- David Holmgren, Permaculture Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability
What a fantastic 2-week PDC we had in September! 20 people from all over the world converged at Casita Verde, the home of the Greenheart movement in Ibiza to learn the art of 'protracted and thoughtful observation' that is permaculture!
Casita Verde is an evolving show-piece, featuring amongst other things multiple water harvesting techniques and grey water systems, eco-construction, vermicomposting, chicken tractoring, aloe cultivation, carob syrup production, rocket stoves, compost toilets upcycling and numerous cottage industries. It is also a centre for community action, having spearheaded dozens of initiatives including local markets, beach cleans and political campaigns. Future plans on-site include a natural swimming pool and the evolution into Ecolandia Ibiza (but more on that in future, we hope)
Aside from the codified 72-hour course, we were treated to technical presentations on grey water by Alan Marshall of the Azolla Foundation, a rocket stove tutorial and demonstration by Dorus Rijkers (pictured) and a journey into the world of environmental activism with our ever-gracious host, Chris Dews, who has been campaigning on Ibiza for decades.
You cannot be on the island without having a party! The course crossed over two Thursdays - solar-powered party night at Casita Verde, when the DJ’s rock the west-facing landscape under the stars! But these parties have purpose - to launch Asociación Granada Ecológica, spearheaded by wonderful Rey Aldana (pictured) better known as 'El Cubanito’ when he’s behind the decks! We wish him every success and thank him for his warm vibrations!
The course provided just enough practical time to break up the information-packed classes. Fun practicals involved food fermentation, hot composting and building swales. Doug Crouch delighted everyone with his knowledge of edible weeds that had popped up following heavy rain (in the Mediterranean following a hot, dry summer, the landscape typically bursts forth with green after rain in what is called el veranillo del membrillo, or the second spring). In between meals, folks chewed on carob (used on site to produce carob syrup) and munched on wild rocket, purslane and other wild edibles.
Students shared! Midway through the fortnight, we were lucky to have an introduction to contact dance, followed the next evening with an introduction to 5 elements dance. Every morning a dedicated group of yoga practitioners laid their mats out before the breakfast bell at 8am. The guitars were out frequently - who doesn’t love a sing-along to a Dylan or Lennon classic? Tarot cards were shuffled, but luckily no-one was injured.
We wish all the graduates from this course the very best for the future, in whatever way they choose to embrace the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair share. "The only limit on the number of uses of a resource possible within a system is in the limit of the information and the imagination of the designer."
We look forward to repeating this course in 2016!