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Word from Rosalia Cannava

We are joining together in energetic support of creating a community/ Ashram/ Food Forest at "Nectar of Devotion." Even if you are not in Miami or South Florida you can empower this project by joining if just in thought! Open for all bringing good vibes, love and harmony.

This group is a call to unite and join together in promoting harmony and love within ourselves and with all life. Self sufficiency is the key to freedom. Let's end our reliance on corrupt systems and embrace the divine within us and all around us. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD! MAKE YOUR OWN CLOTHES! FREE YOURSELVES FROM ALL ATTACHMENT!

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Ecozoic in Mexico

Alan Scheurmann, talking about the organization he and fellow Pine Ridge graduate Ryan Hertz run in the area: The word EcoZoic was coined by author Thomas Berry who tells the story of the universe and the earth through the lens of the major eras of history. The EcoZoic era is where Berry predicts humans must evolve into in order to avoid extinction. It is a period in which humans must co-create mutually enhancing relationships with the larger community of life.

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Miami permaculture students in action

Graduates of the 2010 Urban Permaculture Design Course in Miami jumped into action 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.
Check back to read about more adventures from Miami PDC graduates!

Taste of Freedom Farm

Andrew Wolfe got right to work 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.

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Permaculture as a career

From Florida Earthship PDC grad Diann Dirks: It was so sweet to be reminded of our Permaculture course in Florida March 2009. 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 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.

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Miami students continue to expand

Roots in the City Overtown project is now offering a Farmer's Market from 1-4 every Wednesday.

Just northwest of downtown, Overtown is the Harlem of Miami. Popular with blacks and whites alike, Overtown was a center for nightly entertainment in Miami, comparable to Miami Beach, at its height in the 1940s and 1950s. The area served as a place of rest and refuge for African American mainstream entertainers such as Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Joephine Baker, Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole who were not allowed to lodge at prominent venues where they performed. Many prominent African American luminaries like W.E.B. Du Bois, Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson lodged and entertained there.

In the late 1950's and 60's, two freeways through its middle fragmented the neighborhood, urban renewal caused businesses to close and the neighborhood was economically devastated from nearly 50,000 to just over 10,000.

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. 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.

Pine Ridge home building projects!

Shannon Freed, graduate of our Pine Ridge PDC, did not waste any time applying her permaculture knowledge. Two years ago, 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)

Last year, she repeated that feat, this time building a 30X30 foot pallet home for another family in need of better shelter.

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Eric Stewart walks the talk

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, www.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?

Jayne Cobb does it at school

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 spinach, 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 from seed to table can be. She is now designing a garden for another school in her area.

Bill Bilodeau: urban permaculture and community building

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 now devoted to growing food for program participants. Along with Emmanuel Roux, another energetic pioneer, and many volunteers who lent their hands and backs to the project.

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A Permaculture Farm in Homestead

Graduates Mario Yanez and Elena Naranjo created a wonderful project in Homestead, near Miami. Through a County program for the homeless, they acquired a 22 acre permaculture farm connected to a LEED housing program all created to help the homeless get back on their feet. At the center of the operations was a new LEED building that houses a commercial kitchen, classroom/meeting area, farmer's market space and storefront, creating an integrated space for preparing and selling the products from the farm, teaching farmers, and having community meetings and classes. Mario's non profit organization Earth Learning has launched 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 created a number of permaculture demonstrations on the farm from large aquaculture ponds to plant guilds, herb spirals, keyhole beds, intensive tree cropping moringa alleys and animals. Though the project ended, Mario has continued the work of spreading permaculture through events and permaculture training. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/10/3224016/healing-gardens-horticulture-therapy.html

Creating a food forest on campus

Rae Shirsat was inspired after completing her PDC course in early 2012 to travel to Africa and change careers. She is now working as LEED AP HCC Sustainability Specialist for Hillsborough Community College and is using permaculture principles in that program. She has gotten the go ahead to create a large food forest on this campus of 50,000 students! She started the project by calling for some design charrettes, bringing community and college students together to create a design that meets multiple needs. The next phase of this project will be to complete the design and plan and execute the first stage of soil building and planting. This forest will have many opportunities to capture the interest of thousands of students and Rae is planning to create quite an impact. She is also upgrading the recycling program for the college and working on a Beyond Sustainability Conference focused on sustainable and regenerative finance techniques.

“The Edible Garden” Nursery

Nessie Johnson and Cathy De Felice decided to take me up on my offer to any PDC graduate to help me transform my small backyard nursery into a larger cooperative nursery focused on plants that are useful to permaculture designers. They have taken the operation to a new level with over 1000 plants in the nursery and others on their way. One of their first clients was a major local health food store, Nature’s Food Patch.

Starting out with little knowledge of permaculture plants, Nessie and Cathy have learned the needs and behavior of more than 100 different plant species, many of them edible perennials that are not familiar to most Americans, yet are loaded with nutrition. They are now educating others about where to place them in their yard and how to care for them, as well as how to create delicious meals with them. Nessie, as a vegan and a great cook, is a natural for this task. This is the first official business that has incubated from Grow Permaculture's mentoring program. We provided mentoring, plant starts, seeds, soil, and amendments.

There are side benefits to caring for a nursery - both women are creating abundant Edible Gardens in their own yards from cuttings and seeds collected from the nursery. theediblegarden.us