Our Permaculture Design Course begins!

Today was the first day of our 14-day permaculture design course.
We headed into the woods to our outdoor classroom and were blessed with beautiful weather all day long. After instructors Patricia Allison and Chuck Marsh lead us through an introduction circle and welcoming of the directions, we got down to the business of what is permaculture. Permaculture is many things and you can take a course and read a lot of material about what it is, but basically, it's an ethical design system for ecological living that observes and integrates natural patterns and solutions to sustain and regenerate our lives and communities. Yeah, that's a mouthful. What I like a lot is that permaculture is a positive, solution-oriented movement that focuses on 4 primary ethics: 1. Care of Earth, 2. Care of humans, 3. Share the surplus and 4. Respect the intrinsic value of all living Beings. Juicy stuff! Again, you really gotta take a course or do some reading to get all the juicy tidbits of each of these principles. After a morning of Evidence, Ethics & Empowerment, we enjoyed a potluck feast. In the afternoon, Shawn taught us about sheet mulching and we did a hands-on project. Here, Robin and Lloyd collect compost which will fill the holes in the mulch and into which we'll be planting. Healthy soil is da bomb! Can't be livin' and lovin' without it! Katie and Travis collect grass clippings which a neighbor had generously dumped in our woods. Thanks! A lot of people think grass clippings are "yard waste" but we learned that they're a valuable resource of nitrogen and can be composted or mulched to be turned back into healthy soil. Like a lasagne, we layered cardboard and mulch over the lawn in front, dug holes which were filled with compost and potting soil and then day lillies were planted. Sheet mulching is great for getting rid of lawns which aren't very useful and being able to plant useful plants right away. We planted day lillies which are medicinal, edible and ornamental. Here, Janell defines the keyhole path in the day lilly bed.
All in all, a very inspiring day!

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