Thinking Ahead . . .

1 03 2010

               I was born on Vancouver Island, and grew up just outside of Victoria in the town of Sidney.  I have lived in Canmore and Banff, Alberta for the last three years, as well a season in the Okanagan.  I absolutely love the mountains, and as we reach the half-way point in the BSc program I can feel my feet getting itchy for a move.  I usually scare away from challenges that directly involve creating change in the community because I fear the frustration that naturally accompanies persuading people to change their habits or support a cause.  This said, the more I learn about various tools for change, community engagement, and planning, the more that I feel encouraged to play a greater role in my community.  I thrive in smaller communities, and I long to move back to Canmore, or another small town with similar traits.  As our team begins planning the grass-roots for a seed and food exchange, I become excited at the prospect of repeating a similar story in a place that I will call home, wherever it might be in the new year.

            I came across a poster for a permaculture seminar being held here in Victoria, which lead me to their website, and various links to Permaculture design courses, and regional sections for this movement.   Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecological systems. “Permaculture is a design system based on ethics and principles which can be used to establish, design, manage and improve all efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a sustainable future” (http://permacultureprinciples.com/).  I am intrigued by several of the principles of this movement because they are deeply rooted in design. Bio-mimicry, which involves designing ecologically harmonised landscapes, gardens, agriculture, infrastructure, etc., is at the heart of the design process.  Coming from an interior design background, my future interests gear towards “green design”, whether it is I pursue landscape architecture, architecture or industrial design.  I am going to browse for more information about some of the projects these groups are undertaking, especially at the Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Colorado, USA, which specialises in high altitude agriculture practices.  Permaculture promotes the reskilling process, which as I understand, is also a prominent theme of the Transition Town model.

The image above is an example of urban permaculture, at an City Eco Lab conference in France, 2008.

            The Permaculture Kootney section (Kootenay Permaculture Institute (BC & Canada) http://www3.telus.net/permaculture/) has a link for a seed exchange!  I feel encouraged as we embark upon establishing a food and seed swap program here in Colwood.  The Kootenay program has swaps taking place at community centre, churches, and local cafes.  In addition to the seed swap, they also have workshops on seed selection, saving the gene pool, food security, and the list goes on.  I hope that we can include the framework for supplementary workshops and/or informational packages in our community project for Colwood.

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