What is Permaculture?
Wikipedia’s definition of permaculture works. It’s a fancy word to describe biology, but complex enough that there are certification systems for it all over the world, workshops, and events such as the Northwest Permaculture Convergence, which was in Seattle Washington over the weekend of September 15 and 16. Three hundred people gathered, twice as many as there were at the same conference the year before.
Over the three-day conference, which took place at South Seattle Community College, there were over forty workshops on topics such as mushrooms as medicine, plant propogation, transforming your suburban neighborhood into a thriving ecolvillage, and choosing the best proven fruit and berry cultivars for your region. But organizer Laura Sweeny knows that dissemination of current trends in the movement, while an essential thrust of the gathering, good food and networking are the real point to getting together, as is the case with any conference. And the food was great. Since many of the participants are organic food growers, all were asked to bring something to share. The kitchen was bursting with locally grown fresh produce.
The plenary talk, on Sunday morning, presented by Activist Architect Mark Lakeman, founder of Portland’s City Repair, inspired and delighted with humorous stories of cities “taking over” their own streets and neighborhoods, throwing community building projects such as painting their intersections, installing corner informational kiosks, tea houses, food stands and all-night libraries. He even told of a toy-sharing library that the kids run themselves, all in efforts to encourage people to get to know their neighbors, spend time enjoying their neighborhoods, be more self-sufficient within communities to lessen the needs for carbon-intense practices such as global shipping. Growing their own food to lessen dependence on corporate sources of unhealthy foods. The list goes on the movement grows on.
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