So We’ve just finished our week of intensive permaculture learning. At the start of the week, I never thought that I would learn so much, become so dirty, eat so much good food, and make the amazing friends that I did.
The most surprising part though, is how I look at plants now. Walking down the street, there is no longer just a sea of green in front of my eyes. I see each plant as an individual element in a complex ecosystem. Each of these elements performs many functions, and I find myself listing them off in my brain, logging away questions to research later. The other night – out for drinks with a friend I ended up scurrying around the base of a large Ficus tree looking up into the big leaves under the guise of the night sky. I could see bats fluttering in and out of this tree and I wanted to get an ID on it. Bats eat mosquitoes, mosquitoes eat us. Therefore I want what type of tree this was in order to kill off our teeny tiny predators. I picked some of the leaves and some of the fruit and brought them back so Doug could tell me what type of plant it was.
Making this kind of mental shift is exactly what Doug wanted us to get out of the course. All the nitty gritty soil biology, plant names, and nutrient information can be looked up at the crack of a laptop. The fundamental concept of biodiversity, harmony, patterns, and improving efficiency are what we really needed to take away from the course.
The week was dedicated to learning these theories, then applying them out on the farm. Breaking the earth and really getting in there, the plants and the dirt almost seem to talk back to me, reinstating their intentions and their roles. My mind made connections between the slide shows and the techniques we learned outside. Plant propagation, worm bins, hot composts, swales, sheet mulching, chop ‘n drop, nitrogen fixing … these are all a part of our vocabulary now.
I wont go into the details of everything I learned, because I’ve written about it already below, and Doug’s educational permaculture site also contains everything you need to know. But I will give a nice big e-hug to everyone who came together to make this experience possible: Gandi, Victor, Nao, Doug, Robbie, Clare, Aurora, Nate-Dog, Kathryn, Justine, Estefani, and Patricia & Benajin – Thank-you all!
Check out more photos from the course on our facebook page!