The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1472: Community Development at the Indiana Community Gardens with Dr. Amanda Poole


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    My guest for this episode is Dr. Amanda Poole an Environmental Anthropology professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

    During our conversation today Dr. Poole and I discuss her work with students in partnering with the Indiana Community Gardens to create a community development site. That work includes activities like seed swaps or the growing of culturally significant flowers, to language development for foreign born students. Like the conversation with Brad Ward about international development, I consider this interview important for all the ways we can engage using permaculture through culturally relevant means, all without needing to mention P-word. We can engage people directly where they are, and indirectly introduce the ideas and concepts of ecological design and permaculture. This provides a context for the work we do, because that context matters and allows people to see examples of what we are doing, and in turn understand that design, permaculture, and community development all have a place in creating the world we want to live in.

    The work of Dr. Poole and her students at the Indiana Community Gardens provide one such model for that.

    As an educator, with an environmental ed background, one of the things that I like about what she’s doing is that it provides a hands-on multi-discipline approach to learning. Here students are able to take what they are learning in the class room, share it with others, and see the direct impacts of this kind of work.

    I like that it’s more than just a narrow niche to focus on, but broadly based in the community. David Holmgren and others have said that permaculture wasn’t about just design and teaching, but much much more. Chapter fourteen of the Designers’ Manual is the same way. Let’s take what we know, let’s take what we’re good at, and bring it forth into the world in a way that cares for the world that we live in, for all life, and in a way that shares the surplus freely.

    If this is something you are doing already or would like help getting started with, I’m here to help. If I don’t have an answer, I know plenty of people in the community who do. Together we can work to create a better world, by design.

    Dr. Amanda Poole
    Indiana Community Gardens
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    The Appalachian Teaching Project
    Julian StewardCultural Ecology

    Thank You To Our Sponsor
    I’d like to thank Jen Mendez at for her ongoing sponsorship of the program. We continue to have a dialog about bridging the gap between children and adult learners in education and permaculture. Find out more about her work at There you will also find information about her series of Edge Alliance webinars, as well as her Educational Design Course.

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