The reasons an individual might take a permaculture course varies widely, but one thing most people have in common when coming into this realm is the desire to help in some way. It may be that they want to help with environmental issues or that they want to help build a stronger and more resilient community, or it might be they want to help their immediate family meet their needs more sustainably and abundantly. Beyond the individual’s initial intent, the whole systems approach of permaculture adds resilience and meaningful inter-connections to any community by a factor of the number of designers residing there.
One of the aspects of resiliency that is brought forth through an Urban PDC (permaculture design course) is an awareness and understanding of the myriad of skills, strategies and techniques surrounding sustainable living. The themes explored are many and cover the entire spectrum of day to day living and how we assemble our urban environment. Topics including highly productive food systems in dense urban spaces, waste cycling and closed-loop design, community-scale renewable energy, greywater and rainwater systems, transportation and village design, community organizing, and natural building are just a few examples. The skills learned and practiced today become eminently valuable when a disaster strikes. When resources become limited or even unavailable for an extended period of time (such as we have witnessed in disasters), it becomes critical to shift the way we meet our daily needs; to survive and thrive, a community is wise to implement systems of conservation and renewal.
Building resilience today in anticipation of a shift or change in culture is essentially what Permaculture Design seeks to enable. We see the opportunities to help all around us and it is the whole systems perspective that helps us to see where our actions can be the most effective. In the training offered by the Urban Permaculture InstituteÂ here in San Francisco, we highlight the many effective city sponsored programs as well as community programs already available.
- For gardens, orchards and other outdoor community space we have the SF Street Parks Program, Pavement to Parks and sidewalk landscaping.
- For community organizing we explore ways to engage such as block parties, neighborhood sharing circles or resource libraries.
- NERT of Neighborhood Emergency Response Team is a great way to meet people in your neighborhood and prepare for the first 72 hours of a major disaster.
- Grant opportunities such as the Community Challenge Grant , the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant, and the Water Efficiency for Community Gardens Grant.
Weaving together the various pieces into an integrated whole is the work before us today. We learn skills to compose with the people in each community to come up with strategies for resilience that prepare us for disaster while also building the interpersonal connections that are so vital. Of all the resources we have available in this beautiful city, the most abundant, challenging, filled-with-hope and enjoyable to work with is its people.
We invite you to join us for this valuable training which we offer four times per year right here in San Francisco.There is still room to sign up, or you can keep an eye out for our fall dates which will be announced sometime this month.