First Meet Up

We had a good turn-out for our first meet up. I didn’t count how many of us there were, but there were enough to make the Java Lounge too cramped to have a productive meeting.

Minutes:

Drew and Keiko shared their books and book lists with the group. The list with links can be found at the end of this email.
Keiko gave a brief overview of how swale system works and how it can be done even on a small scale like a garden bed.
The group talked about how and what we want to accomplish as a group. We agreed on three things as starters: 1. start a book list/share/request for libraries; 2. host work parties and skill share; 3. invite guest speakers for lectures.
Vicki announced about the Transition Town meeting which was held after our meet up at the Old Dutch Church.
We decided on the time and date for our next meet up. Several people suggested we should meet frequently at least in the beginning as we get to know each other and explore the direction we want to go.

Work parties are where we take turns working in each other’s gardens and projects. This is a great educational and fun way to learn new skills and connect with each other. Usually the host provides a meal at the end of the party for everyone.

The transition town meeting was well-organized, informative and inspiring. The topic was water, and among many speakers, we heard from Russell Urban-Mead, water resources and sustainability programs director of the Chazen Companies, and Tonia Shoumatoff, New York Watershed Manager. (Sorry Vicki, I didn’t get the names of others… perhaps you can fill in.) They were extremely articulate. They both embraced swales as one of the recommended procedures for flood control. We’ll be talking more about this and other water management skills in the coming meetings.

Our next meet up is on Tuesday, October 25, at 6. Cindy is trying to get Zena Firehouse for our meeting. We’ll send you a follow up email once this is confirmed.

At both meetings, I was impressed by the urgency and willingness of everyone attended. I have a feeling we can work towards concrete goals, and achieve visible results towards a sustainable community. I have some suggestions as to what kind of projects we could work on as a group, and will bring them to the next meeting. I encourage all of you to do the same.

One of the key points, though, in both permaculture and transition town movements (there is much overlap between the two) is decentralization and collective organization. We don’t depend on a few leaders. We are all leaders, and work collectively, much as a colony of bacteria or mycelium (underground networks of fungi) does. This is also the nature of Occupy Wall Street and recent protests in Middle East, and in the culture of open source software and internet community, such as Firefox, WordPress and Wikipedia.

In this light, I am thankful to those who have offered to share the task of communication and organization for our group. Exploring how our group will organize itself will be one of our on-going agenda.

Permaculture Reading List

Bill Mollison            Introduction to Permaculture

Toby Hemenway            Gaia’s Garden

David Holmgren            Permaculture, Principles and Patheays Beyond Sustainability

Albert Bates            Post-petroleum Surviavl Guide and Cookbook

Stephen and Rebekah Wren                        The Carbon-free Home

Dave Jacke            The Edible Forest Gardens, vol.1&2

Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis            Teaming with Microbes

Patrick Whitefield            Permaculture in a Nutshell

Ross Mars            The Basics of Permaculture Design

H.C. Flores            Food Not Lawns

Gene Logsdon            Small-Scale Grain Raising

This is just a sampler of what’s out there. At this link, you can find many of these books available as e-books. And this link offers free downloads of 40-hour-lecture series on permaculture. The site also offers free e-books. Thank you, Drew, for this link!

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