Wednesday, October 12, 2011

upcoming events

Greetings All,

Below is a great collection of info on upcoming permaculture and sustainability events in the near future in the central Virginia bioregion, including our Spring 2012 BRPN Permaculture Design Course, apprentice teacher opportunities, and a chance to feature your project on the BRPN website.

If you know anyone else that would like to sign up for this newsletter, or if you have an announcement, email Christine at for the next update, which are sent monthly.

Christine and the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network team

1. Spring 2012 BRPN Permaculture Design Course
We are pleased to announce our winter - spring 2012 Permaculture Design Course: Sustainability Strategies for the Blue Ridge, over four weekends near Charlottesville, Virginia.

This Permaculture Design Course lays the foundation for understanding and working with natural systems to design sustainable environments that produce food, shelter, and energy. It also provides participants with models of community development and extension by which they can create networks of support for themselves and empower others to do the same. The course provides tools to help design and develop urban or rural properties or neighborhoods in a sustainable manner, revitalize local communities, and restore ecological balance.

Permaculture promotes land use systems that work with natural rhythms and patterns to create regenerative cultivated ecosystems. Participants will learn how to design and build gardens, homes, and communities that model living ecosystems. By understanding patterns in nature, students will learn how to grow food, manage water catchment and storage, utilize renewable energy and build community.

The ecological design course covers themes such as: ecological systems understanding, organic food production, natural soil improvement, watershed restoration, water conservation and management, edible forest gardening, native medicinal plants, natural habitat restoration, healthy buildings and human settlements, community and consensus building strategies, renewable energy systems, sustainable community development, local economics, and ecological planning and design methods.

This 72-hour certificate course, presented by the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network, will be offered over four weekends with leading permaculture teachers including Emily Axelbaum, Christine Gyovai, Dave Jacke, Hub Knott, Terry Lilley, Dave O’Neill, and guests (teacher bios on the website). The course will be held near Charlottesville, Virginia, at Montfair on the following dates:

Dates: Jan. 13-16, Jan. 27-29, Feb. 18-20, and March 3-4, 2012.

The cost for this course will be a sliding scale, including a discount for early registration. If you register by November 15 the sliding scale is $895-$1200. After November 15 the sliding scale is $995-$1200. A few work trade positions are available for partial tuition; inquire soon about work trade guidelines and availability. The work-trade application deadline ends on December 1st, 2011, and limited scholarships may be available, inquire for details. To register please visit the BRPN website for a registration form, or contact Terry Lilley at or 434-296-3963.

2. Apprentice Teachers for Spring Permaculture Design Course

The Blue Ridge Permaculture Network is now accepting applicants for two apprentice teaching positions for the Winter-Spring 2012 PDC. Please see the website for more details on how to apply: Applications should be submitted by October 24, 2011. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

3. Gathering stories from PDC Alumni!

Thanks to all the past participants of the PDC course for making the BRPN what it is. For ages past, cultures have shared their stories of experience to the community. Elders of those communities have said the sharing of stories is key to making them stronger and more resilient. It was a daily practice, a core routine, that storytelling was done. It is in this light, that we are asking former BRPN alumni to share (as well people who have taken PDCs with other organizations).

Our Winter 2012 PDC is around the corner and we are hoping to collect stories from alumni to share on the BRPN website (examples: and in the course binder for the upcoming class. We are looking more specifically for stories about how you are implementing permaculture into your life and what affect your study of permaculture has had on you. Your story can be shared in a few paragraphs or so and feel free to send any photos of your work or land or life that go along with your story. We not only love to hear how it is going out there for you, but we also know that it inspires others. So thank you in advance for taking the time to tell your story.

Your stories and any questions can be sent to Emily Axelbaum,

Good to Go Foods' of Roanoke, VA offers monthly programs in growing, harvesting, preparing and preserving the abundance of Southwest Virginia. Cooks' Collaborative brings folks together to share cooking skills and the fruits of our work. Star City Culture Club helps participants learn and share traditional fermentation skills: making breads, cheese, yogurt, cultured vegetables, tempeh, and medicinal libations.
Nancy is available for cooking classes, food writing and research, recipe development, and free-lance, natural foods and/or vegetarian chef services. She would love to entertain and inspire your group or class on almost any topic related to growing, preparing, and preserving vegetables and herbs. Phone Nancy Maurelli at 540/345-3405 to register/receive location details or check out the Good to Go Foods listing at

Sacred Plant Traditions - Foundations of Herbalism Program

This is the heart and soul of our teachings here at SPT. These programs are for those wishing to help their friends and families maintain health, deepen their plant knowledge or begin the training as a community herbalist. The curriculum is dynamic, contemplative and provides a sense of community as we move through the seasons learning each step of the process. The course of study is one weekend per month beginning March of 2011.

It is time to register for our Nine-Month Foundations Program beginning March of 2012!

Cville CSF, a CSA for fish started by students in the School of Architecture at U. Va., will begin its fall season this Saturday! The community-supported fishery is a subscription program that features responsibly-raised catfish, rainbow trout, and freshwater prawns from south-central Virginia, brought on a biweekly basis by one of the farmers to the Charlottesville Farmers' Market. All of the fish is raised without hormones or antibiotics and on land free of pesticides and herbicides. The farmers take great pride in their fish, and have expressed their deep gratitude for the guaranteed market the CSF model

For our fall season, we offer shares of catfish, trout, and prawns individually, as well as shares that mix and match the three species. Our brochure is attached to this email, which describes all of our share options in detail. Each share consists of six pickups over the course of twelve weeks, but if anyone expects to miss a week, we offer reduced subscriptions, as well. Please feel free to either email me or Doug Dickerson ( or go to our website: There you can find a profile of the farmers, as well as purchase shares online. We ask that all orders be received by this coming Friday, but any latecomers are welcome as well!

If you're looking for local fish and would like to help support small farm communities, please consider joining us!

Transition C'ville/Albemarle
When: Mon, October 17, 6pm – 9pm
Where: Unitarian Church - 717 Rugby Road (map) in Charlottesville
Description: TRANSITION CHARLOTTESVILLE/ALBEMARLE Transition Charlottesville/Albemarle is a group of individuals attempting to discover ways to help our communities adapt and thrive in response to climate change, peak oil, and a challenging economy. For more information goto and We meet the third Monday of each month at the Unitarian Church 717 Rugby Road 6:30 P.M. – Pot Luck meet and greet newcomers – powerpoint introduction 7-8:30 P.M. Meeting

Thursday, October 13th, 6pm
Green Drinks Charlottesville
Brookeville Restaurant (225 West Main St, above Escafe)
Several of us went last week, shared a local brew, and met others working and organizing to keep our communities groovy and green. We hope you’ll join us this time around!

October 21-23, come out and share our local sustainability efforts at the Roanoke Outdoor Circus.
The Urbiculture Foundation will be organizing local sustainability people who want to help spread the word. Whether you have a cool sustainable demo, information or want to help the road crew, let us know!
We have jobs for setting up, taking down, providing information at the tables and more. We’re looking for creative ideas, too.

Common Good City Farm in D.C.
Upcoming Events & Workshops

Common Good City Farm is an urban farm and education center growing food for low-income residents in Washington, DC and providing educational opportunities for all people that help increase food security, improve health, and contribute to environmental sustainability.

Sat. 10/22: Workshop (Free) "Protecting Watersheds: Rain Gardens in our Landscapes"
1:30pm. Learn about the relevance of rain gardens. Website below

Mon. 10/24: International Food Day & Free Movie Screening
6:30pm to 8:30pm. The new documentary "A Community of Gardeners" explores seven community gardens in DC. Website below

Thu. 10/27: Suckers at DC9 — A Concert Benefit.
Brooklyn band "Suckers" at DC9 Nightclub. Ticket proceeds benefit Common Good. Website below

Sat. 10/29: Harvest Festival
11am to 2pm. A free event celebrating the fall and a great growing season. Learn more & RSVP >>

2011 Governor's Conference on Energy Post-Conference Event

Registration Form: Green Building Tour

October 19, 2011 • 8:30 am–12:30 pm

Co-hosted by VSBN and James River Green Building Council

Meet at the Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 West Broad Street, Richmond, at 8:30 am to go by bus to the three Green Building tour locations. This tour will feature the Moseley Architects office, an historic building renovated to high performance standards; the Virginia Commonwealth University Cary Street Gymnasium, another historic building now featuring 21st century systems; and the McGuire Veterans Hospital, a major institutional campus, which features existing building upgrades, as well as new construction. The tour group is limited to 20 participants.

Two excellent PBS programs dealing with sustainable agriculture. They are archived on the PBS site and you can stream either one on your PC.

The first, "The Botany of Desire" has a racy title and is quite fascinating, but actually covers the origins of some of the world's most popular plants, the need for biodiversity and preservation of native species, and the problems and risks created by modern industrial farming. The link below is a 5 minute trailer, which then gives you the option of watching the entire 1:55 hour program or selected chapters by topic. The trailer is here:

The second is "Silence of the Bees". The dwindling populations of native honeybees around the world is alarming -- Especially since the stinkbug invasion the past two years has led to widespread use of systemic pesticides in the US that are banned in Europe due to their observed link to Colony Collapse Disorder. The gardening websites I frequent now have threads raving about the benefits of Ortho Flower Fruit and Vegetable Spray which contains neonicotinoid neurotoxins.

According to the product label, this chemical is toxic to humans, just not as toxic as it is to insects. It is a systemic insecticide, meaning it is absorbed into the capillary system of the plant - you can't get rid of it by washing, peeling, etc., but you can pass it on to your baby if you are pregnant or nursing. It is also exuded into the nectar and pollen -- thus poisoning all pollinating insects, not just honeybees. Don't get me started.

Albert Einstein once said, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Anyway, this link gives you the option of watching the entire program or selected segments:

Finally, if you follow Dr. Mercola as I do, here's a link to his article discussing the health implications of the above topics (also be sure to check out the readers' comments following the main article):

Elfin Permaculture Announces
15th Annual Permaculture Design Course Online

After a one-year sabbatical, Elfin Permaculture's Annual Permaculture Design Course Online resumes, beginning Jan. 9, 2012. The course benefits from experience gleaned during a decade and a half of Elfin Permaculture online courses, and about 30 years of permaculture teaching by the lead instructor, Dan Hemenway.

The certificate course runs six months and includes the following learning approaches:

• Extensive reading in books, papers, both in print and on the course CD-ROM;
• 21 modules of at least one week, mainly presented on the CD, representing the formal presentations of course instructors;
• At least four reports from each student, including a full permaculture design report[1];
• Class discussion, via email, of readings and reports, as well as questions and issues raised by students or instructors;
• The opportunity to participate in student study groups where interested students can pursue any agreed-upon topic for as long as they wish (independently of the course schedule);
• Support for students by three instructors: Dan Hemenway, course designer leader; Cynthia Hemenway CNM, designer and discussion leader for a special week on Design for Health, and Robert Waldrop, founder of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and leader of several online discussion groups, our course moderator and discussion leader. You may read further background of our instructors on our web site. In practice, Robert will lead most discussion groups and review early design work and Dan will review more complete design drafts and provide deep backup throughout, as needed. Cynthia focuses mainly on the Design for Health module and serves as further deep back up for Dan.

The online course consists of three consecutive sections, plus work on a permaculture design which students undertake throughout the cycle in which they are registered. Samples of student design work are included in the course CD. We offer several registration options to accommodate people in varied circumstances including a non-certificate track, certificate training in one six-month cycle, and a two year ‘deliberate track’ that enables a student to participate in two consecutive course cycles and take ample time to prepare the design report for certification.

Registration is limited because of the time required to review and critique individual designs. (See below for registration limits.) Because students may enroll in a fast track or deliberate track, each with different design report deadlines, we can accommodate more students.

To review information about the course methodology, content, certification requirements, tuition & fees, registration process, scholarship policies, reading list & cost, and assignment schedule, download the free course preregistration package from our web site,

To download only the package without visiting our site, go to

ANNUAL LETTER – Barking Frogs Permaculture Center

All of the projects described in our 2010-2011 letter continue at Barking Frogs Permaculture Center. Therefore we will tack changes to the course announcement, and avoid sending this to you separately.

14. Form your Team for the 2nd Annual Wayside Cup
Wayside Center for Popular Education (1100 Mill Pond Rd, Faber, VA 22938)
How it works: Teams of 4 to 6 dedicated movement builders raise money and show up at the Center in Faber, VA to compete in an all day extravaganza of friendly competition in an activist field day and have an awesome time! There will be fun prizes and incentives along the way and the winning team will take home the Wayside Cup and return to defend it next year. For more information visit
Contact Joanie at to sign up!