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Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.

Spirit, Earth, and People Come together at the Earth Activist Training!

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Many people have a gut feeling that Permaculture runs deep. It’s what keeps us reaching for more knowledge; what inspires us to dream that a better world is possible. Permaculture is an approach to ecological design; it is also an approach to human relationships. It is a lens through which we can hold earth spirit and human spirit together in the same breath. This August, teachers Starhawk and Charles Williams led an integrative Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course. Starhawk, a renowned author, activist and spiritual leader, co-founded Earth Activist Training PDCs in 2000. She sought to explore what happens when activists and permaculturists cross-pollinate. The course is unique in that it stresses social permaculture and activism, as well as the standard 72-hour design course basics.

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30 students came to O.U.R. Ecovillage for the 2-week course, traveling from as near as Duncan and as far as Australia and the UK. Students built cobb, dug swales, propagated plants, saved seeds, and learned more than can be safely expected to fit in a human skull. Permaculture metaphors abounded, as students bridging continents and generations realized they formed perfect guilds together. A guild is a group of plants that are mutually beneficial. Morning and evening rituals played an important part in the cohesion and intimacy of the group. Days started with a grounding ceremony and ended with a circle dance. While singing and ritual may not seem an obvious aspect of permaculture, this class explored how ritual can create a tug of connection and inspiration that maintains energy, focus, and creativity.

EAT culminated in design project presentations. Students grouped together and drafted permaculture designs for both physical parts of O.U.R. Ecovillage (such as the Eatery) and invisible parts (such as dynamic governance). One group even designed a campaign to stop the Tar Sands. For this project the social permaculture of group dynamics proved to be just as important as the finished design.

The class featured local guest teachers Javan Bernakevitch, Christina Nikolic, Brandon Bauer, and Jacob Cooper, as well as O.U.R. Ecovillage’s Bruce Horowitz and Brandy Gallagher. Mark Lakeman from City Repair in Portland, OR spent 2 days with the class discussing Urban Permaculture, further expanding where and how permaculture can play a role in society. Each teacher brought a new palette of inspiration. It was impossible to go through the course without believing that real solutions not only exist, but are taking place everyday.

For more information on such inspiring events & courses providing real life solutions please check O.U.R. Youth and Community Convergence happening this September.

By Annie Rose London

Learn about 2014 PDC/EAT course at O.U.R. Ecovillage!

Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.