Urban Sustainability Certificate Program: Permaculture

Ed. Note: In partnership with Sustainable JC, Lyndon Neal has agreed to report back on his experiences in the Urban Sustainability Certificate class.

The first week (of three!) permaculture studies was presented by Sean Walsh from AppleSeed Permaculture.

For those not sure (like me) what permaculture means, there are a lot of similar definitions, but I like “integrates landscape and people, providing food, energy, water and shelter in a sustainable way.”

There are a lot of smart ideas, concepts and beliefs swirling around permaculture that drive inspiration and innovation. For me, the concept of “future-proofing” ideas (keeping them adaptable & flexible in an ever-changing environment) kept flashing in my head. I’m now thinking differently about ideas as an end goal, and thinking instead that future proofing that idea is just as important as coming up with that idea in the first place.

Like previous instructors, Sean began the night by going straight into the principles and ideas behind the permaculture movement. It’s been invigorating to see such enthusiastic and energized professionals so excited to share their knowledge and experience.

What was great about this session in particular was that Sean had real examples of different kinds of projects, including a multi-tiered enterprise that centered around rain and household water collection in rain deprived Tuscon, Arizona.

This project, as described by Sean (and pictured below) went like this:

  1. They cut out sidewalk spaces
  2. which collected rain water into a specially designed drainage area
  3. which was then led into green areas.

Another part of the same project included:

  1. A communal outdoor washing machine
  2. that residents could use for free
  3. if they had biodegradable laundry soap, and as long as
  4. they moved the waste pipe each time, directing it to four different parts of the garden.

Sean’s innovative ideas helped to reuse water that typically gets wasted (i.e. sent down drains) in a part of the world where water is in short supply.

Read more about SJC’s Certificate Program and Lyndon’s journey in the course:

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