Jan 212015
 
 

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My guest for this episode is Katrina Blair, author of the wonderful book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds recently released by Chelsea Green. Katrina lives in Durango, Colarado at Turtle Lake Refuge, home to the Turtle Lake Community Farm and Wild Food CSA, and Local Wild Life Cafe.

In this interview we discuss her book and the thirteen plants for human survival and her criteria for selecting these specific plants. We also talk about food and the inclusion of wild plants for human health and nutrition, and plants as medicine. Katrina also shares with us how she uses community celebration and festivals as a way to promote positive change, rather than having to fight directly about an issue. She also answers listener questions on which plant has the most potential to feed the world, what is the fourteenth plant she would include on her list, and what to do with bindweed also known as wild morning glory.

If you are interested in wild foods this is a great interview and book to start with. Katrina’s inclusion of recipes throughout the book make eating any of these thirteen plants easier. No digging through internet forums wondering how to prepare dandelion root, or what to pair with your chickweed. All of that is included here. Once you have begun exploring these foods then I recommend you listen to Sam Thayer and Arthur Haines (Part 1) (Part 2) to learn more about foraging and harvesting wild plants to include more in your diet.

You can meet Katrina, in addition to the annual Dandelion Festival, at the Northeast Organic Farming Association Winter Conference on January 31st. Then she’ll be at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Farming for the Future conference. That event is from February 3 – 7, 2015.

You can find out more about the book by reading the New York Times review. If you are interested in the 5 DVD set mentioned by Markus Rothkranz it is Free Food and Medicine.

Read Katrina’s work and investigate the world around you to learn about the plants we call weeds. The ones that grow in disturbed soil but have potential to heal earth and our bodies. As we eat better and feel better and reconnect with a sense of place we can move from destruction to sustainable, to regenerative practices. A first step could be a forkful of wild, wonderful weeds.

Wherever you are on your path I am here to assist you in whatever way I can. Get in touch.

Call: 717-827-6266
Email: show@thepermaculturepodcast.com

Write:

The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018

I would like to end by thanking everyone who helps to keep this podcast running, as I depend on your generous gifts to pay for web hosting, software, equipment, and to provide a small income from the work that goes into this show. You make all of this possible. If you are in a place to assist the show please do so by going to www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support and making a one-time or recurring donation.

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 Posted by at 08:00
Jan 142015
 
 

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My guest for this episode is Brad Lancaster author of the Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond series, of which the first book is now available in a revised and updated second edition.

In this episode Brad and I discuss the value of infiltrating water into the soil so that it becomes a resource that we invest during water rich times and withdraw from that bank only when needed during dry times. As Brad’s work includes more than just drylands the conversation also includes ideas for storing water in rich areas. Along the way we also look at several listener questions including fog harvesting, using living systems to hand wet basements, and observing to find the right match for plants suitable to wet clay soils.

What I really enjoyed about this conversation was Brad’s continued reference to creating and using living systems. This was something reinforced to me during my permaculture education by a teacher training instructor Rico Zook. Rico said that we have to design ourselves out of the system. Whether we are working our backyard or in international aid we are only there for a limited amount of time with a restricted pool of resources. The ideal is that our designs will be integrated to the point that they are resilient and functional when we are no longer available to directly oversee them. I also think of the importance, especially in designing for disasters, or systems that can survive if they are damaged by a storm, negligence, or ill-intent. The principles and ethics of permaculture provide an excellent foundation for that, and Brad’s work adds to the strategies available for harvesting water.

If after listening to this episode you would like to hear another perspective on water harvesting I recommend checking out my earlier interview with Craig Sponholtz of Watershed Artisans. That conversation compliments what Brad said here and reminds me that life is the way to slow down the forces of entropy and recycle resources in the landscape and in our lives.

Other resource of interest:
Brad’s blog post on Fog Harvesting
David Eisenberg and the Development Center for Appropriate Technology
Zephaniah Phiri Maseko’s biography at National Geographic

I know I’ve referred to it before, but when thinking about water I come back to the saying from the disaster preparedness community. We can survive three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Water is vital to our health, well-being, and ability to grow food. If we are to build a regenerative civilization using life sustaining systems we need to insure the availability of clean water wherever we wish to live. We need to harvest water. We need to save water when we have a surplus so we can use it when there is a deficit. That is the way that we can borrow from ourselves rather than go into debt to future generations.

Wherever you are on your permaculture journey, I am here to help you. Get in touch.

Call: 717-827-6266
Email: show@thpermaculturepodcast.com
Write:

The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018.

You can also find me on Facebook at: facebook.com/thepermaculturepodcast and on Twitter where I am @permaculturecst

Until the next time, create a better world each day by taking care of earth, your self, and each other.

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 Posted by at 09:00
Jan 052015
 
 

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This episode is a look back over 2014 and the guests that garnered the most responses from listeners, as well as some of my favorites, and the guest who I have received the most comments in the history of the podcast.

If you are someone new to the show or have been listening for some time, this is a good primer on episodes to go back and listen to and get a feel for what you will find in the back catalog. If you’ve been listening for a while you may have already heard some of these or, if you are like me and have listened to all the hundreds of episodes in the archives, you might can check out some of the great shows in the archives.

I did not want to do a normal top five or top ten list, so left how many folks to feature up to chance and rolled two six-sided dice to see how many to select, then of the one most popular guests was actually a duo, leaving us with the top 9 most interviewees of this year. In no particular order, and with a brief description of the interview, they are:

Marisha Auerbach who joined me to discuss urban permaculture and the role of preserving bio-diversity in that space.

Ben Weiss and Wilson Alvarez were on the show several times and talked about their Rewilding efforts, and to answer listener questions about their 2013 interview “Restoring Eden”. You can hear more about the piece that started it all through this link: Restoring Eden

Natasha Alvarez and I sat down to talk about Permaculture as Revolution and how, through her project The Year of Black Clothing, she found more love for the world and how to take action to protect Earth. Listen and find your own connections to this place we call home and how to make a difference in your own way.

Eric Puro of ThePOOSH.org discussed the organization, natural building, and finding solutions from local resources. He also encourages anyone who wants to do this, or any other kind of permaculture work, to go out there, get your hands dirty, and get digging.

Rhamis Kent (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) was the first guest in the Faith and Earthcare series. Through multiple episodes Rhamis provided an open perspective on Islam and the tenets of faith that leads us to understand how this religion implores the faithful to care for the earth and one another. If your main exposure to Islam is through the nightly news, give this one a listen and gain a better understanding of this faith.

Adam Campbell (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) spent nearly three hours with me discussing permaculture and education and the operations at the Peace and Permaculture Center where he lives along with other members of the Possbility Alliance.

Tradd Cotter joined me to discuss his latest book, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, an incredible work that demystifyies mushrooms and makes the practice of propagation and remediation more accessible for anyone interesting in playing with fungi.

and finally that brings us to

Mark Shepard (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) whose interview on a single day yielded nearly three hours of finished material spread across three episodes of the podcast. He shared with us his background and, through the lens of listener questions, the practices of restoration agriculture.

My personal favorites from this year, excluding any that may have already been mentioned above, include Byron Joel, for having such an honest conversation with me and still allowing what became very personal and private to be made public. Rachel Kaplan, my first interview guest ever, for coming back onto the show after all these years for another great conversation. Two other interviews that really strike me are the ones with Karryn Olson-Ramanujan and Derrick Jensen. Both of those conversations challenged my perspectives in ways that I wasn’t ready for, and I still reflect on how to make permaculture more accessible and diverse, while also fitting it into the larger context of protecting and repairing the earth.

In looking back over 2014 there remains one final question. Who was the biggest guest of all time on the show? Was it someone from the past year? No. That was someone who has not appeared since 2013, Ethan Hughes (Part 1: Radical Possibilities) (Part 2: Practical Possibilities). His conversations then and in 2012 about the Possibility Alliance really inspired many listeners to make changes in their lives and reach out to let me know of the impact it had. The work of all the members of the Possibility Alliance and Stillwater Sanctuary to live without petrol or electricity speaks to an authenticity in living our lives that many desire to move towards.

Those conversations with Ethan Hughes continues to influence my way of thinking and is one of the many reasons for moving the podcast and my online permaculture work towards a gift economy. If you are a student looking for a Permaculture Design Course, let me know. If you are a permaculture teacher organizing a class you want to spread the word about, let me know. If you are an organizer planning a permaculture convergence, a permablitz, or some other permaculture gathering or project, let me know. As I always say: I am here to help.

Call: 717-827-6266
Email: show@thepermaculturepodcast.com
Send me a letter:

The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018

If you are in a place to lend a hand of assistance to the show go to www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support and make a one time or ongoing monthly gift to keep the interviews from people creating a better world on the air. I greatly appreciate your help in this work.

I hope you are having a happy New Year in 2015. I’ll join you next week with another interview. Until then, take care of earth, yourself, and each other.

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 Posted by at 18:00
Dec 312014
 
 

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This episode is a look forward to 2015 and where things are going.

All in all 2014 was a pretty incredible year for this podcast. Over fifty interviews and fifty shorter episodes produced and released. In addition to that I took the show on the road to the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA, CHABACON in New Jersey, the Finger Lakes Permaculture Tour in New York, and a permaculture farm tour through Virginia. Yes, there were some rough spots in the beginning of the year, but things picked up and got flowing smoothly as time went on. As this year draws to a close, what is in store for the year ahead?

First, on a personal level with some impact on the show, I’ll be completing graduate school in May, 2015. As this episode goes up I am in the middle of my internship which wraps up my course of study. To finish out my education strong I need that to be main professional priority. I’m interning with a local non-profit as a grant writer and event organizer which in turn I want to bring to the permaculture community once I’m done. In order to focus on that I am going to continue with the current schedule of releasing one interview a week until such time as I am no longer a formal student, and to have a bit of downtime to enjoy the accomplishment of earning my Master’s degree. Then in June I’ll move to two shows a week on an ongoing basis, organized so that we have a better balance between practical, “how to practice permaculture in the landscape?” episodes and others that examine the more philosophical questions like, “how does all this fit together in a larger context?”

Thanks to all the responses to a recent post on Facebook asking for guest suggestions, I have enough potential interviews to see us through until August or September if everyone says “Yes”. To keep that list growing please let me know if you have anyone in mind who you would like to hear on the show, including follow-ups with past guests.

Second, I plan to continue to take the show on the road to tour sites and perform more in-person interviews. Tradd Cotter invited John, Layne, and I down to tour Mushroom Mountain so that is definitely on the list, as is going to Philadelphia to sit down with Pandora Thomas of EarthSeed Consulting and Robyn Mello of the Philadelphia Orchard Project. I am always looking for additional ideas of places to visit, as my time and budget allow, so let me know if you have any suggestions.

Something else I really want to do is to sit down and record more round table discussions with groups of permaculture practitioners. Travel to a town, sit down with three or four people from the region or an organization and have a conversation that can later be released as an episode of the podcast. That could be something we do in front of a live audience, or as a fundraiser if you wanted to by collecting donations at the door. Let me know if you would like to host such an event and we can work out the details.

Third, I’m moving my online permaculture work towards a gift economy, not just for listener support of the podcast proper, but also for sponsorships, class announcements, and any other service I can provide to the community. I feel that in order for others to know that a different way is possible we must try another way and show that the system that exists isn’t the only way for us to live productive lives. I know for many of the permaculture courses and projects out there money is a barrier and a burden for many, so I want to lend a hand. We all have surpluses beyond the financial that can make a big difference in the world and I’d like to have those be a larger focus of my work moving forward. Let’s work together and make something happen. More talking. More collaborating. More action.

This idea of using a gift economy and more talking moving forward also applies to the online Permaculture Design Course I’ve been running over the last year and a half. I’ve been contacted by a number of individuals who want to take a PDC, but who do not, for whatever reason, have the financial means to do so. Through my own personal journey I have also discovered that I work best with small groups and one-on-one so am focus my educating of others through direct interaction via email, phone, and online meeting spaces. If you are interested in this kind of PDC experience, please let me know.
That spirit of collaboration includes that thought of editing a 21st Century Designers’ manual. I don’t want to write it, but rather organize the collection of materials to go into it, perhaps as an annual digest. I’ve received feedback from several folks interested in the idea and want to hear from you if you want to get involved or know someone who you feel should contribute materials. I’m still setting up the ideas for this, and look to the fall of 2015 as the time when I put together the formal proposal, but would like input now so that the idea can mature with multiple inputs rather than just my own.
With the idea of doing, one of my personal goals is to share more of my personal projects with you whatever those may be. As I work in an incremental fashion, picking away at something in pieces, we can explore different ideas as they develop over time.

Another goal, that is a mix of personal and professional, is that I am looking to acquire several acres of land in 2015 that I can begin converting into a private permaculture center in central Pennsylvania to show working models of the different ideas we talk about grounded in a sense of place. I’d like use that space to host ongoing, regular events and gatherings for the community where we can come together and have face time in a place that embodies the work that we are doing. I find that time together, in person, really helps to build community. In turn we can get to know one another and work together to create solutions and try out different things. Some questions that come to mind that I would like to explore include:

What is it like to coppice with a billhook or a pull saw?
What about recharging batteries with a solar panel for an electric chainsaw?
What are the best methods for establishing and raising mushrooms off the grid?
What does a human scale site without heavy equipment look like? Because I have a particular bent when it comes to permaculture my thoughts on a human scale are not large like Mark Shepard, but also not totally without electricity or petrol like Ethan Hughes.

Together we can ask and answer our own questions, add to the body of permaculture knowledge, and walk away with additional skills to take back to our own lives and communities.

Get in touch with me of anytime along the way there is any way I can help you. I am here to assist you on your path in whatever way possible.

Email: show@thepermaculturepodcast.com
Call: 717-827-6266

You can also send me a letter:

The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018

And, as I wrap things up, if you are able, please support the podcast through a one-time or ongoing monthly gift so I can continue to release material openly for anyone to find and listen to. Find out how at: www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support.

Until the next time, take care of your self, the earth, and each other.

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 Posted by at 06:00
Dec 262014
 
 

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My guest for this episode is the author and environmental activist Derrick Jensen. Some of his books include A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, and the two volume set that introduced me to his work, Endgame.

As with the Dave Jacke interview, this is an intense and open conversation. We talk about the natural world, our role as human beings within it, and the violence that occurs when we become disconnected from that sense of place. We end with how we all have a role in making a difference and caring for Earth; this place that is our home.

If you are familiar with Derrick’s writing this interview takes much the same progression moving in a non-linear fashion that draws together a number of ideas to make a point. The language he uses is often blunt and direct. There is no mincing of words and the conversation can get uncomfortable at times with the frank questions about cultural and societal violence. This is one of the few shows that may not be for everyone, but is worth listening to if you are open to the topics at hand.

Thank you for joining me for this interview. The intensity of what we covered leaves me in a place where I am still examining what he shared in the context of permaculture and creating a better world. This conversation leaves me questioning my role in continuing to participate in the framework of the culture in which I exist. What can I do to lessen my own harm?

We all have a role in doing something positive for life here on Earth. What that is varies so widely that we share the path, but are on our own journeys.

With that, I leave you to consider your own place and what you can do to make a difference. As always, I am here to help you in whatever way I can. Get in touch.

Email: show@thepermaculturepodcast.com
Call: 717-827-6266
Write:

The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018

From here the next episode of the show, on December 31st, 2014, discusses the plan for the podcast in 2015. January 7th begins the New Year by looking back over the best of 2014.

May the remainder of this year be bountiful for all of you as you take care of earth, your self, and each other.

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 Posted by at 08:00