Dancing Rabbit is excited to host our very first Permaculture Design Course, August 29-Sept 6, 2015! The very experienced teaching team of Bill and Becky Wilson from Midwest Permaculture will lead the course, and Dancing Rabbit member Sharon Bagatell will apprentice-teach with them. In this blog post, Sharon shares a bit about why she is so passionate about permaculture.
Shupie was standing in her garden. She reached out to me with a bag full of green beans and a big smile. “For you. Take them home!” she said, “We have abundance!”
If you’re a gardener, you might not find this act of generosity surprising – gardeners often share their bounty. But this was Malawi, East Africa, at the beginning of what they call “The Hunger Time,” when subsistence farmers have little to sustain their families, much less to share with others. That day in February though, Shupie and her husband Benes were showing me around their homestead, and it was overflowing with food! Ah, yes, I thought, THIS is what we mean by the permaculture ethic “Share the Abundance.”
Shupie and Benes had taken a Permaculture Design Course just last October. They learned about building soil, water management, diverse food sources, and energy systems, and then went home and turned their small farm upside down.
Permaculture’s system design approach simply made sense to them, and, Shupie told me, they saw their work as an important investment in their long-term household economy. Five short months later, they were already reaping the abundance.
Permaculture is not always such “presto change-o” magic, but for me permaculture is magical. It is the most solutions-based, hopeful way of looking at the current state of humankind that I have come across in my years of work in environmental education and activism. In the words of Bill Wilson, teacher extraordinaire, of Midwest Permaculture:
Permaculture looks at life squarely in the face and simply asks the questions:
What is? How do things really work? It then lays out multiple paths toward building abundance, security and health into our living systems to benefit humans AND the natural world that sustains all life.
It is honest.
It is realistic.
It is powerful.
Although permaculture is an ever-growing international movement, you don’t have to travel to Africa to experience its honesty, realism, and power! I’m delighted to be part of the team that is putting together Dancing Rabbit’s first Permaculture Design Course.
And talk about abundance!! This course will blend two of the greatest adventures in sustainable living – permaculture and ecovillage living! The combination of systems design thinking and day-to-day examples of an evolving human habitat is sure to abound with meaningful, inspiring, and potentially life-changing experiences.
Before I end, I’d like to share a little about the “magical” of permaculture to me.
Permaculture is all about connections. I don’t simply mean connections between plants, water, soil critters, climate and all those great things you’ll learn about in the course.
I mean connections among humans as well. I mean the kind of magically uplifting connection I had with Shupie and Benes on their farm across the world in Malawi.
Though we came from completely different racial, ethnic, language and educational backgrounds, through our passion for permaculture we shared a profound and joyful connection.
“Yes! You get it!” our smiles and hugs seemed to say, “Humans CAN live sustainably on this planet. We CAN share the abundance!”
Bill and Becky Wilson of Midwest Permaculture inspire this very kind of uplifting connection in their masterful teaching. I hope you will consider sharing the abundance, and joining us this summer for the very first Permaculture Design Course at Dancing Rabbit!