Kirstie Stramler

As the first printing of the Permaculture Designer’s manual was going out, a revolution in soil science was emerging. Unfortunately, that revolution was destined to be swept under the rug.

Until now! Dr. Elaine Ingham is coming to the Bay!

Elaine is being hosted by Sweet Soil in San Rafael to teach a 5-day Soil Food Web intensive July 11-15 … there are still a few spots available. Sign up here for all or part.

If you’re not familiar with her work, watch this excerpt on the necessity and function of the Soil Food Web:

The upcoming Los Angeles Arboretum Permaculture Design Course will be the first ever taught there.  Flyer Credit:  Caitlin Bergman

Course dates are 8 Saturdays, Oct 2 – Nov20, and & 1 Sunday, Nov 21.   The first 8 days of the course will be held in the facilities and on the grounds of the Los Angeles Arboretum, and the final day of the course will be held at the Los Angeles Eco-Village.

Because the traditional PDC format does not optimally serve student availability and future needs, we have modified the PDC format in numerous ways, among them:

  • we scheduled it for weekend days only, so working Americans don’t have to devote their entire annual vacation to it;
  • we infuse community-building throughout the course, rather than the usual nod it gets on the final day;
  • we incorporate daily hands-on exercises to reinforce the intellectual experience with the skills students require;
  • we follow Dave Jacke’s cyclical structure, in acknowledgement that circadian rhythms delimit learning dynamics;
  • we introduce topics with scientific rigor (including references to the scientific literature);
  • we utilize a guest-teacher/speaker-series format to augment our expertise on numerous topics.

Organizing Team:  Botanist Caitlin Bergman (lead), Atmospheric Scientist Kirstie Stramler, and Fluvial Geomorphology student Owen Hablutzel.

Course Website:

Guest Teachers:

*         Warren Brush (Quail Springs, True Nature Design)
*         Howard Yana-Shapiro, Phd. (Mars Inc., World Agroforestry Center)
*         Lois Arkin (Los Angeles Eco-Village, Global Village Institute)
*         Wes Roe and Margie Bushman (Santa Barbara Permaculture Network)
*         Owen Hablutzel (Permaculture Research Institute USA)
*         Kirstie Stamler (Permaculture.TV)
*         Lindsay Dailey (Villa Sobrante, Earth Repair)
*         Gavin Raders (Planting Justice)
*         Neil Bertrando (Radiant Tortoise Permaculture, Great Basin Institute)
*         Dave Fortson (LOA Tree)
*         Caitlin Bergman (Say Permaculture)

There are some amazing folks signed up for our course; we’re excited and honored to be able to empower the next generation of the Los Angeles Permaculture scene!   The course is nearly at capacity, because we’ve capped enrollment to keep the student/instructor ratio low, so if you want to join our crew, call or email today!    626.821.4624

Laura Allen, Co-founder of Greywater Action, at a packed Greywater Info Session for the Community of Petaluma, mid-July 2010.Photo Credit:  Ron and Laura Paul of Greywater Marin.

Progress in California Regulation and in Inspection Procedures

Laura Allen, on progress made in California Greywater regulation, on recent Greywater Action strategies and successes, and expectations for the future of greywater usage in California:

Rigorous Greywater Education

Laura Allen describes the remarkable curriculum and installation projects of their 5-day Greywater Installer’s Course, and outlines their 1- and 2-day Greywater Courses, as well:

Register for the upcoming 5-day Greywater Installer’s course, organized by Daily Acts, and to be held in Sebastapol Mon 13 Sept. – Fri 17 Sept.

Students who take the 5-day Greywater Installer’s Course, and who pass the certification exam, and complete the 5th day installation project which Laura describes in the video above, are listed as Level 1 Installers on Greywater Action’s Installer Directory.  I took the 5-day course last month,  in July 2010, and found it to be outstanding preparation to get out in the field, and have already been on my first consultation.  Not bad for an atmospheric scientist who has logged untold hours programming computers, but has rarely picked up a drill!  It’s entirely attributable to Greywater Action’s rigorous teaching methods.

Greywater Resources

Laura Allen describes resources that Greywater Action has developed for Greywater Installers and how to access them:

Many Greywater Action members take an active role in the Greywater Alliance, a wonderful resource to keep both the greywater curious and seasoned greywater installers updated on this rapidly  progressing field.

Greywater system specification table for 4 common greywater systems.  Source:

Addressing the unique greywater installer’s needs to (1) merge components from disparate sources, and to (2) purchase single items that may typically only be available in bulk, Laura and her colleagues have created Clean Water Components, a for-profit website that sells pre-packaged, ready-to-use, greywater components.  They also offer complete greywater system maps in PDF format, to be sure you install your greywater systems correctly, as well as other items ranging from ‘how-to’ books to modern indoor composting toilets.

Next up in Greywater:   Branched-Drain Installation Footage/Stills and the most recent Bay Area Greywater Roundtable Footage.

New videos uploaded from Pathways to Sustainable Self Governance, the Detroit USSF2010 workshop organized by Permaculture TV.   Excerpt from workshop description:

This workshop outlines a vision for a democratic, worker-owned, advanced industrial ecology society. We seek pathways to provide the burgeoning food education/justice movement with the tools to become economically sustainable, and to link the emerging green industrial worker cooperatives with them into sovereign networks. Once active, such networks can become the basis for sustainable, socially just communities that revitalize locales via open source sustainable agriculture and manufacturing methods. Our panel — with academic, commercial, and school of hard knocks experience — will frame the demonstrated solutions, numerous pieces of the puzzle that we as a society need to put together.

Gavin Raders explains how, where, and to what effect Planting Justice implements their ecologically sound and socially just philosophy.   Videos below include a 30-second excerpt on the utility of city waste streams, followed by 6 sequential videos that comprise Gavin’s presentation at our USSF 2010 workshop.  Great stuff!

Espousing and embodying the Permaculture meme, “the problem is the solution”. Gavin Raders on the utility of city waste streams:  Video Credit:  Patrick O’Connor of Oakland Sol

Introduction. Planting Justice (guiding principles) combines grassroots organizing with Permaculture to simultaneously address the food, economic, ecological, knowledge, and non-profit crises:  Video Credit:  Patrick O’Connor of Oakland Sol

Permaculture, “just a word until it is put into practice”. In 1.5 years, Planting Justice has installed 60 permaculture gardens in homes, schools, affordable housing complexes, community centers, and at San Quentin Correctional Facility. Gavin encourages us to just get started, and advocates using their open-source resources, e.g. those available at :  Video Credit:  Patrick O’Connor of Oakland Sol

Implementing the Permaculture meme, “stacking functions” in an economic sense. Gavin describes how Planting Justice (programs) enacts a Permaculture Business Model:  Video Credit:  Patrick O’Connor of Oakland Sol

Projects. Optimal locales for installations with maximum benefit are institutions such as churches and community centers, which have the dual advantages of already being social meeting places and of owning land.  Gavin describes how the learning process is often mutual, as Planting Justice (projects) facilitates installations at a local middle school, at San Quentin Prison, and at affordable housing complexes:  Video Credit:  Patrick O’Connor of Oakland Sol

Why City Permaculture?  Planting Justice embodies the Permaculture philosophy “the problem is the solution“.  Gavin Raders quotes Grace Lee Boggs “crises are opportunities“, and explains how advantageous cities waste streams can be when pollution is simply treated as mis-placed nutrients:  Video Credit:  Patrick O’Connor of Oakland Sol

Conclusion. Gavin Raders of Planting Justice encourages us to replicate their efforts, and to build sustainable and regenerative businesses off of the waste streams of cities.  Check their website for free educational workshops upcoming at their Oakland space:  Video Credit:  Patrick O’Connor of Oakland Sol

** Up next in this series: USSF 2010 videos of Quinton Sankofa and James Berk of Mandela Marketplace and Mandela Foods **

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