Local PC organizing - What works and what does not.- H.E.L.P project

harold waldock haroldw at alternatives.com
Thu Apr 16 20:17:09 EDT 1998


I followed the earlier posts about pc growth with interest.

Here in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, the Permaculture Movement is slowly slowly
growing.  There has not been a full design course in the province for 2
years and the one just south of the border got shortened to a weekend

I sometimes wonder if permaculture is just going to become a "ripple in
time" of just a few idealists, connected to the '60's "happenings" and 70's
"communities" around here.  Most of the local environmental nonprofit
expenditure is focussed on saving world class biodiversity of BC forests
from government and the transnationals.

I have been dreaming and scheming of ways to get the invisible structures
in place so that it can all be more possible.  We have the Vancouver
Permaculture Network a small small organisation doing various things and
holding short workshops since '93 but not really growing.  Serious
effective advertising needs to happen here.  Word of mouth is not

The people who need and ask for permaculture the most are the least able to
pay or get the time off.  The people most able to pay do so the least and
feel the need the least.

We cannot show yet that permaculture offers a secure, sane, simple and
sustainable reasonable life stlye. (for others than those who do not have
to pay for the full price of their land.)  Even people who have been more
or less successfully (a coarse measure: they are not in debt and have now
significant capital in house and land) living it for 10 - 15 years are not
sure of their success.

One thing that has been very hard is to give people reasonable steps to
make a new life.
 1) Read about it in a magazine or newspaper or newsletter and see an
evening talk or see a pc video
2)take a weekend workshop on gardening techniques
find a garden and plant
find success.
3) Take a full permaculture design course
4) find a job that has strong pc elements.
5) start a business with strong pc elements
6) become somewhat secure. Have surpluses to share: teach

Step two is for the skilled types, 3 is rare and 4 is for a few only.
3 PC teachers locally, people with 15 years since their first course,
openly wonder if they have been successful, and live right on the line
(they say): little surplus.  When I describe their strengths and success or
invite them to speak or do a workshop they seem a little suprised.

Each transition  0-1 1-2 etc should have teachers and trainers,
demonstrations and working examples and internships.

We do have some success:  The project below has been popular.  The
following message came on our listserv permanw-l at alternatives.com
(permaculture north west  subscribe to it by putting subscribe in the
subject line of a message)

This is a classic permaculture implementation group - we need to find
effective ways in supporting our organizers.

>April 15, 1998

>Design Parties and Work Parties will be held at various residential sites
>in Vancouver from April to June 1998.  Design participants will experience
>a process that involves gathering data, brainstorming, analysis and design.
> At Work Parties we will implement these designs using Permaculture plants
>and techniques.  Cost is sliding scale $5 to $25 for Design Parties, no
>charge for Work Parties.

>Here is the present schedule, as of April 15, 1998.  Please note that all
>events require RSVP.  For now, call me at 873-9599.  I hope soon that I
>will find someone to help me with the administering of this.

>DATE            EVENT                           LOCATION
>Apr 15/16       Design Party                    2718 Dundas
>Apr 22/23       Design Party                    1267 E 13th
>Apr 29          Video Presentation              SPEC: 2150 Maple
>Apr 30          Work Party: Pond Blding 27 W 14th
>May 7           Possible Design Party   Champlain Heights
>May 20          Presentation at N2N     TBA
>May 21          Work Party: Plantings   878 E 38th
>June 10/11      Design Party                    4231 Sophia

>At present, all events are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday evenings
>from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.  There are more events that will be added.  I hope we
>can do more work at Cottonwood this year.  I will keep you posted.

>!!!!HOT TIPS!!!!

>Good King Henry (a perennial spinach) and Welsh Onion (perennial scallions)
>are available at Gardenworks in Burnaby.

>I am growing out several experimental species, including edible Mallows and
>Campanulas at my home.  Later announcements will give a list.

>John Tabak says he has some fennel and lovage to donate to HELP.  Lovage is
>actually quite tasty right now, i.e. early spring.

>-Cabot Lyford for
>27 West 14th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1W7
>phone: (604) 873-9599
>email: clyford at alternatives.com


I'd be glad for either a revealing discussion by people who do things or
some email sent directly to me.  I don't know you all either - please
introduce yourselves.

Harold Waldock
Edible Landscape Creations
Vancouver Permaculture Network: http://www.alternatives.com/vpn
haroldw at alternatives.com
pgr/vmbox: 604 645-9529

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