The secret life of permaculture at Earthaven
Patricia embraced our permaculture vision without reservation, and impressed hundreds of students and work exchangers, as witnessed by the turnout for her funeral. Meanwhile, the underpinnings and impact of those principles on everyone and everything we do at Earthaven might easily be taken for granted. As our regenerative culture lifestyle begins to generate distinct patterns of activity and intention, we might overlook them as the very core of who we are becoming.
Despite the many passions groups of EHers have embraced over the years—natural building, tiny houses; milpa farming; orcharding (a current one is racial equity)—what we all share is respect for and, even when we don’t realize it, the practice of basic permaculture, particularly learning about and protecting our environment, its creatures and each other from toxic materials; using waste products as resources, especially for building and enriching soil in a depleted landscape; and, when moving into other parts of the forest, working with the topography to maximize water, wind and other weather design features for safety, ease and redundancy.
above: A group of foragers finding medicinal herbs and (on lucky days) edible mushrooms.
I’ve reported before that we collectively fill only one jumbo trash can a week per ten or so residents, which means most of us find it acceptable to spend time collecting and sorting disposable paper and carbon-based material, tearing plastic tape off cardboard boxes, dragging the whole collection to various carbon sequestering sites (aka carbon dumps), while hoarding our poop and pee for their valuable fertilizing benefits. Though these practices may resemble the funk-loving behavior of hippie lifestyles led decades ago, they are the very essence of a permaculture lifestyle that can use all the bold and celebratory attention we can give them!
We are also blessed with both shared and secret sacred spaces, those serene or dazzling features of the landscape we pass through, or by, every day. Some, where we worship and celebrate together, are out in the open, and some are only known to a few, but all are proof of the mystery and magic we’re dedicated to preserving. Find out about becoming a Supporting Member and get our monthly calendar for notices of upcoming celebrations.
above: grape vine peace sculpture in the Forest Garden by Donna Ireland.