What a start to 2012. Only 20 days into the year and, if this course is any indication, it is going to be a year of inspiration, innovation, and exciting projects. The first three days of our Permaculture Design Course were unlike any other permaculture course that I had heard of before. Yes we learned about site analysis. Yes we learned about permaculture ethics, sectors, zones, and design principles. We were well on our way to understanding permaculture and how to integrate it into our lives. Had we sat in the church basement and absorbed all of this information from our knowledgeable facilitators, I am confident that we would have left feeling informed, uplifted, and inspired by the course. This course is taking it so much further by incorporating the ‘people’ side of permaculture right from the beginning.
What was particularly unique about this weekend is that it was truly grounded in community. It embodied the permaculture ethics that we were learning about. Ethic #1: Earth Care. Ethic #2: People Care. Ethic #3: Fair Shares. On Sunday, the group facilitated a community input forum to help guide the process of a multi-year plan to design and install a permaculture landscape on the church grounds. If I close my eyes – like we all did so many times in our initial visioning activities as a group – I can envision a community sanctuary overflowing with edible, medicinal, therapeutic, and beneficial flora and fauna.
During the forum, church members presented dreams of meditation gardens, strewing gardens, abundant food production, and an overall inviting place for the whole community to appreciate. So, rather than sitting and being a passive receiver of knowledge throughout this course, instead I feel that we are all active participants in creating excellent opportunities to learn from this process while simultaneously working to build a brighter, more resilient, beautiful, and delicious community.