Posts tagged urban

Big Green Summer

Permaculture students take notes during a workshop this weekend at the Cedar Rapids home of Frank Cicela (walking in foreground.)

Half a picture-perfect weekend is better than none at all. Many gardeners undoubtedly took advantage of this weekend’s better half to work in their yards and gardens.

About 15 hardy souls spent the whole weekend at an urban permaculture workshop hosted by Frank Cicela at his Cedar Rapids home. Instructors from Big Green Summer in Fairfield taught about composting and other aspects of the sustainable system. In light of record crude oil prices and global food shortages, the workshop is one way Cicela hoped to make a difference at the local level.

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Urban permaculture in Cedar Rapids

A job at Clipper Wind brought Frank Cicela and his family to Cedar Rapids recently from Indiana. Wanting to meet some “kindred spirits,” Cicela decided to bring in a few experts to conduct a permaculture workshop at his new home in Cedar Rapids.

The workshop will be Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, at 3409 Seminole Valley Rd. NE.

Permaculture is the design of human habitats that have the stability, diversity and resilience of natural ecosystems. The multi-disciplinary approach integrates renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, agriculture and food systems, natural building, rainwater harvesting and urban planning, along with the economic, political and social policies that make sustainable living possible and practical.

This sustainability  allows people to begin taking food security and energy security into their own hands and into the hands of their community.

The focus of next weekend’s permaculture workshop will be on gardening. Part of the discussion will be how to garden in a three-dimensional zone, that is, using the space above, as well as the traditional design of a garden.

Quite a bit of work goes into starting such a garden, but once established, Cicela likened it to a “food forest,” that maintains itself. “Once it’s created, you just walk through and eat,” he said.  

The course – an intensive classroom and hands-on event – will be taught by three staff members of “Big Green Summer” from Fairfield.

Cicela said the workshop normally costs almost $200, plus a drive to Fairfield. This two-day course is $55 per person.

To see the schedule and register, go to: http://www.myearthwatchexperience.com/pcw/ or call (319) 832-1025.

 

 Michael Richards of Cedar Rapids, founder of  SUSTAINABLE ECOLOGICAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (S.E.E.D.) noted the following to take into consideration on the importance of urban permaculture:

 

– 95 percent of  the food on the shelves of Iowa grocery stores travels an average of 1000 miles to get to your table.

 

– A few decades ago, Iowa was close to total self-sufficiency in food supply.  Over the years, local creameries, canneries and meat processors all over Iowa have gone out of business in the “bigger is better” world of cheap energy.   

 – The opposite economic structure is now our present reality;  Energy is no longer cheap.

 So now what?      

 It is time to re-build Iowa’s local food production and local food distribution infrastructure.

 It makes no sense for the state that has the most fertile soil on earth to lack the ability to feed ourselves with local sources.

 Start in your own backyard with urban permaculture.

 We can all plant “Iowa Victory Gardens” to supply 10 to 20 percent of our household food needs in our own backyard or in neighborhood community gardens.   We can then gradually build back up the local food production and infrastructure throughout the State of Iowa to reclaim the economic foundation of a safe, healthy and abundant local food system.

 

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