In which two of our intrepid graduates from Pine Ridge take on Detroit. Suffering from severe unemployment and economic meltdown, Detroit is a city made for permaculture. Full of abandoned buildings and lots, it is a playground waiting to be transformed into a sustainable, self-sufficient forest garden/green retrofitted build environment. You can buy a house there for hundreds of dollars, not thousands. Or maybe just move in, and homestead. The authorities might be grateful that you did, instead of evicting you. Especially if you’re fixing the place up and planting stuff in the yard
Here’s an interview from Alan Scheurmann, talking about the organization he and fellow Pine Ridge graduate Ryan Hertz run in the area. Last I heard, they are creating water catchment and food systems in a yard in Detroit. Alan is going to Mexico to assist with an indigenous project there soon. Stay tuned for more news from these guys, they are going to go places ….
Can you talk about EcoZoic, the organization you started with Ryan Hertz?
AS: The word EcoZoic comes from an ecospiritualist author named Thomas Berry in which he refers to the story of the universe and the earth through the lens of the major eras of history. The EcoZoic era is where humans really must get to in order to avoid extinction. It is a period in which humans must co-create mutually enhancing relationships with the larger community of life. So our organization, which is incorporated as an L3C (low profit limited liability company), serves the mission to co-create an EcoZoic reality, starting with our hometown of Detroit. We do ecological consultations, sustainability assessments, and Permaculture Design, as well as community organizing to empower families and individuals to realize self-sufficiency. We are both musicians and are working on figuring out the details of how to incorporate our musical backgrounds into our efforts. We want to see an EcoZoic Detroit and we are taking action every day, along with many others, to help realize this vision.
DL!: What are some of the big picture projects you are doign with ecozoic that you feel will have a greater effect on Detroit’s re-invention and transformation?
AS: We’d like to find enough land in the city to do a real permaculture project with a 200 year vision that would serve the surrounding community by showing that self sufficiency is possible and that the solution to every problem can be found in nature. That being said, our landscape, like our people, requires quite of bit of healing. That does not mean that healing cannot happen, however. We’d also like to align ourselves with other visionaries, artists, musicians, and individuals to support and promote efforts that share our ethics and principles.
FIU is offering 3 college credits for the Urban Design Course being delivered at Earth N Us urban farm in Jan/Feb 2010. Check with FIU for more info on how to enroll – these credits can be transferred to any Florida college or university.
The mainstream needs permaculture, so we’ve made it a practice to work with universities whenever it is feasible. Permaculture integrates the sciences with the humanities, and brings sciences together in a way that enriches them. Where else can you study climatology, biology, physics, microbiology, urban planning, cultural studies, economics, anthropology, archeology, and much more, in one two week course and find it accessible, enriching, entertaining, and enjoyable?
We have registered with Permaculture Research Institute as an outreach program that meets their criteria for support. More info at the following link: