Up here in Maine, Memorial Day is under four weeks away, so pretty soon the official planting season will begin! But last week the forsythia popped, so everybody is making ready; flats of pansies and petunias have appeared at the hardware store; and (cool weather; nights are in the forties) vegetables like kale and onions are at the farmer’s market. Last week I stopped wearing my winter parka. Spring is quite a relief from what all agree was an unusually long and bitterly stressful winter, even if (as has been the case for several years now) all the really bad weather passed by us in areas to the far South, like Boston.
So, herewith a video in three parts on really getting your hands dirty again and at last. All three parts are good, but I was especially interested in the third part, Urban Permaculture, because I find it hard to imagine, in Bangkok, say; or London, or Manhattan. So I’ll cover the first two parts only briefly, although it’s all worth watching when you aren’t outside.
There seems to be quite the Permaculture Community down in Jacksonville, FL, and I’m so envious of them; the traditional and still valid planting day in the great state of Maine is Memorial Day! Anyhow, this is a really fun video; I think the best part is where Alex’s daughter Maya dyes her hair pink with beet juice [14:39 et seq.], explaining that “the real dyes in the store” “smell like Sharpie marker.” “This is more better because it washes off automatically.” So, enjoy!
Last year, we posted on food forests, and particularly on the Beacon Hill public food forest in Seattle. Here’s a recent long video from Jenny Pell, the permaculturist who designed and implemented Beacon Hill, which gives lots of concrete (and inspirational) information on that project, other urban food forest projects, and permaculture design philosophy generally.
SRI (System of Rice Intensification, pronounced shree) has been getting favorable press (and pushback) lately, so I thought I’d look into it some. Here’s an educational — well, OK, propaganda — video about SRI made in and for India. It’s got English subtitles, so just pretend you’re in an art house.
Brian Fey is creating permacultural systems for the Bosque Village, in the Mexican highlands, a really interesting project that includes an intentional community. Here he describes some of his thinking. Very little visual interest, but you can listen to this instead of NPR, if you still listen to NPR.
Holzer states his path to success began when he realised he had to discard what he’d learned in agricultural college. He set out on a path of observing and emulating natural systems, rather then attempting to control (and, in the process, undermining and destroying) nature. His knowledge rebellion also put him at odds with the Austrian authorities, who fined him several times — and even threatened him with imprisonment — for ignoring regulations on what plants can and cannot be grown in specific regions.
In an interesting examnple of “the test of independent invention,” Holzer devised a practice of permaculture over a couple of decades before encountering the work of Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, who coined the term. Check out the aerial shot of Holzer’s farm starting at 1:09: It’s like a fantasy realm. Except it’s real.
Outmaneuvering the police, hundreds of jobless farmworkers charged through a hole in a fence and turned the manicured gardens of a vacant estate here in Spain’s agricultural heartland into a lively fairground of protest this week. … “We’re here to denounce a social class who leaves such places to waste,” said Diego Cañamero, the leader of the Andalusian Union of Workers, addressing the demonstrators who had occupied the property, the Palacio de Moratalla. …. [T]he owner, the Duke [!!] of Segorbe, lives in Andalusia’s capital, Seville, about 60 miles away. … Agricultural subsidies are criticized by many here as favoring landed interests, paying them not to grow crops when nearly a third of the work force in Andalusia is unemployed. … “Nobody lives here now, but the sprinklers are functioning and keeping the lawns beautifully green,” [a 50-year-old jobless farm laborer] observed. “Just imagine how many farming wages you could pay instead of using the money to water empty gardens.”
Or cut out the “job creator,” wages, and just… grow food. But after the farmworkers have seized the land, euthanized the rentier Duke, and put an end to an artificial scarcity of work and food — hey, kidding! — how should they cultivate it?
I should have put this up yesterday, but I was outside gardening, instead of inside, meta-gardening. So herewith, the famous “Greening the Desert” permaculture video with some discussion and links. (The video is from Geoff Lawton, who you may remember from a beautiful video about edible forests here a few months ago.)
Yes, this is something completely different, but I wanted to get away, just for a little while, from “who loses and who wins, who’s in, who’s out”, and consider a subject that’s beautiful and long-lasting and useful and tasty; and something that’s maybe in the political economy of all our futures, if we’re lucky: Edible forests (also called food forests).
Reader comments on this previous post on heating issues encourage me to post this interesting interview with Portland, ME permaculturalist Lisa Fernandes on gardening, resilience, and abundance. (Portland has the largest permacultural meetup in the world.) You might not agree with everything Fernandes says, but man, is her garden awesome. So I hope you enjoy the segment.