Blog entry from one of our Permaculture Design Course students in Atlanta!


Everything Gardens is a tenet at the heart of Permaculture. Everything Gardens suggests that every animal, plant, microorganism, rock, air, water, etc. interacts with its environment and sometime during the interaction there is a change or modification of the environment itself. So, you may be asking yourself why this is a basic tenet of Permaculture? Well the answer is simple: If you prepare for the known changes in the environment you will be able to identify these changes and thus design the environment to work in concert, moving from consumption to production, recalibrating from a depletion of resources to a production of resources beyond a single crop. The action of creating such a system is called Permaculture Design.


On August 31st 2011 a group of wonderful people came together for a special event, a pioneering Permaculture Design Course in Atlanta, Georgia. The eleven students, two instructors, one roomie and Peanut butter (the puppy) are a diverse and enthusiastic group of aspiring Permaculture Designers who shared their experiences of modern life. Through those experiences a deep concern was expressed for the direction our society is headed as it relates to food, energy usage, consumer vs regenerative culture, deforestation, and many other topics that are slowly depleting the resources of our nation and the world.


I want to touch on a deep concern for Permaculture and the sustainability movement in general. You know “That heavy feeling” like “I just can’t make a difference so why try?” Our instructors, Brandy Hall and Keri Evjy, tackled this point right away and related us to our immediate surrounding. We did an exercise by Deep Ecologist, Joanna Macy, called The Milling, and got a palpable sense that we are not alone in our grieving and despair, thereby, showing us where to start our journey. They threw out terms like thrival, triple-bottom-line, and the-why-of-where, to explain our deep interconnectedness with our world. Now, I understand at a deeper level why I feel so connected to Permaculture.


During “the course of the course” we discussed Permaculture topics like Ethics, Attitudes, and Principles and related them to real-world applications at the Oakhurst Community Garden in Decatur. We walked through an urban forest and identified the edge effect of the forest and riparian zones. We performed a Needs and Yields Analysis, clarified the design process, and used a class critique to learn how to present rational goals about our own projects. And yes we do have homework!


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