Photos from “THE FARM” in Summertown, Tennessee

Sun design on a side of the round strawbale house
Sun design on a side of the round strawbale house

“The Farm” is the oldest (formal) intentional community in the United States. Founded in 1971, it covers 6 square miles of beautiful rolling hills near Summertown, Tennessee. Thus it’s been 43 years in the making — forming, storming, norming and performing. As one of the men we spoke with put it, “Any issue that can arise in a community — they’ve experienced it.”

My partner and I have visited The Farm to participate in “The Farm Experience” weekend; below is a glimpse of what lies beyond “The Farm” gates… Continue reading Photos from “THE FARM” in Summertown, Tennessee

John Hardy: My green school dream (TED video)

This video just hit me right over the head. I had a sudden urge to get on the plane and join this man! Continue reading John Hardy: My green school dream (TED video)

DAY 12: Final Day of the Course (PDC 2010 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton)

where we began, and where we came to completion
where we began, and where we came to completion

A blink of an eye and a lifetime later the course came to an end. Wow, what a journey, and I am not just saying it.

The party yesterday lit a fire within me, and I saw a whole other side of people I set side-by-side with throughout the course. People wrote poetry, sang, danced and told some very clever jokes. We laughed to tears, and I had a distinct feeling of “coming home.” It wasn’t just me, though. Today we completed the course by going around in the circle and each saying how we experienced the course, and what we plan to do in the future. Many people expressed the feeling of coming home and awe of being in the company of so many like-minded individuals. Hear hear.

Closing Quotes

“Permaculture is living. Everything before was waiting.” -Matt
“Walk in bare footed and say, ‘Stand with me. I don’t belong to anyone.’ And people will help you.” -Bill Mollison
“Education gives you huge power.” -Bill Mollison

So what’s next? Wherever the energy guides me. We’ll have to wait and see :).

DAY 11: 7 Ways to Fire Proof Your House & Group Presentations (PDC 2010 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton)

Only one more sleep before the course is over…

Today there was excited buzz in the air, and it seemed like the group was slightly less focused on the lecture. The reason, I am guessing, is this afternoon’s session when we got to present our designs to the group. Many (most) of the people haven’t done a group assignment since school days, let alone stand up and talk about it. The pressure was on.

If this wasn’t enough, today is the last full day of the course, and it is set to conclude with a party at which everyone will have to present a talent, otherwise we don’t get our PC certificate! All of a sudden, the classroom and the lunch break were enlivened with people sitting in circles and sketching to prepare for their presentations. Music instruments made an appearance, women spinning Hoola Hoops on the lawn, didgeridoo and guitars. It was great! So cheerful, energetic and…very human.

The morning lecture discussed the risks of bush fires and how to survive them. If you are designing for a region with dry hot spells (like Melbourne region, for example), you will need to have a plan for bush fire shelter. Continue reading DAY 11: 7 Ways to Fire Proof Your House & Group Presentations (PDC 2010 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton)

DAY 10: Group Design Process and Designing for the Tropics (PDC 2010 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton)

Design Research

our piece of land to design
our piece of land to design

This is a photo of the paddock we are working with. As you can see, it’s mostly an open field sheltered by the surrounding buildings and a tiny amount of slope.

land maps, research, surrounding structures
land maps, research, surrounding structures

We did some homework and found an aerial view of the property on Google Maps and a campus map, which accurately outlines the surrounding structures.

Equipped with these tools, we set to work.

Group Dynamics

We set outside at the highest point of the paddock with a blackboard and a box of chalk, trying to fit in all the elements, but it was obvious that our design process was not very efficient…too many drivers and not enough focus… Continue reading DAY 10: Group Design Process and Designing for the Tropics (PDC 2010 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton)