@SolarPuertoRico, Community Building, Energy, First Circle Coaching, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Systems Thinking

@SolarPuertoRico: No Limitations Beyond Design Considerations

BAREIDanoskiInstall (33)There are no limitations in designing any project, property, or life plan beyond the design considerations. This is the case in Puerto Rico.

Many people have voiced support for @SolarPuertoRico. Each has brought up the difficulties presented by the project. These are all design considerations which will advise how we proceed.

“Wait… What about a budget?? Surely that’s a limitation!”

The budget is a design consideration. It’s part of the existing conditions, present at the start of strategic planning.

“How will we get the solar panels, wiring, infrastructure there?”

This is also an existing condition. The solar company @Sunnova_Solar led by @SunnovaCEO John Berger has projects in Puerto Rico. He has met with Puerto Rico’s governor @RicardoRossello. I hope to hear back from them soon. Perhaps you know someone who works there?

“What about labor? How will you find people with the right experience to train locals in force? People can’t volunteer that kind of time!”

BAREIMichaudPathfinder (1)I agree, it’s not fair to ask people to volunteer their time and expertise to work on @SolarPuertoRico. Those who participate will experience opportunity cost by spending time away from their loved ones, and living conditions in Puerto Rico will be challenging. My plan is that people will get paid for their work. (Though I’m hoping people will contact me to volunteer if they want to help develop the project. It will make this much more fun!)

Would you like to be involved? Do you have a contact in Puerto Rico? If so, please get in touch! ¡Vamos a Hacerlo! Let’s do it!

BAREIGroupShot
PAREI, BAREI & Berlin BetterBuildings Energy Raiser, Berlin NH 2013

Dynamic Governance, First Circle Coaching, Green Collar Economy, Inner Ecosystem, Insights, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

2016: my free-fall into uncertainty

Have you ever leaned back and let yourself fall? A dear frien160701TPGPcr.jpgd of mine tells the story of facilitating a workshop with young people. One by one they climbed onto a table, leaned back and let themselves be caught by their cohort. As the last student emerged from the arms of his new friends, a feisty student with a mischievous gleam in his eye challenged E to do the same. He climbed onto the table, turned around and trusted. His eyes twinkle as he recalls the students catching him, and the shared feeling of trust.

Falling into uncertainty is a scary thing. It is a free-fall into self-trust.

Understanding that we are all living in uncertainty is en-lightening. People often remark on how brave I am to let go of traditional definitions of success, and follow my pathway to thriving, walking in uncertainty. Traditional pathways also contain uncertainty, though many create illusions of certainty for themselves by defining their lives through traditional models of success. At any moment each of us could be faced with a debilitating disease, the loss of a loved-one, or a natural disaster that renders us homeless. The only thing that is absolutely certain is your personal experience of this present moment.

At this moment, I am warm, and safe, and dry, and fed, and loved.  And grateful.

2016 is the first year I committed myself to celebrating uncertainty. I shifted my focus from cimbria-and-the-bee-crfear of what could happen to a celebration of all the things I couldn’t possibly expect. I listened more closely to the whispers of my heart. I let go of definitions of myself I had carried for many years, illusions based on my reflection in the mirror of society. These definitions had begun to feel too heavy for me to bear any longer. Putting them down, rather than putting myself down for not meeting expectations – mine or others – was the most compassionate thing I have ever done for myself. Giving up this burden gave me the strength to look inward and become familiar with the love-ly woman-child giggling inside of me, full of wonder.

It’s been a year of challenges, and a year of celebrations. I want to thank all of the people who accompanied me on my journey this year. Having touched you, I carry your DNA. It is helping to shape the future me physically. You are literally becoming part of me, and will live inside me forever.

Having heard your stories, comforted your fears, shared your tears and roared fiercely with you, I am a stronger and more compassionate person. You have helped shape the way I think, how I communicate, and what I pay attention to. You’ve helped me learn how to be vulnerable, ask questions, face fear peacefully, and create opportunity. You have helped me recognize and invite others to experience my Unique Genius. You may not have intended that our shared experience would be such a blessing in my life. I thank you anyway, for the precious gift of your time and perspective.

I myself have never climbed onto a table and fallen, trusting others to catch me. I would like to experience that some day. My free-fall was into uncertainty, trusting myself to catch me. And I did. And I do.

 

Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

July 15 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stormwater Analysis of Crowell Park

Session 8 of the Turning Point Gratitude Project permaculture course will be a field trip to Crowell Lot in Brattleboro. This session will be free and open to the public.

crowellLot

This heavily wooded park is very popular with neighbors. It borders on the Green Street School and has a playground. It has also been know to be camp for squatters. It was initially chosen as the site for the town skate board park, which will now be built in Memorial Park.

This park is located at the corner of Western Avenue and Union Street. It is owned by the school district, and slops towards the Whetstone Brook and Connecticut River. The “Whetstone Brook flows west to east from the hills of Marlboro across Brattleboro before emptying into the Connecticut River in downtown Brattleboro (Whetstone). The brook’s headwaters originate at over 1,500 feet above sea level at Hidden Lake. The brook cascades down from steep hills and follows Vermont Rte. 9 to the Connecticut River flatlands. The brook empties into the Connecticut River at 250 feet above sea level, dropping over 1,250 feet in just seven miles of stream length (Whetstone). Approximately 69% of the watershed resides in Brattleboro with 29% of the land in Marlboro and 2% of the land within Dummerston (Whetstone, 2008). The watershed contains nearly 20 miles of streams and a mix of rural, residential and urban land.” (Watershed description taken from a Vermont Environmental Conservation publication.)

During this session participants will analyze water flow, including how the site is being affected or affects its neighboring properties. The participants have learned a lot about water flow, how water and land interact, and how to retain this valuable resource on site for use in creating an edible landscape aligned with the existing ecosystem. They’ve learned the value of stacking functions, using and enhancing existing patterns, how forest layers interact, and how to use the permaculture principles and ethics to guide their designs.

Join us for what will be an interesting and informative session. This will be the final session before the students focus on the Turning Point edible forest garden design. If you have questions about the Turning Point Gratitude Project, the stormwater analysis of Crowell Lot, or want to talk about using ecological design to manage stormwater on your site, please contact me!

Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

TPGP Makes the Airwaves with Green Mountain Mornings

Many thanks to Chris Lenois of WKVT Radio’s Green Mountain Mornings. Chris invited us in to speak about the Turning Point Gratitude Project. Chris asked many really insightful questions about the benefits to the Turning Point of Windham County community. Take a listen!

TPGPPC

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Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

Turning Point Gratitude Project Permaculture Course Launches!

The Turning Point Gratitude Project launched Tuesday June 2nd with a session introducing permaculture theory, ethics and principles to the participants. Permaculture is as much about creating social abundance as it is about ecological abundance. We discussed our hopes or goals for the course, and what our expectations are. Community is all important, and the bonding of a PDC cohort is something which provides grace and beauty to the final group design.

The first session took place at Turning Point of Windham County and involved a walk through the site, including the building. The participants became familiar with the permaculture principles: Observe & Interact, Catch & Store Energy, Obtain a Yield, Self-Regulate/Accept Feedback, Use & Value Renewables, Produce No Waste, Design from Patterns to Detail, Integrate, Slow, Small Solutions, Use & Value Diversity, Value the Marginal.

As we toured the site for the first time together, we noticed where these principles and correlating ethics of Care for the Earth, Care for People, and Fair Share are already being demonstrated. Participants were introduced to the concept of “stacking functions”, which is to receive many types of yields from one item, such as a tree, or a chicken, or a fence. Students looked for evidence of this on the site.

Our role as designers is to recognize what is working, and to help build on the successes which exist in the ecosystem. (Tuesday June 9th we will look at the existing conditions at a homestead on Bonnyvale Road. If you’d like to join us, please contact me by close of business Monday June 8th.)

The enthusiasm in the group was very inspiring. As is the case for many budding permies, being around people who share your love and support for ecosystems is heady stuff. Understanding the dynamics of the natural system and viewing it through a permaculture lens enhances the way you look at all the ecosystems in your life: natural, social and professional.

Session 2 ~ Tuesday, June 9, 2015
6 BTT Hours or EBT card FREE (Inquire if you would like to join us for a nominal fee)
Water & Landscape, Soil & Earthworks

In this session you will visit a homestead in Guilford where hugel culture is being implemented. We will dive more deeply into the interaction between water and land, and what the consequences are when we disturb the land without understanding how its systems work

Knowledge covered
Principles:
Observe & Interact, Catch & Store Energy, Obtain a Yield, Self-Regulate/Accept Feedback, Use & Value Renewables, Produce No Waste, Design from Patterns to Detail, Integrate, Slow, Small Solutions, Use & Value Diversity, Value the Marginal

Ethics:
♦ Care for the Earth – Environmental goals
♦ Care for People – Social goals
♦ Fair Share – Embrace justice for all beings

Learning Objectives
How are you affecting the water cycle where you live? What are the duties of water? How can you design so you support your water and soil relationship, and accomplish as many functions as possible? The best question is the one that is asked.

Skills covered:
♦ We continue to build a cooperative and non-threatening environment in which to learn.
♦ In understanding of how soil and water are intricately linked, demonstrated by hugel culture.
♦ An understanding of how soils and plants can provide carbon sequestration.
♦ Become familiar with designs that have dealt with soil issues successfully.

Collective Genius, Community Building, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

Turning Point Gratitude Project Recieves 2015 Seed Grant from NEGEF!

We are deeply grateful to the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund for awarding the Turning Point Gratitude Project one of their 2015 Seed Grants. Wrote Ally Philip, Program Coordinator, during a recent correspondence, “We are happy to support such an innovative project that touches upon several of NEGEF’s issue areas.” We are quite happy too, Ally! The funds will go to defray some of the costs incurred in setting up the program, purchasing materials for the classes and implementation of the design.

Thank you so much NEGEF! Want to donate to our project? Contact Turning Point of Windham County Executive Director Susan Walker at TPWC.1 (at) hotmail.com. Your gift is tax-deductible! We will also need materials and manpower to implement the design once it’s complete. You’ll be in great company!

Here is the course outline: TPGPCourseOutlineRev. The registration fee for the full PDC is $500, (which is one third to one quarter of the usual cost for certification). If you would like to enroll in the Permaculture Design Certification course please use this form: TPGPCourseReg.

To enroll in individual courses, download this registration form: TPGPINDCourseReg. Those who have EBT cards may enroll in individual courses at no cost! If you have questions, please contact Cimbria CimbriaGratitudeProject (at) gmail.com. We look forward to having you play with us in the garden!

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Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

Turning Point Gratitude Project Course Outline & Registration Forms

We are less than a week away from the first session of the Turning Point Gratitude Project Ecological Design Course. The first session begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday June 2nd and runs until 1 p.m. Here is what will be covered next Tuesday:

Session 1 ~ Introduction to Permanent Agriculture and Ecological Design Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Cost: 5 BTT Hours or $35 (Free with EBT Card)

Certification Course Registration Form: TPGPCourseReg
Individual Course Registration Form: TPGPCourseBTTEBTReg
To view the Course Schedule: TPGPCourseOutline

In this session you will learn the origins of Permaculture and how it is meant to provide a means to ecological justice for all beings. The earth and other living beings demonste what works best, what they need to thrive, and how to live in an integrated landscape. Permaculture is a way of life, not a different way of gardening. What are your hopes for the session?

Knowledge covered
Principles: Observe & Interact, Catch & Store Energy, Obtain a Yield, Self-Regulate/Accept Feedback,  Use & Value Renewables, Produce No Waste, Design from Patterns to Detail, Integrate, Slow, Small Solutions, Use & Value Diversity, Value the Marginal

Ethics: Care for the Earth – Environmental goal, Care for People – Social goals, Fair Share – Embrace justice for all beings

Learning Objectives
The origins and goals of the Turning Point Gratitude Project will be explained. You will meet the Executive Director, Susan Walker of Turning Point of Windham County, and some of the Board Members and Volunteers who will be working with us throughout the project.

How can we slow the damage being done to our planet, and even begin to restore ecosystem services? How much you learn and what your takeaway from the class will be up to you. The best question is the one that is asked. We will begin to develop relationship, and plot our session.

Skills covered:

  • We will begin building a cooperative and non-threatening environment in which to learn.
  • An understanding of the Principles and Ethics, and why they are the bedrock of our practice
  • Principles of Ecology: An understanding of how climate change is affecting us in our daily lives, in our home environment (land practices contributing to Stormwater runoff).
  • We will review the cycles of Earth and the food chain. What are limiting factors?
  • We will begin to understand how time, diversity and stability are related.
Collective Genius, Community Building, Edible Brattleboro, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

Turning Point Gratitude Project:  What is a “Gratitude Project”? Why Turning Point?

When I moved to the One and Only Brattleboro VT in September 2014, I felt called to demonstrate my gratitude. This community feels like home. I began planning how I could combine my life philosophy, permaculture, with a service project which would help improve food justice, provide stakeholders with a natural landscape in which to congregate, create workforce training opportunities, and slow, spread and sink stormwater currently inundating the Whetstone Brook. Turning Point’s location at 39 Elm Street is the perfect site for this project, and the staff and stakeholders are just as excited about it as I am. The Board is terrific, and there are many Master Gardeners already tied into the group.

Turning Point Addiction & Recovery Center moved to downtown Brattleboro after being located in a more remote area. The move helped increase their ability to provide services to area residents who don’t have access to private transportation. There was damage in the basement from Hurricane Irene, which brought more than 2′ to the Frost/Flat/Elm corridor. TPAprilShowers (18) TPAprilShowers (25)

Water from sites above, all the way to Western Avenue and beyond, eventually settles in this neighborhood, as do all the pollutants. This makes the area around the building very rocky.      

TPGPHarvestingRockApril (6)Volunteers have begun harvesting rock to be used as materials once the design is completed.

A full Permaculture Certification Course will be offered based at the site during June and July 2015 for a cost of $500. (This is less than half of what courses usually cost, and is mainly to cover expenses for the Gratitude Project.) The course schedule is almost finalized.

We’ll invite individuals to attend the workshops singly. Stakeholders for Turning Point and people receiving EBT (3-Squares VT) will be able to attend the training sessions at no cost. We are also offering an option to attend individual sessions through Brattleboro Time Trade. Participant hours received for attendance of the courses will be used to “pay” volunteers who help implement the project. This could only happen in a town that has hundreds of engaged Time Trade members, as Brattleboro does!

We would appreciate any donations of materials or plants. Right now we need barrels which can be used to hold rocks until the implementation begins. A wheelbarrow or two would be nice!

The Grand Opening of the new site will be in September. That will be quite a celebration for Turning Point staff, stakeholders, and for me. A real celebration of their mission and vision, of the committed staff and Board, and of this town that I love, the One and Only Brattleboro, Vermont!

Check out the program schedule here!

Community Building, Edible Brattleboro, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Systems Thinking

The Launch of Edible Brattleboro

A lively group of Brattleboro residents met today at the Brattleboro Co-op cafe to launch a new project. Each of us came to the meeting with varied backgrounds and the unifying goal of encouraging land owners to consider moving away from traditional landscaping and towards using permaculture to design edible front yards. There are already a large number of homeowners in the town proper who grow more kale and other veggies than box hedges and day lilies. We hope to recruit these forward thinkers to assist with implementing similar projects in community spaces.

Upon arriving in Brattleboro I contacted some human service organizations to offer assistance in creating edible forest gardens on their property, as a service project. The ideal organization will see the value in designing their site as a space that will serve many functions: food for the clients and staff, outside meeting areas, wildlife habitat, and badly needed stormwater management that will slow the flow of water to the Whetstone and Connecticut Rivers. This week I will send out invitations to the directors of some of these organizations to explain the benefits of partnering with Edible Brattleboro. Imagine Morningside Shelter surrounded by blueberry bushes! Picture Brattleboro Housing Authority properties with community gardens which could provide healthy food for the families in residence. Permaculture can make this happen in a way that is low maintenance, manages stormwater and educates kids about food systems. Edible Brattleboro can make this happen in a manner that further binds our community together. Do you know a human service organization in Brattleboro that would benefit from partnering with us?

Our first project will allow our team to become acquainted, and to more fully understand the individual gifts we bring to the group. It will provide an an opportunity to share my knowledge of permaculture with people eager to learn about its framework and principles. Our new group is eager to get started. Would you like to play with us? We will be presenting information on Edible Brattleboro at the Climate Change Cafe meeting hosted by Post Oil Solutions Tuesday January 27th at 6 pm in the meeting room at Brooks Memorial Library. Our next team meeting is scheduled for Sunday February 1st, before the CT Rivershed Permaculture Group meeting. (Don’t worry, we’ll be done before the Super Bowl starts!) Feel free to contact me to learn more about Edible Brattleboro, everyone is welcome to participate as we grow edibles everywhere!