December We met at Ceri and Dave's house to have a look and think about applying permaculture design principles to their vision for a new kitchen. We produced several mind maps exploring the elements that need to be included and the many functions the redesigned kitchen will need to fulfil. We considered how energy moves through the space in terms of heat, water, flows of people, goods and processes in the space,and also wanting to create something beautiful and harmonious to live in... Many people came and all had something to suggest from the wacky to the humdrum...all was welcome and all is helpful in expanding thinking about possibilities and potential. We also shared a delicious food, and although the kitchen design has some way to go, the process is alive and we await the outcome with interest!
November At the Transition Cambridge Permaculture meeting on the 7th November members of group discussed the way ahead for the coming year. The outcome was very positive and there are two themes. Members of the group that were present will host a meeting each month at their home or a place of specific interest/relevance to them. The focus of the meeting will be to look at an aspect of their permaculture practice with one particular principle in mind. The other strand will be to set up one or more ongoing Guilds so that interested members will have the support to deepen their practice. Dates, times and venues will be posted to the Permaculture group mailing list
October Looby Macnamara is an inspirational teacher who ran a one day workshop on running groups with people care as the focus. 20 of us attended this workshop which brought new material and tools to everyone in the group as well as re-visiting some aspects of group work that were familiar to some of the group. Placing the People care ethic at it's centre, the permaculture principles were applied to working in groups and metaphors drawn from nature were included as ways to help us ensure we do not leave people out.
It is hard to put the richness of the day into words but suffice it to say that this will influence my own running of groups whether out on the allotment planting and weaving willow or in indoor teaching situations. It will also influence how I present as a group member when others are running groups. My only regret is that we were not able to organise a second day to look at our own internal ecology and work on zone 00. There are at least four of us interested in this so if this is your bag do use the contact form to let us know. We would need a minimum of about 15 people for this to go ahead.
October - Looby Macmanara talked about her new book, "People and Permaculture." Do make sure you read this book as it is essential reading for anyone who holds permaculture close to their heart.
ermaculture Magazine says: This is the first book to explore how to use permaculture design and principles for people – to restore personal, social and planetary well-being.
People & Permaculture widens the definition of permaculture, taking it right into the heart of our own lives, relationships and society, making it relevant to everyone. It provides a clear framework and guidance for both experienced permaculturists and people completely new to permaculture, and indeed for anyone who wishes to live a more creative, abundant life.
Including over 50 practical activities, People & Permaculture empowers readers with tried and tested tools to initiate positive change. It is a hands-on, powerful guide to creating a sustainable world.
A recent Book Review in Permaculture Works by Stefan Geyer: When opening up People & Permaculture it's no surprise to see ringing endorsements from such luminaries as Satish Kumar, Joanna Macy and David Holmgren as this is a great work – and a book focusing on applications of non-land based permaculture is timely.
Many of the elders involved in the permaculture movement have for a long while commented that we have had all the techniques for earth remediation for some time now, its the people in the system that need to catch up and actively change our scarcity culture to one of abundance.
People & Permaculture tackles this issue head on. It is a complex topic but Looby maps it all out, breaking it into bite-sized chunks. The breadth of the work is quite staggering, no stone is left unturned- and all done in a way that gently inspires us to bring more awareness and design into our lives.
Through dealing with ourselves we can also affect the world around us. Some key insights are Looby's Design Web approach and her bringing in Ken Wilber's integral model into a permacultural context. If you find yourself drawn to the people in your designs then this book is for you – I would also add that if you find yourself unable to fully integrate people into your designs then this book is for you too.
August- A select group from Cambridge attended the Permaculture convergence in South Wales.
It took place in the beautiful Coed Hills Rural Arts Space, run by a community of artists who are also practising permaculture.
The Swale and Bunyip Bar was aptly named as on the Friday evening we had to dig a swale inside the main marquee as there was so much water running down the surface of the field and off the tent itself.
Dave foolishly suggested during the first workshop slot that as the workshop leaders for the workshop he was attending would not be arriving till the next day that those present pool their resources and see what they could learn about the Perone Hive. The rest of the group agreed but it turned out he was the only one who knew any details about it.
There were many other workshops, the main problem being that there were many slots where there were two or three workshops I wanted to attend at once. Perhaps I should volunteer to do the timetable next time and I could ensure that I could make all the ones I wanted to?
From the Convergence ther is now an exciting proposal for an Eastern regional Convergence next year: July 19-21st. Ringsfield Hall Eco Centre, Beccles, Suffolk!
July- The London Permaculture Festival was as always filled with inspiring talks, workshops and stalls. Highlights included Looby Macmanara's talk on "People and Permaculture," the title of her new book. I think all who attended this were struck by how incredibly grounded she is as a person. Do think about going to her workshop on 27th October here in Cambridge. Other highlights were Spencer's talk on biodynamics, the session on Patterns in Permaculture and the Celidh at the end.
April - Permaculture Gardening course in Trumpington.
Despite heavy rain, a group of 22 permaculture enthusiasts convened for this course led by Chris Evans. We observed natural systems as the starting point for designing and cultivating productive gardens and allotments. The practical element was hands-on multi-layer mulching and planting two polyveg beds. More photos and videos here. Plus our bring-and-share lunches and cakes were great sustenance for learning in adverse weather...
February - Willow weaving and Hedge Laying at Trumpington Allotment site.
Over two weekends a living willow screen was built around the area used for bee keeping. This will provide a windbreak, early pollen for the bees and encourage them to fly upwards on leaving the hives, making it less likely that they will bother nearby allotment holders after hives have been opened up which can cause them to be a bit tetchy. The willow screen will be coppiced yearly, providing willow for building projects and/or biomass.
January- Seed swap in Trumpington!
||Over 120 people came to this in addition to the organisers and stall holders. One highlight was John Dickie's talk about his work as head of the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens. He stressed that this was a 'bank' in the sense that withdrawals could be made as well as deposits. This is done to allow threatened species to be re-introduced to their original habitats.
Ceri talked about seed saving and chitting seeds to assess their viability. As well as the swapping of seeds, there were also stalls from Trumpington Community Orchard, Trumpington Allotment Society and Transition Cambridge.