Stephen and I (Sarah Wu) along with Ryan Rising from the Permaculture Action Network (PAN) had the honor of teaching 27 amazing people at the Oregon Eclipse Gathering hosted by Symbiosis Festival this past August!
Ryan Rising & Stephen Brooks
It was the first time for Stephen and I teaching permaculture in the United States, with the majority of our courses taught in Costa Rica as well as Guatemala and Mexico. It was a sweet learning curve for us both, exploring a new bioregion, learning the local flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Eastern Oregon. The Big Summit Prairie, is abundant with Ponderosa Pine and Aspen, Oregon Grape Root, Yarrow, Mullein, Lupine, wild Mint and various other Asteraceaes and Apiaceaeas. We saw a variety of animals such as Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Stellar Jays, wild horses, Rock Chucks, Nutria, Chipmunks, Squirrels, tree frogs, snakes and iridescent blue damsel flies. In the lake are trout, bass and sturgeon.
The festival site, while lacking the abundant food forests and chinampas of Punta Mona, was an excellent educational site, with a variety of earth works, designs for disaster, various build crews working in tandem, gardens and green houses installed by Lucy Legan from EcoCentro IPEC in Brasil and the Ecozoic biofiltration toilets constructed by Scott Whitaker, Cobos, Simran and crew!
From Scott Whitaker’s FB page
What came up for us so often during the two week PDC was the obvious evolution taking place in permaculture education and practice. Permaculture, founded as a way to design human settlements and infrastructure that is in line with the natural processes of the Earth, now can be taken off the farm and applied to so many other aspects of life, applied to herbalism and healthcare, in community design, event production, place making, city repair and in restorative justice. Permaculture as a philosophy and ethical base offers those of us in practice an empowerment tool and community support. I love teaching the Permaculture Design Course curriculum and indoctrinating people into the principles, ethics, earth sciences and strategies, and I especially love the adjunct classes we offer, such as my own creation of the People Care unit. It was also inspiring to learn from Ryan Rising his Social Design perspectives and experience working in urban environments.
I personally am super excited for our future, as we watch the old monoculture systems collapse and hateful groups rise, these are just the death throws of an old paradigm. More and more people are learning how to be resilient, take control of their livelihood through ways that no longer hurt the earth or any of her children. All of us walking this path have strength in unity, that while one of us may be down or uncertain, others are moving forward and thriving, lifting us all up together.