[permaculture] Permaculturist Michael Pilarski: Local farmer starts library focused on regenerative agriculture | Port Townsend Leader

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Mon Feb 3 11:24:38 EST 2020

Local farmer starts library focused on regenerative agriculture

[image: Michael Pilarski, a farmer and advocate for regenerative
agriculture, has opened a reference library of books on farming practices,
plants, trees, climate and more.]
Michael Pilarski, a farmer and advocate for regenerative agriculture, has
opened a reference library of books on farming practices, plants, trees,
climate and more.
Leader photo by Lily Haight
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2020 3:00 am
*Lily Haight*
lhaight at ptleader.com

Michael Pilarski has been collecting books on agriculture and earth repair
for 40 years. Now, with a library of information at his fingertips, he
wants to share it with Jefferson County’s citizens.

“Most of my spare income over the years has gone to accumulate these
books,” he said, sitting in his new public reference library that is
covered wall-to-wall with books.

The shelves in his new space, located at 10644 Rhody Drive in Port Hadlock
in the Ness’ Corner Building, contain old and new books covering a wide
range of topics: from herbal medicine to climate change, permaculture
design to mushroom foraging, native plants to tropical species.

“I’ve always wanted a library,” he said, surrounded by just a fraction of
the books he actually owns—he confesses to six more book cases full at his

“I thought, if I want to spend all this money on books, then they should be
for the public,” he said. “That helped me justify it.”

Anyone can come to the library and take a look at any of the books—although
they are just for reading inside the building, not checking out and taking
home. It is open on Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10
a.m. to 5 p.m. The space is comfortably decorated with plants, a sofa,
chairs to read in and tables to do research at. There are also a few books
available for sale.

WSU Extension also has a selection of books on small-scale farming, says
Kellie Henwood, the small farms coordinator, as well as quite a few
editions of the Small Farmers Journal that people can reference.

“This is a classic journal from Lynn Miller that started out for
horse-drawn farming practices, but has gained popularity in the small farms
world,” Henwood said. “We had a generous donation from a local person of
her collection.” But when it comes to size, Pilarski likely has the largest
collections of books on ecosystem restoration and regenerative agriculture
in the entire county.

He hopes it will become a space where young farmers, gardeners and anyone
who is interested will come to learn and become more dedicated to
regenerative agriculture and earth repair.

Pilarski—also called “Skeeter” by friends and acquaintances alike—isn’t a
librarian, although he has read most of the books on his shelves. He has
been a farmer since childhood, working the land since he was in second
grade. His organic farming career began in 1972, when he was 25. Since
then, he has grown increasingly passionate about regenerative agriculture
and global earth repair, terms he hopes will become more popular as
everyday people in Jefferson County join the movement to help repair and
regenerate earth’s ecosystems, many of which have been damaged by modern
farming techniques.

In 1978, he founded the Friends of the Trees Society, and started the first
Festival of Trees in Port Townsend, a yearly tradition of celebrating trees
that lasted for 20 years.

Since the 80s, he has been teaching permaculture design courses—classes
that instruct farmers in how to mimic natural ecosystems to grow food. Last
year, he hosted the first ever Global Earth Repair Conference, that brought
speakers from across the nation to Fort Worden to discuss the state of the

Now, beyond offering his reference library to the public for perusal, he
will also be hosting a series of workshops in his new space, with lectures
about everything from agroforestry to regenerative farming and making
biochar. Some of the courses will be led by Pilarski, others by local
herbalists and farmers like Denise Joy and David Yarrow.

The space also acts as a combined office for the Global Earth Repair
Foundation and Friends of the Trees Society, two organizations Pilarski
started. It will be a place where he can host classes, but also have
meetings to plan events like the upcoming Global Earth Repair Foundation
Meeting (date to be determined) in which local farmers, environmentalists
and scientists will discuss the state of Jefferson County’s climate, and
what we can do to help repair the earth in our own backyard.

To learn more about Pilarski’s upcoming workshops or to learn more about
his reference library, visit his website, friendsofthetrees.net.

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