Wow I must say that during our Permaculture Design Course there was so many wonderful adventures, teaching experiences and enriching information delivered for living regenerative lifestyles.
I remember my own first personal Permaculture design course as a life changing experience and I know what it means to give students the best care and assistance for their own metamorphosis, into becoming the best they can be in the field of Earth healing & life regeneration.
The first day of the PDC we began with a session on group agreements where each one of our students was actively involved in crafting the experience that they wanted to have. We came up with the following group agreements:
Honoring the diversity in each other as well as in nature, planting seeds as we sing songs, using talking stick for sharing circles, everybody has a voice, we are all teachers and students, making time for reflection, clear and concise sharing's, creating symbiotic relationships and allowing creativity to be expressed at its fullest capacity with-out limitations.
The students were given a rundown of current urban systems and their set up at the Urban Habitat Parking Lot Garden at I Love Yoga Studio, they were invited to share design ideas as they gained knowledge through out the course, highly encouraging inclusivity and communal team work.
Our weekend days filled with joy and new explorations. Opening space with activities for centering attention, honoring nature, the elements and remembering permaculture principles with music and songs, group discussions on major curriculum topics, hands on activities, potlucks, stretch breaks and time for sharing.
I must say the first day of the PDC includes a review on some of the hard pressing climatic problems of our times, not to be pessimistic but for awareness raising.
Today up to a 60% percent of our population is not aware of how modern human activity, globalization and " business as usual " harms the planet, or that the very resources that our life depends on are endangered.
That is a high percentage of unaware planetary citizens. If you would like to learn more.
After becoming aware of world boo-boos, students were given a whole lot of tools to be the best Earth healers they can be and to turn problems into solutions, a classical permaculture approach for responding creatively to a changing world.
Note: This is a life long process of improving ourselves, reducing our own waste, turning waste into resources and re-skilling ourselves in the various aspects of Permaculture, a PDC really is a start and an introduction of all there is to delve deeper into.
In addition to our class time and regular schedules we had quite a few highlights of fun and educational field trip locations to visit, for hands on land projects, were students could physically apply the permaculture principles they were learning in the class room.
The following where some of the special times of the journey organized and programmed for the PDC to include the best integration with the permaculture community members and important projects for our class to assist with as part of hands on training and as a support to our permie family.
Tree Hugger Farms
This class was full of great teachings from our Tree Hugging permie friends: Jason Long, David Laws and good o'l Santi.
Student' learned about torrential rains and nor'easter winds of Florida summer time, about how heavy winds can damage gardens, animals, trees and many structures. At the same time, that wind can be used to cool down the temperature, to provide energy, dehumidify, and can even assist with reforestation
It was about learning the basics of increasing the benefits of wind and decreasing the damages by slowing, filtering, trapping, and redirecting this great element.
-How to Establish a windbreak -Designing a windbreak to fit your needs -Appropriate windbreak techniques for South Florida -Multi-purpose windbreak species -Plant Propagation -Basic Earthworks
Cynthia's backyard farm Is such a wonder-filled place to visit, Chickens greet you at the garden entrance, covers of soft perennial peanut beautifully carpet the grounds, all while fixing nitrogen and conserving water, a great permaculture replacement for turf lawns.All sorts of microclimates, vegetation layer's and edibles everywhere you go! All incased in a harmonically, wild everything garden.
On this date we focused on creating an elevated hugel-kulture mandala garden, with whatever we found on the land! Everything came along well, we used some up-cycled wood post with chicken wire wrapped around each post to contain our 2 foot hugel raised bed, In the center a perfect tree log served as a great place for climbers to eventually cover it. We also re-adapted rain catchers and elevated them for improved PSI and gravity drip flow.
You can't go to Cynthia's without taking home some homesteading tips on Kombucha and Kimchee fermentation, the special of the day! we also conceded with a local food swap group pot luck, that was surely one of the best pot lucks!
A visit to North FL was a wonderful opportunity to work on a swale and a food forest installation at the Hare Krishna Temple, what an honor to visit Alachua and having an amazing camping experience with the gods of thunder and rain becoming more and more intense as the hight of our drums increased through out the nigh in our tents.
The next day heading over to the perma blitz scheduled with Alex Ojeda a super knowledgable and enthusiastic permaculture teacher. The topics we had talked about in a classroom setting came alive !
Students learned about substituting mechanical irrigation with swales, wise water management, layering food forest and a ton more about sucession, not to mention our visit to the springs as we became drenched in sacred waters from torential storms as we swam, after a firey and sunny, hot day of diving into hay bales, digging and mulch, mulch, mulching our soul away, all for the future of a productive food forest in a magical spirit centered temple.
The I Love Yoga Urban Hugelkulture Parking Lot Community Garden
Our home studio's urban parking lot garden took the next step of development as we created a fully functional mini hugel/swale garden for urban proportions. The magic about this garden is showcasing permaculture techniques in such a reduced space. Now there is no excuses for not permafying an urban paved lot with just edges of grass. If we can do it, others can too.
In our project we are also developing a waste management program for waste separation and major up-cycling. It is a work in process. Our graduating student's are also teaching new members of the community about our composting systems and about the garden.
The Garden of Abundance
Took place on a summer solstice a magical time when the sun is in it's highest Zenith, the longest day of the year, we delved into mountains of mulch, the warmth of the pile would steam out a fragrant woody scent as the rain came down on us. Like children out in a summer blast we singed along. " I want to let life move me, I want to let life stir me up, I want to let life wake me, from an ancient sleep, I want to laugh on my laughter, I want to cry on my tears, I want to love the rain as much as the sun when it's here.
This project is one of our permie student's home farm, the class has been supporting it's development and is currently under planning to become a permaculture and healing arts educational center for the community in homestead. It's fruition is supervised and led by Ricky Lopez and Kelsey Cavanagh 2 of our grads.
We support our grads and their endeavors to the very fullest and we are currently fund raising as a team, please support these endeavors, by visiting our crowd funding campaign. The funds will assist the rain and water management design structures, equipment rental for earth works and other expenses involved in developing a regenerative farm / educational demonstration center. To contact the GOA
Loretta Buckner's talk on Scared vs Sacred Economics
For the record this Skype call was the funnest of all digital interactions I have had in a long time with a group! We had Loretta on video call having the permies trading tissue paper and rocks as part of the game she created for the teachings on financial permaculture, we spoke about fair shares, time banking, local money and the best ways for communities to shift into a resource based economy model. Thank you Loretta for this fun exposition of the value of purposeful trading.
Graduation Design Presentations & Fruity-licious tropical safari w/Andy Firk and friends
What a perfect way to end our course with some time to kick back and enjoy some design time in a tropical setting at the fabulous Everglades Eco Hostel. We started the day with a powerful meditation and visualization of what we envision the world to be like after the transformation of consciousness where the common values are in alignment with regeneration of ecosystems and local food production as well as collectivism and unity, students had a chance to work on their final design project, and we got some time to work on some social permaculture and principles of co-op, business though enterprises that focus on " we " instead of " me ".
After student's presented their design work Andy Firk gave a fabulous presentation on tropical food forest farms in Florida.
I must say my mouth continued to drip as he went on with the slideshows ...
Thankfully the next morning we were able to get our hands on some of the goodies Andy mentioned. We had a tropical fruity, sensational, wild harvesting, tree picking and stuff your face with juicy fruit party, included in our finds were Jack Fruits, Egg Fruits, Dragon Fruits, Longans, Sapote's and other rare tropical wonders at Possum Trot food forest and other fruit farms.
I cannot express in words how much I love organizing these PDC's and working on building people guilds, connecting with the diversity that each individual brings into the mix, from hosts & different sites we visit, connecting with amazing permie & plant nerds in the field and witnessing the student's growth and transformation. This leaves me with a sense of hope for the future of permaculture.
I can only say I am honored to be a servant of organizing and facilitating this sacred knowledge to go into the right hands and hearts.
Congratulations to the graduating class of : Summer / Spring 2014
May you not stop here and continue going deeper into your path back into the roots of working with the earth rather than against her, so that from your roots like a tree you become propelled up into the light.
Meet The Permies
Jennifer Clarke : A native of Richmond, Virginia, I also grew up in Athens Ohio in the Appalachian Foothills. My professional life and career began in the private sector working in the banking industry. As my life evolved I transitioned into civil service and non-profit work which brought me here to Miami. For ten years I have worked with youth in urban core schools as an educator and college access provider.
Most recently I finished both my yoga and permaculture certifications.
The permaculture course work only starts with the classes. The real work begins after graduation. Taking this course has changed the way I look at the planet and my relationship to and with it.
Where ever I am, I observe my environment with a permie mind, looking at ecological patterns; interactions of plants, insects, animals and birds; checking for wind and sun patterns, water systems and agriculture.
Conversations with colleagues and friends alike often include references to the environment, nutrition and regeneration of resources and I’m able to share what I have learned in a way that creates access to new ways of living.
Currently, I am designing a vegetable and herb garden for my yard using what I have learned of recreating patterns in nature, symbiotic relationships, regenerative irrigation systems, composting, burms and windbreaks; none of which I knew prior to the permaculture class. I’m looking forward to the day I produce most of my resources and needs. The principles of permaculture are valuable to an environmentally conscious, nutrition centric mind – it demonstrates how humans can be a part of the planetary system as an asset.
Alix Mora : Originally from Venezuela and a current Floridian dweller has completely changed her life in the last few months from a more corporate oriented pace of life to becoming grounded and more in tuned with living a natural and healing lifestyle. The permaculture course has expanded an awareness of the use of energy and the way it causes and impact as we currently use it.
This has awakened in Alix the common sense of effective waste management, and becoming resourceful, she is currently involved in teaching yoga, works at the I Love Yoga boutique and is collaborating in organizing the up-cycling program for the facilities, as well as helping her permaculture class mate and project partner Jennifer Clarke to design and plan her back yard as a permaculture oasis.
Kelsey Consciousness: I am 24 years old and from a small town on the central coast of Maine. I've lived in South Florida for a year and a half, and have since found my passions and my callings.
I am a yoga teacher, reiki healer, writter (blogger, poet, novelist). I love to sing and am currently in a Kirtan Band. I love having spontaneous adventures, traveling to new places, and swimming in new waters.
Before I knew what permaculture was, I was a yogi and an activist for the conscious community, doing my best to change the world and humanity for the better in whatever way I saw fit at the time. Often times I would find myself torn between the optimism I had for bettering the world and the distain of feeling like I could never really do enough to make a difference.
I knew there were ways to be eco-friendly, but as far as permaculture ethics and principals go, the common sense was somewhere within me but it was yet to be recognized in plain sight and action.
Through taking the PDC and learning in the classroom and in the garden, the more inspired I became. I started to realize that there were ways of living in community where stress is reduced, as is waste, and every action taken is with love and selfless servitude (just what I'm all about)!
Now I am inspired greatly to regenerate the Earth, care for the people and the Earth, as well as heal through local organic foods and medicines, and have fun doing it every day!
I am currently working with Ricky Lopez a co permi-graduate and I am co-founder of the Garden of Abundance. Our vision that is currently in the process of creation is to have a space where people can come take classes, take courses, learn permaculture, shop from our local produce and products, commune for social events, care for the land, come to eat at our farm to table restaurant, and eventually be able to host guests for extended periods of time for energy exchange.
The Garden of Abundance is a model of a community property that is fully self sustaining, works on donations and energy exchange, provides surplus for community members in a giving spirit, and educates everyone who seeks knowledge about what we've all learned and continue to learn collectively. Fulfilling this vision, backed by a group of yogis, healers, Earth and Light workers, activists, and conscious people, we are allowing the shift to take place in South Florida in a major way!
We are funded by donations of funds. For any information about donating or voluntering, attending our classes or events, or about our upcoming projects contact me or Ricky Lopez.
Ricky Lopez : is a lifetime student of the healing arts. On this journey I’ve become present to the importance of the source of our nutrients and resources. My studies and intentions discovered Permaculture in spring 2013. With the awareness of this concept I traveled across North America learning from longtime stewards of productive land.
I was blessed to learn of PermacultureYogi shortly after I came back home. Her knowledge and passion aligns with my intentions of regenerating and re-connecting to the land that has supported us for millennia. Angie arrived from her travels and announced a Permaculture Design Certification course;
Knowledge and energy fresh from the jungles and forests and years of studies in a 7week permaculture course. Yes please.
7 weeks of discussing the valuable principles of permaculture that support regenerative systems, soil building, food production, resource production, and abundance.
The traveling around Florida for exposure of different systems is an amazing part of the PermacultureYogi PDC. The physical moving of soil and planting seeds with the group is an amazing opportunity to bond with community and learn from those around us. I love that PermacultureYogi implemented the Permaculture Principles in the design of her course.
While taking the Permaculture Yogi PDC, I was blessed to become a steward of a couple acres in South Florida. This is an amazing synchronicity that allows for me and those in the community to apply these concepts and teachings at an intentional and physical space. And so the seed that was the Garden of Abundance has sprouted.
The GoA is a project to cultivate space for abundance, alignment of self, and healing in South Florida. And of course the world is welcome. Using and merging various concepts we were exposed to in the PDC allows the GoA to be a unique, dynamic, and productive project. We Learned so much from the PermacultureYogi PDC, We can’t wait to be involved with future courses.
Franco Cruz : a gardening fan and deep thinker of life's paradoxes, who is now on a path towards gearing up for a life time practice of permaculture.
I feel the permaculture course was complete in that it is hands on and rich in visual experience which was the main classroom and our instincts got the better hand of it, in that way the course will serve us for years to come whether conscious of it or not. The teacher Angie guided us through every system and design we implemented and the various places we got to visit helped inspire our creative juices.
The course itself was pure joy and anybody curious about gardening should look into it. What the future holds for me can only come to fruition in time but this experience and the people and places that are new to me will hold its definite place when that time comes. Definitely plant something.