David Shaw of Santa Cruz Permaculture’s talk and tour turned into an extended one when the official event ended. Due to enthusiasm the talk portion ran long and the tour ran out of time. Attendees still had many questions, so David graciously agreed to travel directly to the Community Orchard where he continued answering pruning-related questions. As one participant noted, “That was so killer. I think I’ll be taking David’s permaculture course.”

What he was referring to was David’s quick overview of permaculture principles. What was an hour talk with handouts quickly blossomed into a nearly 2-hour one, complete with poetry recitation, and an explanation of how permaculture was similar and different to academic-based agro-ecology (he teaches at UC Santa Cruz in agro-ecology as well), and Q&A.  There were over two dozen attendees, with several steadily streaming in after the talk began, and space became so limited that attendees joked about huddling together on the “huddle corner” of the living room couch, attendees sat on the floor and on pillows, and many stood.

The tour portion of the day commenced with only 15 minutes left, but the hosts Kirsten and Nick were amenable, and curious to learn about pruning their lovely fruit trees, so they extended the tour by half an hour. Yet even running half an hour over, attendees were delighted when David agreed to continue the talk at the Community Orchard and expressed his wish to stay for lunch and see more of the town.

Permaculture isn’t just about plants and trees, the self-proclaimed tree nerd and orchardist said, it is about community, resilience, and re-energizing. When someone asked why he didn’t use the word sustainability, he countered with a brief anecdote: “Well, look, if someone asks you about your marriage, would you want to say, ‘It’s sustainable’ or would you want to say, ‘It’s renewing and re-generative?'” And it seemed that many of the people who attended the even found it very much so.

Please note: For those still interested in a more in-depth workshop on pruning, the Community Orchards is hosting Ann Ralph of Grow a Little Fruit Tree on February 11th.  The workshop is free from orchard members, $40 for non-members. There is a 20 person limit. More information and registration can be found here.

Our next stop is February 25th, at “Greyhawk Grove”, another one of our original installation food forests, with Lydia Neilson of the Regenerative Institute. The event is FREE, but you must pre-register for the location. More information can be found here.