Category Archives
Permaculture

The Permablitz

I’m a creature of habit. And in a permaculture program like this one, centered on observation and tied to the seasons, I notice the rhythm of my routine expanding and contracting to fit the days: a year of breaths measured in the cycles of nature. Now in the waning days before the winter solstice, we’re …

Spore Disbursal

Halfway through the second day of a recent weekend workshop, our instructor, Tony, paused and narrowed his eyes in a moment of thought. We’d met him for the first time only the day before, but I could tell he was weighing whether or not to chase down a galloping tangent before it raced away. “You …

Getting used to a Guerilla Garden

Many of the uniquely well-integrated and well-used urban gardens we’ve explored this year sit on public land: Spring Ridge Common, Canada’s oldest public food forest; the Compost Education Centre demonstration site; and the Vic High learning farm, cultivated in partnership with Mason Street Farm, are all located on local School Division property. Sometimes the arrangements …

Water for the Wise

Southern Vancouver Island enjoys a warm summer Mediterranean climate, but the summers have been hotter and drier in recent years. Heat-stressed cedar hedges in the city show dry tips that brown and lengthen as the months draw on; island arborists have noted increased numbers of Douglas firs and Western redcedars dying during dry stretches. Ravenhill …

A Trip to the Mushroom Show

One night earlier this week the wind was lashing raindrops hard against my window, in a way it hasn’t since last winter. Lightning and thunder are a rarity on this part of Vancouver Island, as the ocean moderates our air temperature, but now the rain was hammering down in an insistent drumbeat and reminding me …

Permaculture Program Instructor Interview with Solara Goldwynn

Solara Goldwynn is an instructor at Pacific Rim College’s School of Permaculture Design. Her Perennial Plans and Design Methods classes this year have been featured in the PRC Permaculture blog. We recently sat down with her to talk about the importance of perennial plants, being an idealist, and finding inspiration in a changing climate.   …

Salves, Stories, and Sneezes

Throughout the year, as part of our Herbal Production and Processing class, we’ve chosen a single plant to engage with deeply – from its propagation, through cultivation, harvesting, processing, and finally its therapeutic application. This past week, we assembled to talk about our experiences in this process of growing and medicine-making, and ultimately, in getting …

A Plant Out of Place

The days have been sunny and warm of late, and so the biggest clue that fall has arrived is simply that the moisture is back. A gentle dew darkens the toes of my shoes on the walk across my yard in the mornings; ribbons of mist lick at the trees between the highway and the …

Permaculture Program Instructor Interview with Bryce Gilroy-Scott

Bryce Gilroy-Scott is a consultant specializing in energy modeling and sustainable construction, a lecturer at the Graduate School of the Environment at the Centre for Alternative Technology, and an instructor at Pacific Rim College. This year, he taught the Energy Systems class for our Permaculture Design and Resilient Ecosystem Diploma program – parts of which …

Agents of Succession

Our last couple of field trips have explored how permaculture principles have been applied by local businesses: shaping company decisions both core and peripheral, and generating networks of restaurants, growers, roasters, visionary landscapers, and others who work to promote a kind of exchange that is ethical and regenerative. But the daydreamer version of myself has …