooded into Macedonia Geoff Lawton and a crack team of eager permaculturalists secured international aid to design and implement the master plan for the Cegrane Camp Permaculture Rehabilitation Project, a large refugee camp that provided relief for over 43,000 people.
Geoff created the design around water capture and storage. The final design called for 7.2 km of swales, with an estimated water holding capacity of 30 million liters, greatly reducing the flood potential. Many passive solar strawbale buildings were constructed by trained locals who quickly grasped the simplicity and efficiency of this natural building technique. Large gardens, composting toliets, and chicken tractors all came together in a very short time span. The skills and systems thinking acquired during this process may help secure sustainable employment and economic development for the entire region for years to come.
Another successful implementation of permaculture relief took place in Cuba during the early 90′s when Cuba was suffering from a crippling petroleum embargo. Working with a grant from the Cuban government Austrailian permaculturalists, including Robyn Francis, traveled to Cuba to work with hundreds of Cubans on sustainable food systems design. Robyn, a well traveled expert in permaculture education in the 2/3rds (developing) world, helped local organizers use permaculture design prinicpals and techniques in their urban agriculture efforts. During this time, worker cooperatives were set up, market gardens and public transportation flourished, little to no pesticides or fertilizers were employed, and catastrophic famine was avoided. This partnership has continued to be highly successful and now some of the most experienced urban permaculture experts in the world come from Cuba because of the courageous spirit of the Cuban citizenry. Currently, the Cuba-Australia Permaculture Exchange (CAPE) is working on sustainable housing developments using natural building to compliment the work they began together with urban agriculture
There are numerous ways in which a full-time Permaculture Relief Corps could operate in Haiti in short and long-term time frames.
Building sewage systems, composting toilets, compost and recyclying centers, rocket and solar stoves, temporary shelters (perma-yurts), water catchment, and plant nurseries.
Permanent natural buildings, water storage, earth works, renewable energy, permaculture food forests, broad-scale reforestation, farms, aquaculture systems, health centers and schools.
In 2003 following a intense hurricane, a team including Eric Davenport, an American architect, and David Doherty, a Peace Corps Volunteer, worked for several months with the local community to rebuild a rural village after severe flooding. This team was then joined by Frederique Mangones, a renowned Haitian architect, and engineer Frantz Severe of ORE draw to the challenge of designing low-cost housing adapted to Haitian rural family activities. In the fall of 2003, a team of permiculturalists also offered their expertise to the village project.
|Today their team in collaboration with the local community and the Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment ORE is working on:|
– Low cost relief from floods
- Waste management & recycling to protect the environment
- Hygienic toilets to improve family health
- A community center to bring people together
- Privacy to reduce stress within families
- Green spaces to enhance quality of life
- Fruit trees to generate income
- Utilizing daily wind patterns, heat and cooling cycles
- Covenants to protect their community
Haiti is in desperate need of our assistance which can not come soon enough. 8 out of 10 Haitians live in abject poverty and need the long term commitment of folks working for a sustainable and abundant future. Please check out the links below of organizations doing great work in this field.
If you are interested in the formation of a Permaculture Relief Corps like the one I’m proposing please email thejulianeffect(at)gmail.com and I will keep you up to date on the latest developments.
My heart goes out to all those working and living in Haiti right now,
Evan Schoepke (@gaiapunk) *CORRECTION*: I had previously mixed up David Doherty (peace core volunteer with Darren Doherty (broad scale permaculture designer), sorry about the confusion.
Principal of Gaia Punk Designs
I’m really excited to see this film and debute it in my community. It has a great cast of main characters:
Jamie Lee Curtis | Bill Logan | Andy Lipkis | Vandana Shiva | Wangari Maathai | Wes Jackson | Sebastiao Salgado | Lelia Deluiz Wanick Salgado | Paul Stamets | Miguel Altieri| Pierre Rabhi | David Orr | Majora Carter | James Jiler | Fritjof Capra | Peter Girguis |Alice Waters | Gary Vaynerchuk | Janine Benyus | John Todd
but it also stars my most favorite environmental super-celebrity DIRT!
Here is some completely heretical news in for the world of eco-capitalist dreamers; no silly white multi-million dollar media men will ever solve the worlds ecological or social problems. Yeah I know what your thinking blasphemous right? Specifically, I am referring to the uber opportunistic and freshly greenwashed faces of Al gore, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Richard Rainwater, and now John Hantz. Hantz, a big time financial investor and longtime Detroit resident is proposing to put 30 million down of his own money to build a high tech farming operation that will be coupled with “green” estates. In Fortune Magazine’s limited interview Hantz said that Detroit is suffering from a lack of scarcity and that the only way to save housing prices is by taking as much property off the market as possible, hence the massive farm and real estate combo. But, couple this seemingly benign idea with a one track profit motive and instead of community revitalization one gets rampant community gentrification that pushes out the very people (the poorer residents of Detroit) that one is purporting to be “helping”. The team Hantz has assembled thus far is glaringly white in a city that is over 80% black which is highly suspicious to say the least not to mention naming the entire operation Hantz Farm doesn’t inspire thoughts of “community”. Rather than going to the folks who have already spent immense amounts of effort to bring local organic food to their communities and bring jobs in their neighborhoods, and then offer to assist financially in their efforts, thus far Hantz is developing a hierarchal strategy that may put those very folks out of business. Hantz’s preliminary proposals have garnered lots of unwarranted media attention even though very few details have emerged about how this farming project will be managed and who exactly will manage it.
The Hantz Farm site is just a collection of stock photos that to me seem as hollow as their message. Okay perhaps I’m being too cynical but right now important questions remain around what exact types of technology the farm will employ (already energy expensive technologies like hydroponics and large scale harvesters have been mentioned) , if there is even a viable market in the region, and most importantly, who will this for profit enterprize benefit the most. ”I’m concerned about the corporate takeover of the urban agriculture movement in Detroit,” says Malik Yakini, a charter school principal and founder of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates D-Town Farm on Detroit’s west side. (from CNN)
Organic farming is enjoying a nice trendy resurgence as a solution to urban, rural, and ecological ills. Unfortunately, farming no mattter how popular can only do so much. It is well known that various economic events some deliberate and some unexpected have cost the United States and urban manufacturing centers like Detroit obscene amounts of jobs. What is not well known, is that neither local organic farming, or any green high tech green wizardry, is likely to bring these jobs back in the near future. But, never fear, there are three simple solutions to this whole mess we’re all in along with Detroit.
Detroit honestly doesn’t need anymore scarcity (though real estate barons may see it differently) it desperately needs abundance, and permaculture is a complete system that designs for abundance. If the polluted landscape of Detroit is going to be regenerated then organic farming is just not enough.
The entire history of Detroit is one of total abandonment by the world of capital and a complete lack of responsibility or loyalty to the local community. Cooperatives by their very nature encourage horizontal investment, diversity, democracy, and local responsibility.
THREE: Community Land Trusts
Community Land Trusts are set up in such a way as to encourage low income buyers into positions of ownership and avoid volatility in housing prices. There are few communities in the the US that have suffered worse volatility in housing prices than Detroit. What Hantz is proposing is just green veiled gentrification while the real solution for the people of Detroit lies in Community Land Trusts. Burlington VT has many successful examples of how and why CLT’s can close the gaps of classism.
Note, I did not mention 30 million dollars from some rich white guy! Now if that 30 million was invested in those 3 things I would surely change my tune, but if it’s invested in anything else, I really wouldn’t get my hopes up. Currently, Detroit will likely be the venue for the 2010 US social forum and I plan on being there purposing real solutions based on living permaculture and cooperative principals not on selfish, dead, capitalist oriented ones.
Organizations doing the real work in Detroit:
Evolve Detroit http://detroitevolution.com/
Detroit Agriculture Network http://www.detroitagriculture.org/
Detroit Summer http://www.detroitsummer.org/
Midwest Permaculture http://www.midwestpermaculture.com/
I love this video…
Makes me think of how eager people (especially like me) get once they learn the implications of permaculture design, enjoy!
How we can and must open permaculture knowledge up to hundreds languages and people all over the world and bring it from the digital dark ages! Publishing on demand will cut out the middle men, save money, and open up content!
recommended sites working in this direction appropedia.org
What do punk, permaculture, and anarchy have to do with the 21st Century?
A Peace of the Anarchy produced by lovearchy.org is a quick summary of 20th century radical activism in the USA featuring prominent antiwar hero Kathy Kelly and permaculture eco activist Star Hawk. Has notable focus on the pacifist christian anarchist Ammon Hennacy. Folks from the War Resisters League, the IWW, Earth First! and the Catholic Worker, along with Mr. Hennacy exemplify the marginalized prophetic witness for peace and justice in the USA as they attempt to appeal to the dominant culture. These people speak on the benefits of anarchy and peace, following the radical (rooted/basically grounded) ideology and optimism that goodness will overcome evil, love is superior to hate and truth trumps falsehood.”
The real news was buried in the press release, though. Toward the bottom of a listing of verbal “commitments” from NGOs and foundations, we findthis:
Growing Power commits to strengthen food security for school children and their care givers in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Growing Power will build a new model of local food systems to ensure adequate nutrition in the short-term and build a long-term foundation for competitive African human capital in the global market place.
So Growing Power will be bringing its community-based, low-input style of agriculture to Africa—under the aegis of a group most known for its top-down, Big Solution way of development work.
I got Erika Allen, daughter of Growing Power founder Will and leader of the group’s Chicago operations, on the phone Monday to talk about the announcement.
She told me that in the current phase, Growing Power is hoping to raise $2 million to get its Africa initiative started. (The Clinton Global Initiative doesn’t so much fund specific projects as match funders with projects.)
Allen described the proposed initiative as a “cultural exchange”—Growing Power reps would be learning about how food production currently works in South Africa and Zimbabwe; looking closely at local assets, resources, gaps, and needs. And food-system actors from those places would visit Growing Power sites in the United States—not just at the flagship enterprises in Milwaukee and Chicago, but also at partner projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Mississippi.
From there, Growing Power and its partners in southern Africa would work on “modifying our production systems to local resources there.”
She stressed that what works in Milwaukee won’t necessarily fly in Zimbabwe. Here in the United States, Growing Power essentially siphons off some of the enormous food waste generated by a modern U.S. city and transforms it into fertile soil, which is then used to grow food. But African cities generate less compostable waste.
“The challenge will be to find the systems that work in areas with less excess,” Allen told me. She cited Growing Power’s aquaculture setup, where waste from tilapia tanks is used to fertilize watercress, one example of a low-input system that could work in Africa.
“Overall, it’s about helping people use their resources to build soil and grow food,” she said.
In a single sentence, Allen had articulated a vision completely counter to the top-down model of development that has dominated U.S. policy since at least the Cold War—the agricultural model most famously promoted by the recently deceased Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug. In this model, imported agrichemicals and seed varieties provide the path to food security in the global south. And trade is venerated with an almost religious zeal—nations should only produce food insofar as they have a “comparative advantage” in a particular crop. “High-value” crops like fresh produce should be exported to the industrialized north, where consumers can pay top dollar for them; “low-value” staple crops should be imported when expedient.
Make no mistake—even though more than a billion people globally lack sufficient access to food and farmers in the global south operate in a state of permanent crisis, that model still dominates today. The“Millennium Villages” concept for Africa championed by Harvard’s Jeffrey Sachs hinges on “new advances in science and technology.” To help boost food security, these showcase villages receive subsidies for imported fertilizers and seeds.
And the Gates Foundation, which has been organizing a massive attempt to transform food production in Africa, has made a game attempt to be open to new models of ag development. But as Annie Stattuck, Raj Patel, and Eric Holt-Gimenez show in an excellent recent article in The Nation, the overall thrust has been in the direction of high-tech “solutions” to the continent’s food problems.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has recently taken a deep bow to the conventional ag-development gods, by putting agrichemical-industry stalwarts in charge of both agriculture negotiations at global trade talks and USDA-funded research. Analyzing the latter appointment, that of the Monsanto-affiliated Roger Beachy to lead the USDA’s new National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Science blog recently wrote that:
Beachy’s interests in biotechnology and the developing world closely match those of his new boss, USDA’s Under Secretary for Research Rajiv Shah. They also fit with President Barack Obama’s desire to increase agricultural assistance to developing countries.
The Growing Power initiative points to a new direction. In place of costly and often ecologically and socially ruinous high-tech methods, the Allens present a vision of appropriate technology: techniques that communities can own and manage themselves, without the perpetual need to commit precious resources to toxic agrichemicals and patent-protected seeds.
As debate rages about how to “feed the world” amid population growth, climate change, and fossil-fuel depletion, projects like this one are critical. I’ll be watching it closely.
Hey folks Gaia punk here back on the attack,
Today I wanted to focus a bit on the news. It has come to my attention that a real hero of mine Van Jones has been forced to resign from his position in the Obama administration as a special advisor to the Department of Environmental Quality because of right wing attacks of by the ignorant likes of Glenn Beck
and his Army 0f misguided Screwballs. I am both pissed off and in some weird way excited about this news. I’m pissed off because it show the ineptness of Obama by not defending a pragmatic and dare I say radical leader like Van Jones from obvious bullshit red baiting, but I’m also happy because knowing Jones adversity will only make him stronger. Van Jones is one a few folks in the mainstream environmental movement making the links between classism, racism, and environmental degradation and offering genuine solutions to all three. There is a war on common sense going on, a war against new ideas, and folks involved in permaculture need to step up their efforts of building community resilience and promoting real ecological alternatives. I promise as the faithful editor of prp e-zine to fight and fight hard! Are you with me?
In other news permaculture is hitting many college campuses including Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, Warren Wilson College in Ashville, NC, and the USC in South Carolina. All three campuses have installed some form of permaculture garden or edible landscaping and are in some way increasing permaculture education with in the mainstream academic sphere, and that’s good news. Below are some nice photos…
Hey Gaia Punk here,
I have two amazing events to report back from this weekend. First off, I have to say that I was very excited to witness what amounted to probably the biggest amassing of bike punks in US history friday night in Seattle WA during the Dead Baby Downhill after-party compounded by the fact that Seattle was also hosting the North American Bike Polo Championship that same weekend (congrats to Seattle for winning another tourney! Good luck at the worlds in Philly)! After the Dead baby after party a couple of friends and I drove to the foothills of Jacksonville, OR for the first annual Strait from the Teat Fest (aka Goat Fest) at the Boone’s Farm. This festival was a punk and dance festival hosted by an organic permaculture farm and goat dairy. There were lots of wonderful bands including, the Hail Seizures, Razzamatazz, RVIVR, Mutoid Men, and many more who played on a wooden stage in the midst of a beautiful oak grove under a massive moon. The hosts were extremely gracious and I think everyone had an amazing time. Below is a interview I did with Mookie about the Boone’s Farm and history of Strait From the Teat Fest.
Gaia Punk: What is the history of the Boone’s Farm and how many folks are involved?
Mookie: I had been doing sustainable agriculture for a few years when I came to this area 8 years ago with the intention of starting a agricultural education center that would promote the next generation of farmers and radicals. This was the goal around which the Boone’s Farm was founded. Right now we have 8 people living here, 3 full timers working with the organic goat dairy, 2 working with the veggie farm, and 3 half time interns who help all around and also work on political campaigns. Besides our growing commercial operation we have a revolutionary program called Turning Tables in which we grow and 1 acre of veggies that we give away at no cost to families in need to help ensure that everyone in our community has access to wholesome organic produce.
Gaia Punk: That fits perfectly with the permaculture ethic of “fair share” or returning the surplus to your community and to the earth.
Mookie: Yes, exactly.
Gaia Punk: How did Strait From the Teat (aka goat fest) evolve and where do you see it going?
Mookie: A lot of us here at the farm have punk and or DIY influences. Farming of course can be very DIY. Eventually folks learned of our farm as a inviting punk friendly space and it became a way point for various band and musicians on tour. It was from these relationships and friendships that the idea for Strait from the Teat as a yearly festival arose. This festival is a place for people to speak out against the oppressive systems that we don’t want, but most importantly a space for folks to see and realize community in action. During the festival a natural skill share organically emerged and in the future we hope to bring even more educational aspects for the benefit of everyone attending. It seems obvious to me that there can be no resistance without food and no celebration without music.
Gaia Punk: What permaculture techniques and or principals do you employ at the Boone’s Farm?
Mookie: Well water management is critical and recently we just finished a key line dam that after this years rainy season will provide ample amounts of water for the farm during the summer. We also employ many permaculture practices in our produce production. Two principals that really stick out for me on the farm are planned redundancy and on site resourcing. Something that we don’t do is employ hierarchies such as the teacher/student dichotomy because as far as I’m concerned we are all learning and sharing from one another.
Gaia Punk: Do you think permaculture is being popularized by it’s interactions with various sub cultures, and if so will it have lasting effects?
Mookie: I feel permaculture is just the labeling of a ethic that could easily be describe as sanity. I feel permaculture as an idea will eventually be absorbed into the mainstream and hopefully become accepted and commonplace. I feel it is the destiny of the term permaculture itself to disappear. I think it is very important that permaculture can’t remain as something to be bought or sold but must become knowledge that is freely shared. This is what we’re working for at the Boone’s Farm
Gaia Punk: I agree completely. Thanks so much Mookie I’ve had a incredible time listening to all the great bands at Strait from the Teat and learned a whole lot too. I hope you know you got lots of allies out there.
Mookie: Oh, I know it. Thanks to you too, have fun and keep up the great work.
I’m reposting this post because I just learned that they may be facing eviction
There is a genuine non violent revolution going on around the globe. One that crosses boundaries of race, creed, color, religion and subculture. A revolution that heals the heart even as it dismantles the heartless systems of oppression. It is of course the permaculture revolution; a revolution that is interconnected and diverse.
Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on
the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food
and shelter.” – Bill Mollison
I want to take sometime and give you a picture of some of these true revolutionaries….
The Swomp in Amsterdam is a collective squat that is guided by permaculture and its principals. Besides providing for themselves with their garden production the Swomp does community outreach and education. They are under constant threat of eviction and they may need some media attention soon. Please take the time to read their declaration and the inspiring sustainable ethics by which the community abides. Here is just a sampling of what they’ve accomplished:
- successfully squatted a unused urban lot and turned it into a permaculture demonstration site.
- built a strawbale home from mostly recycle materials
- organized with numerous other collectives on a wide range of important global issues
- provided free education to the community
- demonstrated that one can live in harmony with one’s conscience and with the earth
Please visit their awesome blog and if you are aware of other radical communities in the permaculture vein we would love to feature them here.
p.s. We are always looking for more contributors so if you would like to write for PRP e-zine please contact thejulianeffect(at)gmail with the subject “gaia punks.”
Will Allen has been a big hero of mine for a while now. Just recently the big media has doled out some much deserved credit with stories on his outstanding work on urban farming and urban aquaculture two critical areas of sustainability for cities. The benefits of Urban farming are numerous and obvious (increased biodiversity in the city, increased freshness and nutrition, education opportunities, decrease in shipping cost and hence fossil fuels) but urban aquaculture is less apparent until you understand a bit about the nutrient cycle or seen it in action. Besides aquaculture Allen also employs vermiculture, aquaponics, hydroponics, composting, and water management in a closed loop system. If you want to learn how you can set up your own DIY aquaculture system on the cheap see this post. To learn more about Will Allen’s revolutionary work and the entire inspiring group he works with vist Growing Power and watch the film series below. It is time put the “us” back in industry and food is a great place to start.
Here is short and sweet video about one houses transition to permaculture systems in Sydney. You can find more great content like this at the newly launched permaculture.tv!
Humanity would never have evolved this far with out recognizing this very basic truth “in most cases it is better to share than to not share”. Everything was pretty simple until you had the arrogant “landowners” followed quickly by even more ridiculous and “legally” empowered capitalist. The Pirate Bay (whether the courts agree or not) is a indexing site of the many bit torrent links that have been posted by it numerous users, in reality it is not so different from sites like Google except in one respect, it’s just not used to make billions of dollars for private investors.
Permaculture and The Pirate Bay incorporate whole systems or “closed loop” design. Closed loop doesn’t mean closed design, quite the contrary. Closed loop means whole systems design that emphasises the relationship between elements and facilitates those various relationships in a wholelistic way. In nature everything contributes and takes in such a seamless fashion it is difficult to distinguish the takers from the contributors. Nature is the ultimate innovator. The pirate bay works organically in much the same way because each “taker” in turn becomes a contributor for someone else. This innovative model has been very successful at distributing large amounts of info to a broad spectrum of people. The only reason the big media companies are upset is that they are cut out of the loop as they should be. Middle men are inefficient….look at health insurance in the US, or much of the education system, hell just look at most politicians. Middle men and the proprietary, inefficient, or bureaucratic systems that support them are truly a dying breed and we can do vastly more without them. In this brave new digi-tech world we can teach ourselves to collaborate to create, spread, and disseminate our own media while remembering there is no politician anywhere who could ever represent all our dreams. Let this unjust trial of the pirate bay be a signal of the desperate dying breaths of all the middlemen, a siren call from which we can rally. This is no longer a issue of who controls the media, but who controls your mind? I say let it be open…
We are all the Pirate Bay!!!,
Long live the Open source revolutions,
For the future of all the internets,
ArRGH! maties sail on sail
The history of the Landslide Community Farm is analogous to one of natures little accidents, a mutation if you will, that with in a certain given context becomes crucial if not startlingly beautiful.
Landslide has grown from a couple of fixed up “farm houses” to a non profit in control of multiple city plots used for urban farming. Landsliders are using permaculture techniques, inclusive outreach, and smart campaigning to get strong rapport with city (even enough to fight off a unjust eviction attempt). These permie punxs along with their equally amazing neighbors are making their urban environments more livable, more ecologically sound, and if dare say, all around more krunk. Landsliders are truly stout folks with aspirations that include more than just themselves, but instead a desire to elevate the relationships around them, including the earth, and the greater Pittsburgh community as a whole. Many Landsliders volunteer with collectives like Food NOT Bombs and most likely a dozen other awesome radical or progressive projects too numerous to mention here.
It is my view that permaculture is really 10 % physically oriented and 90 % percent community oriented because ultimately it is the community that will implement the work that is most needed. The first rule for building community is just being inclusive by making what your doing accessible, affordable, and autonomously oriented. Even when all the steel money is long gone it is the history of our relationship with the earth and others that will remain. Landsliders are leaving a history in Pittsburgh that anyone would be proud of.
go Gaia punks go!
Amazing Urban Permaculture Workshop in Brooklyn, NY
I just got back from a little eastcoast permaculture tour visiting folks in
Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Burlington VT. All I can say is that things are poppin’ right now in the world of permaculture.
So I don’t normally post too many course announcements here solely
because there are just so many, but this one is unique. It is a urban permaculture workshop with exceptionally experienced instructor Larry Santoyo of Earthflow Designs. Larry along with my awesome permaculture
design course instructor Scott Pittman work together with the US Permaculture Institute doing projects all around the US and the world at large. Here are the details about the workshops:
Vandana Shiva Is A Eco Warrior Goddess…
Hi folks Gaia Punk here,
While I was having a blast at my Permaculture Design Course in Costa Rica my instructor Scott Pittman of the US Permaculture Institute started a “Heroes” and “Bad Guys” list. Very high on the “Bad Guys” list of course was Monsanto and very high on the good guys list was the ever lovely Dr. Vandana Shiva.
Shiva participated in the nonviolent Chipko movement during the 1970s when woman actually hugged trees to prevent their felling. A world warrior in fighting poverty and enviromental destruction with community resiliance and nonviolent action Vandana shiva has garnered countless awards and appreciatioin from numerous organiaztion, instituions, and countrys. We have much to learn from her kind of militant wisdom! See her excellent camio in the ONE Water documentary.
A campaign has just been launched to plant food forest all across the U.S. and the world as well:
A food forest is a multilayer poly-culture garden that mimics the natural structure of a forest and improves ecological integrity on many levels. A food Forest may have 9 various layers starting with:
Mycylieal (fungi) and bacterial
Ground Covers (for holding moisture, the soil, and soil fertility)
Herbaceous (vegetables and herb)
Small shrubs (berries)
Large shrubs (small fruits and nuts)
Small trees (large fruits and nuts)
Big trees (hardwoods)
Vines, climbers, and lots of flowers
Eric holzer of Permaculture Earth Artisans of Sebastopol, CA one of the US leaders of this campaign has this to say,
“My vision is to educate communities as to the whole system benefits of food forests from, climate change to relocalization of food sources and creating oases of human settlement in our communities. To do this we will help students and interns design and install these systems.”
For more good resources on food forest design see the links and resources below:
A little Providence….
Cob Building with Sun Ray Kelly!
Just 4 days before I left for Costa Rica I casually picked up a book at my favorite local bookstore (Last Word Books) and as is my habit started flipping through it. This book was entitled
It featured some of the most amazing natural building I had ever seen. The work of Sun Ray apprentice of fammed cob master Ianto Evans was esspecially amazing and I wished that I would have the opportunity to learn from such a inspiring artisan, architect, and craftsman, but then Icyni saddly thought fat chance of that happening. Little did I know that my wish would be granted half way through my permaculture design course at True Nature Community when one evening I was walking up to the balcone and there, as if by divine providence, was a smiling and radiant Sun Ray. Later our class was able to pitch in on amazing spiral temple/house cob dome project in the La Florida area. Here are some pics and a short video (forgive the feet filming)….
La Pura Vida de Permacultura
This is Permie Boi passin’ the good word from La Florida, Costa Rica where I’m in the middle of a fabulous permaculture design course at True Nature Community instructed by Scott Pitman of the Permaculture Institute.
I’m having a wonderful time learning, exploring, and sharing. The landscape here is amazing but in a lot of cases in need of regeneration. Even though true nature is a gringo (expats) community, (for now) it is very nice to see that they have intergrated themselves with in the larger community through helping to support and share with the local ticos (Costa Ricans) in multiple ways. This is a sharp contrast from much of the negative colonialist like developments happening in many ecologically fragile areas of the country. The people here from True Nature really practice what they preach at every level and also run a amazing educational service organization called CREER.
The students attending this course are from all over the world and are very excited about what they will bring back to where they live as am I. In the morning we wake up to amazing to an amazing landscape full of colorful chirping birds (Tucans even!) and verdant plants. We’ve been eating fresh local foods cooked with local recipies and Luna of True Nature has been kind enough to offer a free yoga class to those who enjoy it. It is amazing to see how much we’ve been able to improve the site in just a few days by building rain swales and various watercatchments. I know that all of this rewarding work will be greatly appreciated after our departure. I just recently saw an amazing animal locally known as a pizote’ (super cute!) for the first time and I’m extremely excited to continue to explore the rich ecology of this area. Much more more to come soon.
Living la pura vida,
The worlds toughest plant….
Okay if you didn’t already know I love bamboo and bamboo buildings so I thought I would share two of my very best links I’ve found thus far: