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An Introduction to Permaculture

An Introduction to Permaculture by Graham Burnett at the St Marks Church in Princes St, Southend-on-Sea (Sarah Egholm)

This course was a fascinating insight into a philosophy that embraces many things, including organic gardening techniques, an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and the value of small scale, localised design systems which can create a more efficient, happier and sustainable world. I left the course realising that perhaps it is a way of developing a world-view based on the micro-cosmos, and that the most precious things are already available to us.

A small group of local people gathered in the church community hall, and introductions were made by the interesting method of finding matching autumn leaves that had been placed on each chair. This was followed by a variety of games and group work, which often raised interesting discussions and debate. We learnt the basic principles of Permaculture “designing sustainable human communities by following natures patterns” by following diagrams and mind maps that were written on the board, and encouraged to ask questions. The games and visual models were really interesting learning tools. We considered the layout of the urban landscape and its ‘zones’ with a great model of a town constructed from scrap fabric, and stood around the edge to make sense of our ideas. Photos were taken and thoughts and ideas were discussed. I found this was a really fascinating and insightful way to make sense of how zones of outdoor space can be arranged to make the best use of energy. I was constantly confronted by the idea of how poorly designed our current communities seem, and that our society seems consistently out of sync with Permaculture ethics which follow such common sense, imitating natural patterns.

We put into practise the ‘nine ways of observing’which was a great opportunity to reflect outdoors and really absorb the wisdom of Permaculture. At the end of the two-day course we also had the chance to put into practice our knowledge, by working in the church gardens. We replanted tubs and containers, tided and worked together to make any general improvements that could be made. By thinking as Permaculture design consultants, we produced sketches and presented our final ideas. The course was short but charged with a sense of how much potential we have as individuals and more importantly, as a community. The wisdom that Permaculture presents appears to be instinctive, and provides practical knowledge along with a sense of hope that as we begin to mend the problems in our immediate environment, so we will mend the problems in the wider world.

We started a Southend Permaculture email list to keep in contact after the training. Some of the people shared news about their new projects like back gardens or allotments where they used permaculture principles and are continuing work on the church garden. If you are interested in joining the email list follow this link and introduce yourself to the group.

Next work day on the Monday 15th Feb 11am-3pm

Phone 01702 341605

Course photos here

3 Responses

  1. […] An Introduction to Permaculture in Southend […]

  2. […] project started with the Introduction To Permaculture Courseand now the group keeps in touch at the Southend Permaculture Google […]

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