Permaculture has to be one of the most interesting gardening movements I’ve discovered recently, and I have to thank Jerome Osentowski and Kareen Erbe hugely for letting me interview them about it. The idea of perennial food gardens delights me, and in permaculture that’s just part of the picture: it’s a whole philosophy of living sustainably, and of getting as much of what you need from your own plot of land as possible. I’m all for that, and as I mention part way through—well, both interviews , I think—it’s given me a name for something I’m already trying to do.
I’m honestly not sure what I was up to when I stumbled onto Jerome Osentowski’s Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, which more or less blew my mind. Four greenhouses, and no power needed from off-site? Figs and passion fruit growing at over 7,000 feet? Hello?
My interview with Jerome didn’t answer all my questions—I had to look up what a climate battery is—but I’ll tell you, after hearing him describe the multiple purposes served by his paths, I’m going to redesign mine. I hate wasted space. My paths aren’t wide enough to support big plants in barrels, and they’re not long enough to serve as an archery range, but pallets above organic matter to feed the worms? That I have got to try. Except my paths will need the two-foot-wide version of pallets. Got to work on that.
It may have been even more exciting to find someone doing permaculture right here in my backyard (I wish)—here in Bozeman, anyway. I did get to walk through my backyard with Kareen Erbe of Broken Ground Permaculture, and I got to watch her at work in someone else’s backyard, but the core of our time together was our conversation in my living room, where she answered my questions about permaculture in remarkably clear, eloquent language. It really was one of the most engaging conversations I’ve had in quite a while.
I’m not a complete convert–I have real trouble with permaculture’s willingness to bring in alien species. But more on that another time. For now, suffice it to say, it was a revelation.
More Information about Permaculture:
Permaculture Activist (magazine)