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Permaculture Plantation Conversion in Northwest Louisiana

 
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Dear Permies,

This is my first post to the permie blogs.

I'm a native Louisianan, and I've lived in and around NYC for thirteen years getting a pretty broad education. I'm finishing up law school this Spring and moving back to Shreveport, LA, my hometown. My family have a 200 acre property (zoned Agricultural/Improved) with fields, a lake, wetlands, and pine and cypress forests and a sort of plantation house there, close to some McMansiony suburbs, but outside the city limits. In the last year or so I have discovered what a dangerous and unsustainable road America is speeding down, and then I discovered permaculture. I have been learning everything I can find about it online, and I went to a workshop in upstate New York to practice a few basics (swale+berm placement and digging, planting, pruning, and some ecosystem building theory).

Though my personal philosophy is not to be easily convinced of things, I have a strong sense that Permaculture is the answer I have been looking for since I first started studying philosophy. So in my first post, I'd like to ask the community here, which seems so supportive and knowledgeable, for any advice you might have for getting started in permaculture in a place like Louisiana, and especially to ask if anyone who reads this who might be willing to lend advice or assistance in such a project. I know I haven't given many details yet, but I suppose that can be fleshed out more below, if a conversation gets started.

Please write to me if you have any thoughts; I look forward to getting to know some of you!

Yours,
John-Paul Young
 
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Location: northern California
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Yours isn't the first sizeable permaculture project in your area. I actually took my PDC at the state park at Lake Bistineau in 2000 with Geoff Lawton, with a weekend workshop with Mollison himself. A group had come together called NWLCC (NW Louisiana Commerce Center), and limited access had been granted to portions of the LAAAP (LA Army Ammunition Plant?) which had been mothballed for some time, for design work and possibly development. As a PDC student it all seemed quite ambitious and exciting, but I think nothing ever came of it except maybe another PDC or two. I think maybe the Army decided they needed to gear that place back into production for the Iraq war as well. But you might hear some interesting stories and meet some interesting people by following these leads. There were several local people in my PDC, including a deputy sherriff......
 
John-Paul Young
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Oh wow, Thanks Alder! I unfortunately was busy applying to college in 2000, and I wouldn't have been impressed to learn that either Lawton or Mollison (!!) was near my hometown. Now, I hope, I am a little wiser. But I will try to find out more about this event and please let me know if you come across any contact info for any of the people who were involved. Thanks again, and all best to you. J-P
 
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Here's a recent event that Jack Spirko helped organize in Saline. The podcast is linked in there where they discuss the property. Think you might have a neighbor working on something similar!

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/earthworks-course-and-urban-design-course
http://www.permacultureclassroom.com/contact.html
 
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Location: Georgia
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Is the plantation house habitable and available to you? Can you
feel comfortable the family will not want to sell the land for McMansions?

My advise is to establish yourself in your chosen field and get enough income
coming in to do whatever you want to do with the land. Shreveport is pretty
flat and a lot of the earth moving, swales etc. lend themselves to improving
difficult piece of land. I suspect what you have is pretty much prime stuff.
You can probably grow whatever you want to and use any permaculture ideas
that appeal to you.
 
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Alder,
I was actually in that class!
gift
 
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