Rainwater Harvesting and Greywater Management

Steve-o (right) is helping Mr. Brad Lancaster (left, holding the filter) with a demonstration on installing Rainwater catchment barrels. We were very fortunate to have Brad come and hang out with us for over a week all the way from Tucson, Arizona. While he was here, he gave three presentations on Residential Rainwater and Greywater Harvesting. Not only is Brad extremely charming, but he is very smart. He even wrote a book! It's called Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond. He autographed my copy. This is Josh Kearns. He does a whole lot of different things. Read how incredible he is here.
He also gave a presentation at AVI about taking the water that comes off of our roof( which is plastered with asphalt shingles) and turning it into drinking water. He used sand, gravel, carbon from the aquarium supply store and a five gallon bucket. We were lucky to have him with us for about a week too. He will be down south thru the summer before he heads back to Thailand this fall. We miss you already, Josh.

Mr. Chuck Marsh and Brad having a "moment". AVI is just one big cuddle puddle. Mr. Marsh is a very busy, experienced Permaculture gardener who will be presenting during our certification courses. Ian is a neighbor and he is also taking the Permaculture Certification Course with us. We have about thirty people in our class and we meet the last weekend of every month thru October to cover the 72 hour course.

Janell and Mrs. Barbara, another neighbor, last weekend during the workshops.

Josh building and demonstrating our rainwater filter.

Our first class of the season. Unbelievable stuff.


Getting Ready for Our Summer...

We have all come together in downtown Asheville to live and work together. We have decided to experiment how to learn and live a Permaculture life in an urban setting. At this moment, there are four houses and one backyard. Five of us living at the
Ashevillage Institute;
Valli (me)
Janell the Founding Director lives in one of the houses next door, Meka lives in the "Garottage" and the rest of our community involves the best supportive neighbors possible who are involved in this with us.
here goes.....
Meka is helping clean out the greenhouse and getting it ready for all our little baby plants. Some students from Warren Wilson College came to AVI (Ashevillage Institute) for a couple of weekends and lent us alot of helping hands. They helped us build platforms for tents, mulch beds, and the back patio.
So our inventory of little babies include:
Butter Lettuce
Swiss Chard
Sweet Basil
Italian Dandelion
Ben, our master gardener, has made a seed mixture of clover, mustard greens, lettuce, kale, arugula, and chicory. The clover is a non-invasive perennial that will allow the edibles to grow, inject nitrogen into the starving soil, and also hold the remaining soil to the hillside. (see below)
Ben and Samson figuring out how and where to grow our food. These are raised beds built up and bordered with urbanite (scavenged and broken concrete), stone, bottles, and various repurposed items mixed in. To get the beds ready we have hauled in numerous things to go along with our composting. So far we have found people who were willing to give us lots of horse poop, woodchips, tons of leaf mulch, and some hot hot compost mixture of zoo poop and straw. Thank you, Brother Hug, Mountain Hopes, and WNC Nature Center!


Definition of Permaculture

In the mid 1970s, two Australians, Dr. Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, started to develop ideas that they hoped could be used to create stable agricultural systems. This was a result of their perception of a rapidly growing use of destructive industrial-agricultural methods. They saw that these methods were poisoning the land and water, reducing biodiversity, and removing billions of tons of soil from previously fertile landscapes. A design approach called "permaculture" was their response and was first made public with the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. The term permaculture initially meant "permanent agriculture" but this was quickly expanded to also stand for "permanent culture" as it was seen that social aspects were an integral part of a truly sustainable system. Mollison and Holmgren are widely considered to be the co-originators of the modern permaculture concept.
Permaculture. A copyright word, owned as a common copyright by the Permaculture Institutes & their graduates. Derived from ‘Permanent’ and ‘Culture’, as follows:
Permanent: From the Latin permanens, to remain to the end, to persist throughout (per = through, manere = to continue)
Culture: From the Latin cultura - cultivation of land, or the intellect. Now generalized to mean all those habits, beliefs, or activities than sustain human societies.
Thus, Permaculture is the study of the design of those sustainable or enduring systems that support human society, both agricultural & intellectual, traditional & scientific, architectural, financial & legal. It is the study of integrated systems, for the purpose of better design & application of such systems. Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions rather than asking only one yield of them & of allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions.