This weekend, at Kemps en Co in Eindhoven, Holland -- we held a workshop in which we covered: the basics of permaculture, guild planting, soil-building, plant propagation and home garden design. Throughout my first few days in Holland, I have been particularly impressed by "Dutch Design" in the context of efficient use of space, fantastic bicycle infrastructure and an overall concern for the environmental impact of economic activity. I made sure to include these as central themes in the lecture (especially the stacking of functions in of food production elements with limited space)...
The turnout was good and the room was filled with an enthusiastic group of individuals, mostly from Eindhoven's Transition Town Movement. I am impressed at how much activity there is here and the potential for community integration and involvment in transition movements is grand. People gathered from a variety of skill and knowledge bases -- we welcomed beginner gardeners and had them collaborate with PDC-graduates, which offered the kind of diversity I was seeking for a weekend workshop such as this.
The classic design challenge involved students in brainstorming a schematic for four different types of human habitats: 
-- a suburban home garden
-- a 2-BR apartment with a south-facing balcony
-- a developped community

-- a rural cottage *
*a site which my hosts Markus and Varvara of Rahovitza Slow Tech Campus -- have been developping for the past ten years.

Presentations were particularly impressive, considering the limited amount of time participants were given to come up with their concepts. It was a great start to an enlightening journey for them all. I hope everyone will find ways to implement some of these principles in their day-to-day lives. All the designs highlighted the concept of the edge effect in permaculture, keeping planted gardens dense and productive, while also placing special consideration on how the people were  to interact within the system.

Even the venue (a fair trade goods shop) employed a touch of "perma-thinking" -- they offered catering which included local, sustainably produced cakes; which were a delicious treat during the coffee breaks. Overall, I hoped that this workshop also served as a networking opportunity for participants to meet like-minded individuals in their area. Most importantly, WE HAD FUN!

And now... onto Rotterdam... :)
rob willemsen
12/10/2011 11:36:33 pm

thank YOU for an inspiring meeting, definitely also on behalf of my neighbour gerald who was also there.
hope to see you again some time, and for sure we will be better permaculturers by then :-)

7/12/2012 09:35:56 pm

Nice description about the Food Production Workshop for the students. I think people should like it . I like this information too and also i am waiting for some new updates.

Tom Meelker
12/12/2011 03:40:44 am

It was a pleasure to participate in your workshop and it brought me some great new ideas that I want to get start with next year.
This ½ day was actually not enough because we can learn so much more from you :)


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