Stories of the Earth, even of the Universe, are in the places we inhabit. When we take time to observe and participate in our natural heritage, epochal truths are revealed and can be perceived. Exploring the patterns and habits of plants, animals, geology, water and energy in all life around us expands our awareness of belonging to a greater whole.
“The more attuned we are to the beauties of the world, the more we come to life and take joy in it.” ~ Yi-Fu Tuan
The beauty of the world delights our senses. It can induce a childlike sense of wonder. Our awe and curiosity may lead us to question the function and purpose of each non-human we encounter. Do you remember the first time you realized that you, too, are an intricate, beautiful being living on this spinning globe?
Have you questioned your function? Your purpose?
What is your contribution as a living being on this planet?
For most of us, creating opportunities to explore nature means deliberately making space in our busy schedules. Now, more than ever, it is essential for our individual and planetary well-being to spend time experiencing the beauty of our world. The more we pause and listen to the land, the more our attachment grows. This attachment to Home, empowers us to stand and protect it.
The wind, water, trees, and soil, along with all the creatures of the Earth, are asking the human family to attune with the beauty of the world. They are inviting us to ask critical questions about their lives and about our own. What has happened here? What is happening now? What do we want for future generations?
When was the last time you heard the river’s voice and listened to the lessons being sung?
Amy Rhodes, Owner/Director of Land-Based Education & Agritour Design (L-BEAD), is one of 14 students who completed a two-week Permaculture Design Course, offered in July at Weber Retreat and Conference Center in Adrian, Michigan.
Amy hopes to use the knowledge, experience, and human relationships acquired through the course to broaden services offered by L-BEAD. Reflecting on the experience, she stated, “The course inspired me to look deeper into site analysis and improve ways of bringing invisible structures, such as power relationships and social contracts, into the conversation of place through physical and educational designs. Adding the tools required of a permaculture design consultant, I feel more equipped at reading and listening to landscapes designed by Nature. I now have a clearer vision for integrating interpretive, non-formal education programs with holistic self-reliant, skill-building activities for community members of all ages.”
The course was directed by Peter Bane, author of Permaculture Handbook and GardenFarming for Town and Country, and the editor of Permaculture Activist magazine. Peter and the faculty are specialists in permaculture, a contraction of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture. Permaculture focuses on “designing ecological human habitats and food production systems,” according to the Permaculture Activist website, (http://www.permacultureactivist.net/intro/PcIntro.htm). Permaculture is a “land use and community building movement which strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, and water into stable, productive communities.”
“The students had time to learn and then apply permaculture values and design principles on a specific site,” the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse campus, explained Sister Carol Coston, OP, in the Permaculture Office for the Adrian Dominican Congregation, which hosted the course. Rhodes remarked, “This experience really pushed me to ask, ‘What is the pedagogy of this place? What relationships exist here, human and non-human, and how can they be celebrated?”
Sister Carol said the students learned to consider such factors as the “ecological and social context of the major building elements of the campus, emergence of the water system, the shaping of the land into major subdivisions, the movement and use of water and winds through the system and its effects, solar influences and outdoor living spaces, the food handling and campus recycling, major and minor opportunities for cultivation, current and possible harvesting from the environment.”
The three overall values of permaculture work are Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share. These factors can also be considered in the design of permaculture for your home, farm, and/or educational site. Land-Based Education & Agritour Design offers services and programs for clients in Indiana and surrounding Midwest states. Contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a site visit and consultation.
Discovering, recovering and reconstructing ourselves and our communities in relation to the places we inhabit is the goal of place-based education. It is the ultimate educational challenge of our time to learn to listen to the complex relationships that exist between humans and the non-human world. Programs created and implemented by Land-Based Education & Agritour Design (L-BEAD) provide a bridge for participants to explore, learn and celebrate these relationships on farms and natural settings in Indiana. We work in partnership with eco-friendly farms and education initiatives to design program curricula specific to the place of operation. These programs promote sustainable living practices and a bioregional economy. Contact us to learn more on how L-BEAD can help you design your interpretive tourism program.
Set up a time to visit one of programs listed below.
Traders Point Creamery, Zionsville, Indiana Farm Tours click here.
Farm Camps at Traders Point Creamery, Zionsville, Indiana click here
Ludwig Farmstead Creamery, Fithian, Illinois Farm Tours click here.
Interested in sustainabilty education. We are always on the lookout for volunteers, interns, and educators to help! Visit our contact page for links to connect with us.