Forest Garden Blog

Why come to the Permaculture Introduction weekend – 27/28 April?

Why have I lived a secret double life as a gardener ?
& what has ‘Permaculture’ got that might interest you?

My work life for the last 10 years has been in leadership and management skills,  and supporting social enterprises to become more sustainable.
So why the secret life as a Gardiner?  – two words: sanity and inspiration!  While living in London and the wild west of Devon, I have again and again turned to the vibrant, verdant wisdom you can see alive and thriving in well designed organic gardens.  Gardens can be abundant, resilient, self sustaining systems that grow and renew themselves, while at the same time providing food and beauty for us humans. All the time the rich capital of a healthy soil gets better with time. They are a great reminder of  some of the basic principles of how nature likes to work. Permaculture design is one of the best schools of thought that I have come across, that condenses some of nature’s wisdom into easy to use  tools.

What is Permaculture ?
It is a design system that uses the principles you can see in healthy ecosystems and helps us use them when we design our gardens, landscapes, homes or organisations.

I hope our upcoming training weekend will make Permaculture a relevant and empowering  way of thinking about your projects in a new way. Whether that is your actual garden or the many other places we are called on to be ‘gardeners’  in our lives!

See below for more details of the next course

27th-28th April 2013 – Permaculture Introduction Weekend at the Quadrangle Trust just south of London. (Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 10am to 3pm)
Costs range from £80 to £120 depending on concessions and accommodation.

What could you hope to take away from the weekend?

We will provide you will the basic toolkit for thinking about design using Permaculture. While we will largely focus on gardens and food growing,  I hope to make clear how Permaculture design methods can improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, the landscapes we live in, and the organisations and community projects we are part of.

From the introduction weekend you can expect sessions on:

• Ethics that underpin the approach and principles that guide our solutions focused thinking.
• Showing the design skills applied to food growing.
• Examples of Permaculture the UK and beyond –  seeing the tools work from extreme desert to Devon.
• An observation exercise in our 2 acre forest Garden
• Video case studies
• A practical exercise
• An overview of the Permaculture network and your local projects.
• Next steps for you to design where you live and where to find ongoing support.

You will also leave with a bundle of useful resources printed for you to read and even more useful bits and bobs on a DVD to browse at your leisure!

There is an option to stay over or just come in for the 2 days.

Please email alastair.mackenzie@gmail.com to book a place (limited places left)

Seeds of freedom – a film about the importance of our seeds

A great 30 minute summary of seeds and food security.

Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity-rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.

Volunteer’s Day on the 10th of March is cancelled

Hello everyone, unfortunately we have to cancel this months Friends and Volunteer’s day. We hope you have a lovely time with your mothers.

Creating abundance with a forest garden

I came across this film on the Permaculture UK facebook group. Really well shot and very informative. It’s in Portuguese but has English subtitles. Hope you’ll enjoy it too.

February 9th – Next Friends and Volunteers Days

Winter blessings to you all. We had some beautiful days in the snow, going on  long walks and enjoying the peaceful white landscapes stretching far into the horizon, tracking hare and deer trails and seeing delightful images, like the picture below.

On Saturday, 9th of February 10am to 4pm, we are having another friends and volunteer’s day at the Quadrangle Forest Garden.

ImageWe are going to plant some comfrey around the fruit trees, mark out an irrigation channel and do some other tree tending. There will be a nice wintery soup and bread for lunch, and lovely tea and biscuits for tea breaks. Please check the website of the Quadrangle for the address and for further details on how to get there by train.

If you are planning to attend, please send an email to monika.koncz@gmail.com.

Our next friends and volunteers days will be on the 10th of March (Sunday).

First gathering of the Nature Culture Network England

The following weekend we had a big gathering. The Nature Culture Network (NCN) England – which Al and I are part of, met from Friday to Sunday at the Quadrangle. It consists of (outdoor) educators, forest school teachers, ‘permaculturists’, wilderness guides and people who simply enjoy spending time outside in Nature. The purpose of the gathering was to meet at the beginning of the year to connect to friends and family, spend time outdoors, tending the Forest Garden, reflect on the year past and make plans for the year ahead and enjoy ourselves with potluck and music.

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We had over 30 people and children of various ages come together and spend all day Saturday making more compost heaps, planting two types of vine and 4 blackcurrants and clearing the edges of the forest garden from invading black thorn suckers. It is amazing to see how much work can get done in the course of the few hours that we had, when so many people come together and enjoy themselves sweating outside. We left the land with 7 compost heaps, a sucker free space for the nursery of ground cover plants next year and lots of bits of comfrey planted round the fruit trees to help bring up nutrients with their deep roots.

A great start to the year – thank you !

First volunteering of the year

After a beautiful reunion with Alastair’s Trackways Year course group at the weekend, we arrived with 6 more helping hands at the Quadrangle, ready to start our week working again in the Forest Garden. After all the eating during Christmas and New year’s, it felt great to spend most of our days outside again working on the land with friends and little people.

The plan was to create compost heaps – one meter cube compost heaps, to be precise. The cube shape and it’s relative height allow the heaps get hot to quicker compost. The compost heaps were created next to piles of cut grass. In a few months time, we are going to plant squash on top of the heaps and the squash will enjoy the open area it’s in, soaking up all the sun and enjoying the nutritious bed its in.

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On the pictures you can see how the compost heaps are layered with cut grass and compost in-between. Before piling the heaps, we perforated the ground with a fork and then laid a bunch of twigs and branches as the first layer. The perforation of the ground allows for better absorption of the nutrients and the branches underneath the heap support the overall air circulation.

Thank you Synnøve, Hannah and Kim-Robin!

Volunteers Day in December is cancelled

Unfortunately we have to cancel the upcoming friends and volunteers day in December. The next friends and volunteers day will be on Saturday, 12th of January, 10am to 4pm.

If you would like to attend please send an email to alastair.mackenzie@gmail.com.

 

Introduction to Permaculture

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Permaculture Taster Day
-
Saturday, 9th March 2013
£30 or £20 (concessions for unemployed and senior citizens)

Permaculture Introduction Weekend
-
27/28th April 2013
Residential rate: £120 or £100 (concession rate)
Non-residential rate: £100 or £80 (concession rate)

Both events are held at The Quadrangle

What is Permaculture?

By observing the natural world we can see a set of principles at work. Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems that provide for our needs of food, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. We can use permaculture design methods to improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Come and learn in a fun and practical way about the many ideas and examples that have been developing in the worldwide Permaculture movement!

Permaculture design is a way of working with nature to make a better world for all. This course will focus on positive and creative responses to climate change and sustainability. Permaculture design uses nature’s principles to develop systems in our homes, gardens and work that provide for our needs in ways that are healthy and efficient.

We can use permaculture design methods to improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.
From the introduction weekend you can expect sessions on:

• Ethics and principles

• Design skills applied to food growing

• Examples of permaculture the UK and beyond

• An observation exercise

• Video case studies

• A practical exercise

• An overview of the permaculture network and your local projects.

• Next steps for you to design where you live.

Course will be facilitated by Alastair MacKenzie who has been working with permaculture design for 8 years, in London, Mexico and Devon. Plus a tbc co-facilitator!

If you have any questions or want to book a place, please send an email to alastair.mackenzie@gmail.com.

Next Friends and Volunteers Days

Wishing you sunny autumnal wishes as we are currently blessed with golden lights reflected in beautiful warm colours of red and yellow leaves that are being blown around in front of our window.

On Saturday, 24th of November 10am to 4pm, we are hosting a Friends and Volunteers day at the Quadrangle Forest Garden.

We are planning to do some tending and gardening together and enjoy the beauty of this riverside forest garden gem! We’ll be preparing the trees for winter, mulching some grass areas to prepare for spring planting and making some compost heaps.

There will be a nice wintery soup and bread for lunch, and lovely tea and biscuits for tea breaks. Please check the website of the Quadrangle for the
address and for further details on how to get there by train.

Future friends and volunteers days will be in the following dates*

13th of December (CANCELLED!)
12th of January
9th of February
10th of March

*dates might change, please keep an eye out for updates on our blog.

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