Participants in a Transition Joshua Tree permaculture workshop February 23rd gained hands-on experience in water harvesting by learning to build boomerang swales. Photo copyright Stacy Doolittle.
One year ago the 4 member Transition Joshua Tree Permaculture Project Team was formed. Our mission was to research the best method for quickly bringing practical knowledge of permaculture to our community. After much thought, the team developed a framework for hosting workshops on local private lands that will teach different permaculture techniques to the public. The first workshop was on Feb. 23. There were 20 participants. We started with an overview of permaculture and then explained the principles of water harvesting. We watched Brad Lancaster’s great short video “Free Water”. That was followed by an explanation of “guilds” – the technique of companion planting food, medicinals and pollinator attractors around an overstory “nurse” tree. We then explained the plan for the day – to build a series of water harvesting boomerang swales in which we would be planting an olive and a Mesquite tree for future guilding. The team had pre-planted a guild around an already existing mature Mesquite on the property so that everyone could see what the boomerangs would look like a few years from now when the new trees had developed canopies large enough to shade and nourish a guild.
Energy was high. One might even say the energy was ecstatic. It is a beautiful thing to behold 26 people (4 teachers, 20 participants and 2 wonderful property owners) working intensively together to manifest a vision that was developed by observing and respecting the patterns of nature. The Devas were with us. The swales were gorgeous, the trees were vibrant, the birds were singing…..and so were we!
Our project mission is complete and the Transition Joshua Tree Permaculture Team is now open to all new members who wish to join us. The knowledge is rippling out to the world. Heart filled thanks to team members – Tim Delorey, Jill Giegerich, Damian Lester and Janet Tucker and to Transition members and property owners – Eva Montville and Kathy Jennings. And a big shout out to the extraordinary workshop participants who made it happen!