Black Mesa Permaculture Project

David Fuller sol3az at
Sun Jul 7 14:12:37 EDT 1996

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Sonoran Desert!

Sorry we couldn't get back before this.  People have 
been traveling.  But here is a short report on the Black 
Mesa Permaculture Project workshop that ran on the 
Navajo land in Arizona.


Each year, the workshop gets better and our outreach 
more diverse.  This year, our fifth, we had attendees 
from the Yaqui Reservation in southern Arizona, Lakota 
Sioux from South Dakota, A member of the Traditional 
Native American Farmers' Association (TNAFA), as well as 
local Dineh from the Navajo Reservation.  In addition, 
students included people involved in projects with 
indigenous people in South Africa and Israel/Palestine.  
Other attendees came from as far west and east as Hawaii 
and Vermont.

BMPP took a big step forward in 1996.  We will be doing 
follow-up work with the Sioux folks.  Justin Willy, our 
lead instructor, has already traveled to South Dakota as 
a consultant with them.  He will also be helping the 
TNAFA, an emerging Indigenous agricultural network, at 
their permaculture workshop in New Mexico (July 22 - 
August 2).  More details from them at (505) 983-2172.  
We have also discussed future projects with the San 
Carlos Apache in Arizona, and our work continues with 
the Shoshone in Nevada.

The course had its best year financially as well.  Even 
with the low fee ($250), we were able to finance the 
scholarships of all the Indigenous attendees, cover 
material and travel expenses with enough of a surplus to 
help with supplies and vehicle maintenance for other 
summer projects.  Since our motive is not profit, a 
little money can go a long way.

We added two new instructors this year and now have 
four.  Wayne O'Daniel, a local Dineh (Navajo), is trying 
to integrate permaculture with traditional farming 
practices, and will be available at his homesite to 
accommodate interested people who would like to come and 
work and learn and teach.  Henry Soto also taught, and 
will continue to be part of our team.  He practices 
organic gardening, as well as collecting and 
disseminating native seed stocks with the nonprofit 
Native Seeds Search, which specializes in gathering and 
distributing the heritage seeds of the American 
Southwest.  They joined Justin Willy and Dan Dorsey (our 
token white male!).  We lost George Crittenden, a 
Cherokee Indian, to California, but we are still in 
touch and look forward to his future participation.

Perhaps the most rewarding experience for all of us was 
the hug and thanks from our students.  The Workshop 
takes place in remote reservation areas and provides a 
unique cultural as well as a learning experience.  Our 
focus on making the course culturally comfortable for 
Native People sets a tone or ambiance that folk attuned 
to such things appreciate.

We are also testing the breeze for another workshop in 
the Fall.  Groups and individuals interested in 
participating with work crews throughout the year should 
get in touch with us.  We do not have paid internships, 
but can provide room and board, primitive as it is, and 
are willing to cooperate if you have a scholastic plan.  
Also please inform  those of your readers who contacted 
us that we are sorry that we were not able to get back 
to all of them.  Clerical stuff is our weakness, but we 
are still here, still interested, and hopefully better 
able to address their needs.  We would also be willing 
to collaborate on a more in-depth article for a future 
PIJ issue.

Best regards,
		Jack Strasburg.

P.S. Our EcoNet and Internet outreach was well 
worthwhile, with friends appearing all over the world to 
list us on Web sites and lists (such as yourselves), and to ask 
about the workshop via email.  Truly a virtual community 
that has its roots firmly planted in the Earth.

Contact people:

Justin Willy, P.O.B. 5350, Leupp, AZ 86035, USA.  Tel: 
(520) 526-6680 (Messages).

Jack Strasburg, 825 S. 'E' Street, Oxenard, CA 93030, 
USA.  Tel: (805) 486-1551.

David Fuller, Email: sol3az at, Tel/Fax: (520) 

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