Come to the Farm and Be Inspired! Primary Practical Permaculture

sky_2If you’re in the region of northwest Washington, or southwest B.C., consider stopping by Inspiration Farm on June 1st for a day of “Primary Practical Permaculture” at Inspiration Farm, located just north of Bellingham, WA.

June 1st $40 10am to 4pm
A hands on approach to applying Permaculture principals. Ethics, Zones, Sectors, mapping, compost and guilds. This fun information packed day will provide practical ways to design your environment into an integrated system of abundance and productivity. Using design strategies we will explore ways of stacking elements within a system to be more productive and self regulating. The morning will be presentations and discussion, the afternoon will be a site tour and hands on session working with guilds, sheet mulch, keyhole beds and integrated composting.

Class includes: Presentation-discussion, A tour of Inspiration Farm explaining the systems employed, and hands on activities.

Register at http://www.inspirationfarm.com/newif/Classes.html

If you attend this class and then decide you want to take the whole Permacultue Design Certificate course we are offering in August we will credit this class fee towards the PDC.

You will likely come away Inspired, as PeakMoment.tv host Janaia Donaldson is when she visits. In her latest Journal post, Janaia writes:

Brian Kerkvliet gave the grand tour to us and gardener Ruth Nail, a recent transplant to the area. A large new pond in the middle, channeling water to a new swales (ditches carved on contour). Just outside the pasture fence were just-planted alder and apple trees which will eventually provide munchables for the two dairy cows inside.

I was most intrigued by his putting multiple levels of plants in one bed. “Stacking function,” said Brian the permaculture educator. Just like in a forest, there’s ground cover, an herbaceous layer, shrub layer, and tree layer. In the berm — a big mound of soil dug out of and piled up beside the swale  Brian had strewn a cover crop mix of broccoli, kale, peas, turnips, sunflowers, parsnips, daikon, buckwheat, oats, fava and other beans, bees’ friend, crimson clover, lettuce, carrots, and collards! Their little leaves were just poking up, colorful and varied like a ground cover of mosses and tiny plants in the forest. What a gorgeously diverse spread for future munching!

Beside the cover crop, a thicket of tall rye grass provided protection for the small apple tree starts planted here and there. The rye grains will be harvested in a few months, their cut stalks falling left in place to become mulch. Amongst the apple trees were also alder trees starts, whose roots will go much deeper than the apple trees, and will bring up deep water and nutrients for plants with shallower roots. 

All of these layers were in one swale mound, just like in a forest: Autumn olive, sea buckthorn, buffalo berry, Gumi berry, siberian pea shrub. Brian rattled off which plants were nitrogen fixers as well as food plants, like black locust and alders.

I love this changing food forest landscape  always evolving, becoming more complex and even more like wild nature.

See Janaia’s Journal: A New Season at Inspiration Farm for a great photo montage that accompanies this post.

A new Peak Moment episode featuring Inspiration Farm is coming soon…in the meantime, check out this recent episode about last year’s Whatcom Skillshare Faire – which partly features Inspiration Farm steward Brian Kerkvliet as he and Celt Schira demonstrate the 100 year old seed thresher they restored.

And don’t forget the Permaculture Design Course in August at Inspiration Farm, mentioned above! Make plans now to learn a skill set for uncertain times, and to be part of the solution!

Feet in communion at Inspiration Farm

Feet in communion at Inspiration Farm


Brian Kerkvliet gave the grand tour to us and gardener Ruth Nail, a recent transplant to the area. A large new pond in the middle, channeling water to a new swales (ditches carved on contour). Just outside the pasture fence were just-planted alder and apple trees which will eventually provide munchables for the two dairy cows inside.

I was most intrigued by his putting multiple levels of plants in one bed. “Stacking function,” said Brian the permaculture educator. Just like in a forest, there’s ground cover, an herbaceous layer, shrub layer, and tree layer. In the berm — a big mound of soil dug out of and piled up beside the swale  Brian had strewn a cover crop mix of broccoli, kale, peas, turnips, sunflowers, parsnips, daikon, buckwheat, oats, fava and other beans, bees’ friend, crimson clover, lettuce, carrots, and collards! Their little leaves were just poking up, colorful and varied like a ground cover of mosses and tiny plants in the forest. What a gorgeously diverse spread for future munching!

Beside the cover crop, a thicket of tall rye grass provided protection for the small apple tree starts planted here and there. The rye grains will be harvested in a few months, their cut stalks falling left in place to become mulch. Amongst the apple trees were also alder trees starts, whose roots will go much deeper than the apple trees, and will bring up deep water and nutrients for plants with shallower roots. 

All of these layers were in one swale mound, just like in a forest: Autumn olive, sea buckthorn, buffalo berry, Gumi berry, siberian pea shrub. Brian rattled off which plants were nitrogen fixers as well as food plants, like black locust and alders.

I love this changing food forest landscape always evolving, becoming more complex and even more like wild nature. 

– See more at: http://peakmoment.tv/journal/a-new-season-at-inspiration-farm/#sthash.HJBlMTQO.dpuf

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BREAKING: Gov’t Slashes Calif. Oil Estimate

As a follow-up to my previous posts from March 12th (Oil Company Woes: This is What Energy Depletion Looks Like) and March 20th (An Energy “Renaisance”?), pasted below is a press release from Post Carbon Institute.

Federal Government Reduces Monterey Tight Oil Estimate by Over 95%

Oakland, California (May 21, 2014) — In an article released last night, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has drastically reduced its estimate of recoverable oil in California’s Monterey shale formation from 13.7 billion barrels to just 0.6 billion barrels—a reduction of over 95%.

The downgrade has major implications for California’s energy and economic future, as well as the debate over hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and other forms of well stimulation-enabled oil development. The perception of an impending oil boom has dominated energy policy discussions in California since the release of a 2011 report by EIA which had estimated up to 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable tight oil—64% of the nation’s total—in the state’s Monterey shale formation. The estimate was widely cited by drilling proponents, and economic forecasts based on it projected millions of new jobs and billions in new tax revenue.

“The oil had always been a statistical fantasy,” said geoscientist J. David Hughes, author of Drilling California: A Reality Check on the Monterey Shale, an influential report critical of the EIA’s original Monterey estimates. “Left out of all the hoopla was the fact that the EIA’s estimate was little more than a back-of-the-envelope calculation.”

Hughes’s report, published by PSE Healthy Energy and Post Carbon Institute in December 2013, was the first public analysis of actual oil production data from the Monterey Shale and the formation’s geological characteristics. The report found that all data suggested that the EIA estimates were wildly over-optimistic. INTEK, Inc., the source of the EIA’s original estimate, has since admitted that its Monterey figures were derived from technical reports and presentations from oil companies rather than hard data.

“We’re pleased that the EIA has corrected what was a groundless and highly misleading over-estimation of the potential of the Monterey,” said Asher Miller, Executive Director of Post Carbon Institute. “We hope that everyone—from the EIA to policymakers and the media—will learn a cautionary lesson from what transpired here in California as we wrestle with questions about what the future of American energy policy can and should be.”

“Now that Californians have a far more accurate idea of what promise the Monterey Shale does and does not hold,” added Dr. Seth B. Shonkoff, Executive Director of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Health Energy (PSE), “we must carefully weigh the benefits against the costs associated with fracking and other well stimulation-enabled oil and gas development.”

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ABOUT J. DAVID HUGHES
J. David Hughes is a geoscientist who has studied the energy resources of Canada and North America for nearly four decades, including 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada as a scientist and research manager.  Over the past decade, Mr. Hughes has researched, published and lectured widely on global energy and sustainability issues in North America and internationally. He is a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and a board member of Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE).
http://bit.ly/PCIhughes

ABOUT PSE HEALTHY ENERGY
Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) is a science-based organization dedicated to bringing scientific transparency to energy policy issues. PSE Healthy Energy empowers citizens and policymakers by generating, translating, and disseminating evidence-based scientific information.
http://www.psehealthyenergy.org

ABOUT POST CARBON INSTITUTE
Post Carbon Institute provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, and environmental crises that define the 21st century. PCI envisions a world of resilient communities and re-localized economies that thrive within ecological bounds.
http://www.postcarbon.org