A Permaculture Farm in the Miami area

Graduates Mario Yanez and Elena Naranjo run a wonderful project in Homestead, near Miami. A 22 acre permaculture farm supports a LEED housing neighborhood created to help homeless get back on their feet.  There is also a new LEED building that houses a commercial kitchen, classroom/meeting area, farmer’s market space and storefront.  Mario is thinking big and has created food summits, hosted a financial permaculture conference and continues to create training opportunities for the residents of the program and many others. Elena and Mario are trying everything permaculture on the farm, from large aquaculture ponds to plant guilds, herb spirals, keyhole beds, integrating animals, and intensive tree cropping moringa alleys.  We are excited to see where this project will go – they are already accomplishing a great deal and there remains huge potential.  http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/10/3224016/healing-gardens-horticulture-therapy.html

Bill Bilodeau: urban permaculture and community building

Bill and Grow Permaculture student volunteers at the Faith House

Bill and Grow Permaculture student volunteers at the Faith House

Bill is a real pioneer species. After taking the first two weeks, on site permaculture design course taught in the state of Florida at age 77, braving primitive conditions and unexpected wind and freezing temperatures to gain the knowledge, Bill started a small book study group on the book Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway, in his home town of St Petersburg. This group helped build a permaculture meetup site to over 500 members, and created a groundswell of permablitzes, backyard and front yard permaculture gardens, and hundreds of people introduced to the concept of permaculture.  When it came time to choose a name for themselves, they became Gaia’s Guardians, a fitting name for what this group is doing.

As a veteran native plant landscaper and now a permaculture designer, Bill was the ideal person to help establish a permaculture project at the Faith House, a transitional housing organization with 1/2 acre of land given over to grow food for the participants in the program.  Along with Emmanuel Roux, another energetic pioneer, and many volunteers who lent their hands and backs to the project, Bill has created an organic garden paradise on this lot. Complete with several dozen chickens, a kenaf forest to feed them, an exotic looking banana lined and papyrus stocked pond, native pollinator borders, numerous productive vegetable beds and a budding food forest, this plot provides a large amount of food for the Faith House, with leftovers for volunteers.  A number of 275 gallon containers catch rainwater from the roof, and a well provides clean water to the garden. The site gives a boost to new community gardens by collecting pallets and dock wood for raised beds, and tools and other materials. You can find Bill working in the garden on just about any Wednesday or Sunday morning, and pitch in and help, if you like.

Chicken and kenaf symbiosis

Chicken and kenaf symbiosis

Bill’s own home permaculture garden is a regular and favorite stop during the permaculture home tour that is organized by Gaia’s Guardians.  From the weeping yaupon holly and other beautiful natives, and the huge kale and watermelon growing on his hugulkulture bed in his front yard, to the large abundant backyard overflowing with perennial edibles and potted permaculture plants for sale via his permaculture nursery, to his greywater and rain catchment systems and pond,  Bill’s garden is a great example of how permaculture style organic gardening can create abundance, and a real nice place to hang out.

Bill regularly tours permaculture students, school classrooms, and others through the Faith House, and shares his wisdom and experience on creating community through permaculture style gardening, via our Permaculture Design Courses.

native pollinator hedge

native pollinator hedge

Bill has taken his activity up yet another notch as one of the original members and continuing very active member of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coalition of St Petersburg. This Coalition is a diverse group of individuals from many walks of life who want to see both the city and the environment become healthier and reap all the other benefits available through growing much more local food.  Bill heads the Education committee and is very active in the Board selection committee, Community Gardens committee, and as an advisor for new community gardens.  Bill’s community involvement is truly inspiring – he has gone above and beyond to bring permaculture to his community.

Jayne Cobb does it at school

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Jayne Cobb and Ellen Teeter got their permaculture garden going strong after the course that was taught in Sarasota, and have been adding things ever since. Their small yard is packed full of perennials like papaya, edible hibiscus, cranberry hibiscus, purple okinawan sweet potato, moringa, galangal, as well as a full serving of annuals. Jayne puts her cooking magic to the task of combining her backyard food supply into gourmet heaven.  She has also co-created a garden with her classroom at the local Montessori school, where she teaches kids how patterns in the garden harmonize with larger universal patterns, and shows them how much fun gardening can be from seed to table.

Eric Stewart walks the talk

eric stewart

Eric is one of the more dedicated and enthusiastic designers we have met. He didn’t wait to finish the course, but got one project started during the PDC itself, creating a food garden at a Habitat for Humanity site in Pasco County. He has shown many other people the advantages of permaculture through personal contact and an active permaculture web site, Codegreencommunity.org, that provides support and information to permaculturists in the greater Tampa Bay area. And most recently, he has become co-founder and one of the driving forces of a local food co-op in Pasco – Suncoast Food Co-op. https://www.facebook.com/groups/264378686981983/?ref=ts&fref=ts

He has transformed his yard into a food forest jungle complete with a pond ecosystem and much more – showing his neighborhood how to make food, not lawns. And he is selling the food he grows to the cooperative. How much carbon is he reducing by growing and selling food locally, eliminating thousands of miles of travel and the energy and pollution associated with pesticide and herbicide use, and by setting the example, influencing others to do the same?

Pine Ridge home building project – apprentices needed!

Shannon Freed, graduate of our Pine Ridge PDC did not waste any time applying her permaculture knowledge. Last year, she held a 10 week apprenticeship at Pine Ridge which resulted in a beautiful cob home being built for a Lakota on the reservation (sustainablehomesteaddesigns.org)

312This year, she wants to repeat that feat, this time building a 30X30 foot pallet home for another family in need of better shelter.  Pro-builder David Reed will be overseeing the project (www.newjurabuilding.info). This is a wonderful opportunity to learn natural building techniques from a top professional while building a home for someone who really needs one.  And also to experience life on the Pine Ridge Oglala-Lakota reservation.   Please let your friends know about this event, it is one not to miss! Shannon runs a great apprenticeship (we checked it out personally last year) and it is for a very worthy cause. This type of building could work well on the rez, and it is badly needed in a place where many people live in really poorly insulated mobile homes and federal housing.

http://nbnetwork.org/events/active/pine-ridge-oglala-sioux-reservation-pallet-house-build/

New Jura Natural Building in collaboration with Sustainable Homestead Designs is proud to announce another Pine Ridge Project, the last Pine Ridge Project was led by Coenraad Rogmans of House Alive and a beautiful cob/strawbale home was built, on this build we are going to build a 30′x30′ pallet house!!

Pallets are a huge waste material in the US and abroad, their use as design structures has exploded among the “green” and architectural communities.

Our goal is to show the practicality of pallets as more than a design and incorporate them into a real living structure!!

Other groups have taken to building these very inexpensive homes in areas such as Mexico and South America and have put together some very beautiful homes.

We will be building this home on the Oglala-Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation, an area where homelessness, violence, alcholism and abject poverty is extremly high!!

From WikiPedia:

“The Oglala Lakota or Oglala Sioux (pronounced [oɡəˈlala], meaning “to scatter one’s own” in Lakota language) live in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota bordering Nebraska and 50 miles east of Wyoming, the second-largest Indian reservation in the United States. The reservation has broadly three parts, pine covered hills and ridges, grassy plains and a desert area. The Oglala are one of seven Lakota sub-tribes, and they are federally recognized as the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation.”

I will be offering an 8 person apprenticeship on this build where I will take you through the complete build, foundation to finished home and teach you how to build your own.

More information will be available on our website http://newjurabuilding.info/

Miami students continue to expand

Roots in the City Overtown project is now offering a Farmer’s Market from 1-4 every Wednesday.  Overtown is the Harlem of Miami, with a rich history of culture, that has been economically devastated by a freeway running through the middle of it and a number of other factors.  PDC student Maggy Pons is working on six gardens in Overtown which will provide fresh, organic food and economic stimulus to the neighborhood. Food stamp purchases are doubled at the market, encouraging consumption of healthy, organic food and the support of locally grown food.

Marcus Thomson will be holding an Intro to Permaculture lecture Tuesday, April 27, from 7-9 PM.

You will learn common sense easy application techniques on sustainability along with the joy and wonder of a vibrant future you can create for yourself and others! Contact Marcus (Deva) for early registration. Love, peace and light…
Location: The Sacred Space
Address: 100 NE 25th Street in Wynwood
Contact: 954-856-3775
Cost: $60 at door, $30 in Advance! (that’s 50% off!)

More info at:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=110372132314453

Permaculture as a career

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From Florida Earthship PDC grad Diann Dirks:  It was so sweet to be reminded of our Permaculture course in Fla. last March. Since then I have been using so much of what I learned and integrated there.

Right after completing the course I taught 3 series of classes in organic gardening – 13 classes all told at the local libraries and at a local forming sustainable farm. I became a the paid consultant on the creation of a community garden for a Jewish Temple, consulted at a CSA to increase yield, as well as a multitude of private gardens. And one of my students formed a CSA after taking my classes. I created my own school, Mother’s School of Self-Reliance, which has taken off, and I have been giving classes between one and three course days a week since January. Classes have included hand sewing, sprout bag making, sprout bag growing, sprout bread making, and seed propagation classes.

I have also incorporated so much of what I learned in putting in 1800 sq. feet more garden space. And I have been growing some food all winter, even in sub-freezing weather.

Soon after the course I set up a community garden in our own area and am the director. Since then we have acquired a 22′x60′ professional steel green house which is being built this spring on site of the garden for propagation and year-round growing of food.

I also founded a local farmers market that enjoyed a successful season last year, and participated and help found another one beginning this fall into winter, and participated in one all last summer selling instant raised bed gardens which helped over 100 new garden beds be set up in people’s yards where they had never gardened before or extended already growing gardens.

I have been interviewed twice on the radio, and have been writing articles for the local newspaper on sustainable issues all year and have my own column now called “Surviving the Times”.

I’m going to be on the panel of the film “Fresh” tomorrow after the film is shown, and have a booth where I will be promoting my school, community garden, and selling seeds.

I founded last year’s first City of Auburn Garden Expo and did a seminar on Permaculture Princliples to about 25 people.

Our teacher Wayne (Weisman) told me I should teach so I have been.

And I have grown enough food and herbs over the last year to provide a vast amount of food for myself and my husband, as well as sell at the farmers market. I have a .7 acre steep hillside yard which is 1/3 zone 5 (wild), with a house and large lawn which gradually I have been converting into garden by raised beds and terracing.

Anyone visiting the Atlanta area need only call for a tour. 678 261 8141

Best,

Diann Dirks, Certified Permaculture Designer

Taste of Freedom Farm

CIMG0046Andrew Wolfe wasted no time using the techniques he learned about in the permaculture course held at the Florida Earthship in March of 2009.  His goal is to get completely off the grid and make a living from what he produces in his yard. He named his urban Pinellas County homestead “Taste of Freedom Farm”, and in a few months has created a fish farming pond, planted citrus trees, grape vines, blueberries and a raised bed garden with rainwater catchment, composting bins, greenhouse, roof-top beehives, chicken coop and brooder box, duck house, a well, and wood source for his Franklin stove.

Here’s a note from Andrew about his project:

Thanks for the interest in my progress. I have not yet found it necessary to hire a board of directors to help manage my vast enterprise. But I have since the start of my little endeavor, seen almost nothing but advances and very few set-backs to acheive success.

My background has been in construction. I was a sheet-metal worker for 6 years and before that a renovater. My choice to change direction was fueled directly by my reading. I’m an avid reader of the classics and early American literature. I was reading some founder comments when I ran across one quote that struck a chord with me. It read “A person who wants to be ignorant and free, wants what never was and never will be”-Thomas Jefferson. It was at that point I reflected on whether my intrinsic right to be free made me free in actuality or just in theory. I rationalized it in this way; I may in fact be free to take a stroll down my street, but am I actually taking the stroll, or just sitting on my rear thinking about it. I was done wearing the vestiges of freedom without being so. All of it was hinged on me providing for myself. And all though it’s a very respectable thing to go to work and make a living wage, and as a result of your labors bring home bread for the table, you can never be certain that your job will be there forever. The stability of my lifestyle was rooted in the stability of my job, the stability of my job in the stability of the economy. There were far too many things in control of my destiny! So I set out to find what I could do to start to provide for myself and my family in a way the was tangible and concrete. The answer???—Overwhelmingly AGRICULTURE!!!! The wellspring of  functional freedom in society in my humble opinion is Agriculture. So I set about learning the “trade” so-to-speak. I have learned a basic working knowledge of: gardening, fish farming, beekeeping, and the raising and keeping of chickens and ducks. My hope is to try and be as self reliant as possible. The attainment of that final goal is yet to be had but the pursuit is a pleasure, and that is success.

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To answer the specific questions you had

1-I have been tending bees for about 8 months now.

2-I decided to sell the honey when I found out it had value:)

3-My plans for the future are to expand my honey production by finding more suitable bee yards within the county, increase the number of stores it’s available at, and lastly, which happens to be the most ambitious, try to show people the value of providing for themselves.

4- People can find my “Taste of Freedom Farm Honey” at Rollin’ Oats on 9th St, Natures Food Patch on Cleveland in Clearwater, and many of their local fresh fruit and vegetable stands. If your local stand doesnt carry it, that of course is a problem I would love to remedy!–Andrew Wolfe 727-439-4885.

Miami permaculture students in action

IMGP3356Graduates of the recent Urban Permaculture Design Course in Miami have not wasted any time applying what they learned.

Marcus Thomson, who organized the course, got his first permaculture design job before the course ended – installing a food forest in a suburban yard.  He has offered to employ other course graduates for this project and is in the process of looking for more design work. He has planned a series of seminars on permaculture as well, and has offered to bring other graduates in on a community garden project in Little Haiti.  He is already applying permaculture techniques to gardens and planting areas of Earth N Us farms, collecting and planting seeds, seedlings, sheet mulching with terra preta and using plant guilds.

Nancy Arraiz has also gotten her first job as a permaculture designer, installing rainbarrels for a household.  She has started designing her own yard and is burning terra preta to enrich and stabilize her sandy soils.

Linda McGlathery is planning the planting of native edibles in a public space to beautify a homeless housing project.  She is also in discussion with project management to create water catchment and a planting area for the homeless.

Ben Thacker has been planting fruit trees and veggie beds at a school for youth at risk for some time, and is now incorporating more permaculture techniques in his work.

Maggy Pons (only able to attend part of the course) was already managing six community gardens in historical Overtown, under the name of Roots in the City.  Because of what she learned in the course, she has now created the beginnings of a mandala garden and keyhole beds and is using sheet mulching techniques and rainbarrels – she is also contemplating planting a food forest.

Check back to read about more adventures from Miami PDC graduates!

Ecozoic in Mexico

flowero wirikut

Alan and Ryan from our Pine Ridge PDC in Mexico

EcoZoic’s Shop Announcement

EcoZoic Era works with remote indigenous communities, marketing their traditional art to new audiences in an effort to raise global awareness, increase economic opportunity, and offer resources to address self-identified needs.

The Water for Huicholes! campaign is an effort in partnership with the community of La Laguna to assist with the issue of water access for Huichol villages throughout the Sierra Madre Occidental. Proceeds from the online auctioning of Huichol art and jewelry will support educational opportunities in sustainable design for the Huicholes, with an emphasis on hydrological systems.

Each piece was made freehand, in a ceremonial manner, by the family of Mara’kame, Jose Luiz Ramirez, who has requested that this art be sold for this purpose.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/EcoZoic

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