June 30, 2010

Natural Foodie: Permaculturists will gather in Unity this weekend

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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During a recent permaculture gathering at the Newforest Institute, which is the site of one of the Friday field trips, attendees enjoyed pizza made from garden-fresh ingredients and cooked in a wood-fired cob oven. During this weekend's Permaculture Convergence, participants can learn how to make a similar cob oven and enjoy meals prepared from organic, local foods.

Charles Yelton photo

Friday to Sunday
WHERE: Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Common Ground Education Center, Unity
HOW MUCH: $75 to $125, sliding scale for full weekend pass including on-site camping; $50 for single day pass; $50 for Friday field trips. Children under 13 attend for free. All meals included with registration
INFO: http://northeastconvergence.wordpress.com

Also on the docket is a talk by Julia and Charles Yelton, who run the Humustacia Permaculture Gardens and are considered the elder statesmen of permaculture in Maine. The pair will offer a workshop Saturday afternoon called “Our Cosmological Connections,” which takes a global look at our interconnectedness with the world around us and the responsibilities that entails.

According to Julia Yelton, interest in permaculture is growing here in Maine and throughout the Northeast.

“When we brought permaculture here in 1997, people didn’t even know what we were talking about,” Yelton said. “(Since then) the Northeast has become a very rich region for permaculture.”

Merkel, who is also one of the event coordinators and the co-executive director of the Newforest Institute, said Maine is ripe for a permaculture revolution.

“We have some of the nation’s leaders in organic farming and permaculture here in Maine,” said Merkel, who is the author of “Radical Simplicity.” “Most Mainers already know what permaculture is, even if they don’t use the word.”
For Fernandes, permaculture makes a perfect fit with Yankee ingenuity and self-reliance.

“I think Maine is really fertile ground for permaculture because a lot of permaculture is good common sense,” Fernandes said. “We have a tradition of being resilient and working with neighbors to overcome challenges. Other parts of the country have lost that resilience.”

This is one more reason to celebrate our corner of the globe. And with so many permaculturists in the state this weekend, I’m hopeful that their can-do approach to the world’s woes will linger once the event is over.

Because as Merkel observed, “The economy and the oil spill are both related to living out of balance with nature. But when you have your garden planted, the world economy can do what it likes and you’ll still have your vegetables.”

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

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