The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1473: Harmony Edible Forest Garden with Trish Wright


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    My guest for this episode is Trish Wright, a recent permaculture design certificate graduate developing an urban Food Forest in Roanoke, Virginia. We recorded this conversation in-person as part of my visit to the area.

    When Trish contacted me about her work I wanted to interview her and see her project because she is practicing urban permaculture. With more than half of people worldwide living in cities we need to see and understand the examples of what works where people are. Let’s go there and practice.

    In additional to that city piece, I also wanted to talk with Trish because she’s relatively new to permaculture and has a different perspective from many of the guests who have devoted years to this material through the practices of design, teaching, or authoring books on the subject. May her voice inspire those of you who are just discovering this system of design to go out there and get your hands dirty. For those of you who have done this for a while, what about going out to explore and try something different. Start a new guild you’ve never thought of before. Tear up an old design and put a new one on paper.

    Some things that stand out from this conversation are about how much you can do with not a lot of space. Two-thousand square feet, what Trish originally started with, is less than 1/20th of an acre, yet she has dozens of species of plants there useful to her and the wildlife, and is developing several guilds to expand and integrate into the forest garden.

    With wildlife, she’s also planting for other species, such as food for her groundhog, pollinator plants for the pollinators, and also water features for birds, snakes, and amphibians. We work with nature rather than against it and can do a lot of good in our designs by including such things, and expands the system to have more yields even if they don’t appear to benefit us directly by producing food or meeting a human need.

    Finally, I did a lot of what Trish did to gain experience early on volunteering for more experience. If you’re interested in hanging out a sign and doing design, spend a few years working on designs for others whatever chance you get. Here Trish is doing work with the Goodwill and a farm. I worked with a church, and a local non-profit. I’ve had people contact me with questions through Facebook. An old friend of mine, a single father with six children, has been consulting with me via text messages.

    There are many people who want this information and your help so ask around. Put yourself out there. Tell people what you are doing and you’ll get the assignments you need to help build your portfolio of permaculture design work.

    If there is any way I can help you get in touch with local groups or organizations to help you get started, let me know. I’m here to help you create a better world, every day.

    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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