Straight line: line of duty | Curved line: line of beauty

To put it simply, this past weekend was stellar. Joel Glanzberg spent the weekend with us and 20 other people talking about how to observe the systems and patterns of nature around us and apply them to our everyday existence. We talked about permaculture and it applies to everything from gardening to architecture to diet to conversation to design to neighborhoods and communities. We moved our learning environment from library to straw bale house to green house back to straw bale house to information center to straw bale studio to green house back to straw bale house and finally back to straw bale studio.

We drew in the dirt to understand the wind. We acted like cats to understand spatial and temporal relationships. We mapped zones of importance and workflow on Laurel’s site. We talked about hammocks, trees in tubes, waffle gardens, and kids in the Northeast dancing on poop for a school project (I guess I should explain this last one: a school’s waste water catchment system inspired students to create an interpretive dance to explain the cycle of filtration and purification of their waste. The catchment is placed in front of the school and was where the performance was held). We learned so much that it is hard to capture it all succinctly into one blog post. I will leave you with some of the biggest principles from the weekend:

  • Stacking functions: there should always be three reasons for why something is.
  • Redundancy: every essential function is provided in multiple ways.
  • Yield is unlimited: it is not the quantity of something that matters but the speed at which it moves through the system. MEANDER.
  • Everything gardens: all things work to make their environment more livable. They are all engaged in the developmental process.
  • Least change for greatest effects: spend time observing (without judgment) and only make changes to things that cannot simply be enhanced or repurposed.
  • The problem is the solution: look at the things you want to accomplish and then go back and look at the ‘problem’ again. For example, there is not a grasshopper problem, there is merely an excessive source of protein. Now what?
  • See wider: bring your whole mind to things.
  • It’s important, if not necessary, to have a diversity of exchanges and relationships.
Thank you so much to Joel Glanzberg for inspiring us and giving us some more tools for our kits. Thank you Grand Canyon Trust for enabling this whole amazing weekend to take place. Thank everyone at Eddie McStiff’s for hosting our 11/11/11 lecture (what an incredible turn out!). Thank everyone at Creekside Lane Organics for the delicious lunches and cozy space to eat it in. Thank you Doni and Kaki for providing a great, warm space to learn in. And finally a huge thank you to the community for attending, participating and asking great questions and for reminding us that it’s worth putting forth all the effort it takes to do good work.
A map of the Mississippi river with its past meanderances and present course.

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AND, a big THANK YOU to WabiSabi for their help in promoting our interactive lecture Friday Night 11.11.11!

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