It was a cool and sunny day for the Greyhawk Grove Tour, and perhaps it was that, or that our tour is gathering steam, that nearly 30 people squeezed into a room to listen to Lydia Neilsen from the Regenerative Design Institute. She started with a brief overview of permaculture design principles: people care, earth care–and then dove straight into practical, simple applications to one’s garden, covering hands-on details of creating swales (or as someone coined them, “Magical ditches”), appreciating weeds and the natural succession of plant life, and mimicking that healthy ecosystem balance in tree and plant guilds. She fielded questions about greywater, and, noting that several Food Forest Keepers were in attendance, had them field questions as well. Attendees remarked on on simple, clear, and practical her talk was.

The overflowing group then spilled out into the demonstration food forest itself, were Lydia pulled up a giant fava bean to show the group the roots and speak about cover crops, nitrogen fixation and soil health. She also ate a nodule, declaring it tasted like peanuts and offered it to anyone who wanted to try. They were able to see the laundry-to-landscape switch and pipes, look at the greywater basins, the rainwater pipes that flowed straight into the two swales, how the natural slope and chicken coop was incorporated into the planning, and snuggle up the free range chickens who were milling about. “We used to have one of these at the farm,” said the farm director of Loma Vista Farms after she cuddled up a polish chicken–known for a mop of feathers on top of its head that looks like punk-rocker hair. “We used to call it our Tina Turner chicken. But now the kids don’t get the reference. I guess rockstar chicken still works.”

It was a rockstar day all around. And we look forward to the next stop in the tour–stop #6, “The Curious Garden.”

For more information and to register for “The Curious Garden”, please go here.