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My name is Elan Goldbart and I took a PDC when I was 17 in the summer of 2009. Since then, I have designed and constructed forest gardens at my high school in Danville, CA (The Athenian School) and at a couple urban plots in Berkeley, CA. My intention for this topic is to find other permies from my generation/age group who are doing projects and spreading the movement in their communities. I recently took an advanced permaculture course in teaching and I have been thinking about how permaculture could be incorporated into high school curriculum. Since i graduated last year, various students at my school have continued the permaculture club and are actively working on more land care projects on the stunning 75 acre campus. I am now on my way to the University of California at Santa Cruz with plans to pursue an individual major in Regenerative Systems Ecology...in other words, permaculture. 
 
Josh T-Hansen
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Hi Elan, I'm Joshua Thomson-Hansen, 20 years old.  Let me just say, quite impressive drive and motivation you display.  Young adults interested in Permaculture are a small but growing minority and it is nice to read about individuals getting it done.  I'm relatively new to the subject (almost a complete 180 from where I was 1 year ago), and without much experience.  This summer I took the PDC in Portland, OR at Tryon Life Community  Farm, but I am from and currently live in Brimfield, MA.  I am currently reading Edible Forest Gardens and finding it quite exciting, although I have much to learn before strongly pushing the movement here.  Especially since I recently moved cross country, and am still contemplating the future.

I think this topic is a good idea and could yield some useful connections between up and comers.  Perhaps a "youthful permaculturists" facebook group is in order?
 
                                
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Edible Forest Gardens was the first permaculture "bible" that I really got into...I took my pdc in Shutesburry, MA at the Sirius community and it was a two part course--pdc+forest gardening intensive with Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. If you ever have the chance, go check out the ecovillage in Shutesburry.

Are you in a university or on free range? I have been contemplating how permaculture can be integrated into a university setting...I have met with one teacher, Andrew Millison, who has been really pushing a movement at oregon state university...he also established classes and a demonstration site at prescott college in arizona.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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At 29, I'm noticeably older, but from a certain perspective, we might be in the same generation.

I see people my age doing serious work that tends toward permaculture in a few different places. You might look into SOL (Sustaining Ourselves Locally) down in the San Antonio district of Oakland.
 
Josh T-Hansen
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Having a permie perspective before you start at a university will give you the edge no matter what major.  And, I'm sure some teachers will give you extra leeway to integrate it with projects/papers if you inform them of your intentions.  Probably your best bet is to do some extracurriculars too so don't stress hard about getting straight A's.

I did the opposite, went to school for business, decided to try something else, discovered permaculture, and now I'm free ranging.  That's awesome you took the PDC at Sirius, I was actually planning on attending an open house there soon.
 
Heda Ledus
Posts: 71
Location: San Francisco
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Hi I'm Levi Maxwell and I'm 17 years old. I've read most of the U.S. avaliable permaculture books, but I  have never done a formal class. However I have been working at a permaculture farm for several months.

Before that all I had done was a friends backyard applying no-till polycuture techniques to a garden. I also did some soil building in my old backyard but had to move before I was able to start planting (3 months of work for nothing  :cry

However I am moreso interested in plant research; specifically cultivars/species from the Andes, South Africa, Highland Ethiopia & Southern Australia and their ability to survive and thrive not only in San Francisco (Where anything can grow depending on the neighborhood)
but also throughout the coastal region extending to the the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island in Canada.

I have an outlet for this now that I am doing an internship with Hayes Valley farm in San Francisco as a plant propagator and greenhouse worker.


Elan that is so great your going to UC Santa Cruz! I want to go there in a couple of years or so for the Summer program (Commuting will be a challenge though). Is there any special interest you want to apply or learn while studying?
 
                                
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Well, the major i am currently designing and writing a proposal for would bring together aspects of env. studies, engineering, earth sciences, ecology and evolution, and community studies (which doesnt exist as a major there anymore). I am also looking into teaching possibilities (workshops, mini-courses, PDC) in the santa cruz region. One of my ideas for a senior capstone project would be to co-teach a PDC in the university setting. The school, however, lacks environmental design and architecture majors so i will probably take classes at other universities at some point.

What I am especially excited about is that my dad and i have been looking to buy land (15-40 acres) in the santa cruz mountains (near boulder creek or loch lomond). I have been envisioning endless possibilities for a potential eco-village.
 
Heda Ledus
Posts: 71
Location: San Francisco
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I totally love the idea of moving to the coast (quite further up than Santa Cruz however); I'm from a city similar in climate and near your hometown Oaktree (Vacaville). The entire region seems great to look at, but it seems more conducive for animal husbandry and orchard-savanna type food forests rather than dense food forestry.

Heavily ocean influenced regions totally seem to have alot more to offer in Food Forests; any favorite keystone trees?

I forgot to mention that I was part of a Young Permaculturist's group back before I moved; I just got a message asking for more activity.

http://www.ypdg.proboards.com/index.cgi

Hopefully we can spread the word to others interested.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I am 14 years old. I got into forest gardening two years ago and (ever since I obtained parental permission) I have been transforming my backyard into a forest garden. I aslo plan to start a permaculture club at my school.
 
                                
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Ahipa wrote:
  The entire region seems great to look at, but it seems more conducive for animal husbandry and orchard-savanna type food forests rather than dense food forestry.


The ecology of the Santa cruz mountains is highly varied depending on the elevation. lower elevations are more influenced by the ocean (fog and wind), they have less rainfall and less summer heat. Higher elevations do not receive nearly as much fog, they have wetter winters and hotter summers. on the coast they receive 18-20 inches of rain, while up the mountain they can receive up to 70-80 inches of rain...therefore, the opportunities for diversity in structure and function of food forests varies greatly depending on the site.

Ahipa wrote:
Heavily ocean influenced regions totally seem to have alot more to offer in Food Forests; any favorite keystone trees?


Some trees i am currently interested in include: Moringa, pines (for nut cultivation), almonds, macadamias, olives, pecans, Jujube, paw paw, tree tomato (Solanum betaceum (syn. Cyphomandra betacea)), feijoas (pineapple guava), and many more...im somewhat of a plant geek

Kirk Hutchison wrote:
I aslo plan to start a permaculture club at my school.


I did this at my high school and it was very effective at gathering people to start a movement and get people interested in doing a pdc or just learning more. Would this be at your middle school or high school?
 
Charlie Michaels
Posts: 124
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Wow 17 looks like the lucky number. My names Charlie, from NJ, I'm also 17 and just heard the word Permaculture about a year ago when I was 16, so I transformed our backyard and I've been working on incorporating as many techniques as I can; perennial poly-cultures, herb spirals, sheet mulching, composting, ect. in hope of learning as much as I can, while I'm still living with my parents.

Looks like we're all in the same Perma-boat here.

I want to bring it to my school and community too but I'm not quite sure what I should do! It could be a forest garden for the school, starting a neighborhood foodshed (where neighbors come together twice a month to share produce and fruit), a seedswap, a community garden, or just getting business from friends to transform gardens.

 
                                
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This is the story of my senior year at high school in a nutshell. i figure it might empower others to go forth and spread permaculture in their youthful communities.

I came into my senior year (2009-2010) just having taken a pdc and i was amped up to affect change at the school. I went to The Athenian School, a small liberal arts school (only 400 students), which has a philosophy that is strikingly in alignment with permacultural ethics. I started the year by giving a presentation to the whole school about the environmental pillar (part of the schools foundation). this stirred up the fire in some people. I then started a permaculture club that met once a week where I provided edutainment: I gave presentations, held conversations, took walks on the 75 acre campus, etc. Each week, more people kept showing up and the idea of doing a school project became interesting to many people. I held a meeting with the schools financial advisor, the head of the school, and the current environmental steward/gardner of one of the school gardens to talk about doing a project... Without them really knowing, I was doing a goals articulation to see what their visions were for the school from an ecological standpoint. After a few more meetings, the head of school and financial advisor suggested that i make this an independent study class and they gave me $500 to start the project (they said i could ask for more if needed). Later on, to get the whole community involved, i wrote a proposal for the student run town hall to donate $500 more to the project. It passed unanimously! By then i had many people each day asking if they could help with making the garden. I hosted 5 major work days where i would get about 30-40 people each time to help dig a swale in heavy clay, to sheet mulch, haul compost and aged horse manure, and more...the garden sparked a movement and there are three new students this year (juniors) who are going to spend the next two years doing another project and continue the movement.

Though the situation in your community might be totally different to start with, i recommend that you just throw yourself out there, gather your friends, educate people (no dogma), and empower yourself and others to make change at your school. Educate yourself along the way, be patient and take more time observing than you spend on the actual design. JUST DO IT!!
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
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I'm 23. Been doing organic farming since I was 19. Short and sweet. Vegetables and fruit are not enough for me. I am trying to figure out mainly how to use permaculture principles to keep animals through the winter without having to purchase feed or plow land to grow grains. Dairy is the most attractive food for me.

I don't want to make "food forests" I want to make "food savanah" that supports a variety of domestic species year round.
 
Heda Ledus
Posts: 71
Location: San Francisco
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oaktree wrote:
The ecology of the Santa cruz mountains is highly varied depending on the elevation. lower elevations are more influenced by the ocean (fog and wind), they have less rainfall and less summer heat. Higher elevations do not receive nearly as much fog, they have wetter winters and hotter summers. on the coast they receive 18-20 inches of rain, while up the mountain they can receive up to 70-80 inches of rain...therefore, the opportunities for diversity in structure and function of food forests varies greatly depending on the site.


The Santa Cruz region has many micro climates and landscapes capable to many different horticulture structures and styles.

  I meant Danville your hometown; it just isn't the best place for dense food forestry unless the soil has very high organic matter, a decent water table & a good microclimate.

Certain parts of the oak savanna become denser when growing in my town but they are the exception it seems.

A forest can really sprout anywhere its just the amount of energy and resources your willing to put in there.


Some trees i am currently interested in include: Moringa, pines (for nut cultivation), almonds, macadamias, olives, pecans, Jujube, paw paw, tree tomato (Solanum betaceum (syn. Cyphomandra betacea)), feijoas (pineapple guava), and many more...im somewhat of a plant geek


HVF is planning on growing a lot of those plants, did you get your list from the e-book West Coast Forestry when they discussed the Permaculture Institute of Santa Cruz ?
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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oaktree wrote:
I did this at my high school and it was very effective at gathering people to start a movement and get people interested in doing a pdc or just learning more. Would this be at your middle school or high school?


  Whoops, I didn't see this for a while. It would be at my high school.
 
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