September 7, 2009

pilgrimage to CRMPI

A greenhouse at CRMPI (Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute)

I heard about
permaculture when I lived in Illinois via Rob Scott of the School for Designing a Society and Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture. I didn't explore the topic much at the time. I apparently thought I was too busy with architecture studio. Silly me.

Luckily, I did not miss my chance because we happened to move to Boulder, Colorado where the
Transition movement and permaculture have a strong presence. I decided that it was time to really learn the concepts of permaculture by signing up for a course with Sandy Cruz and Barbara Mueser of High Alititude Permaculture. The course I signed up for is spread out over 8 months - one whole weekend per month. I am about 6 months in. It has been amazingly thought provoking and inspiring.

So, onto what this post is really about - my pilgrimage to
CRMPI (Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute). A few of my permaculture classmates (including Elizabeth Nitz of Weeds Rock) and myself headed out near Aspen to see what Jerome Osentowski has done with his land in 23 years.

Well, let me tell you, he has built an Eden. Not only that, it is within the challenging landscape of the Rocky Mountains - steep slopes, rocks, red clay, short growing seasons, etc. Where there would normally be pines, he has plums, apricots, apples, grapes, melons, peas, greens, fava beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, medicinal herbs, on and on and on.

Exhibit A for admiration: a fresh fig that was grown in Jerome's greenhouse, not flown in from California!

Exhibit B for admiration: Jerome's beautiful sheet mulch soil complete with earthworms!

If your interest in permaculture is at all piqued, check out what kind of courses are offered in your area of the country or voyage out to Colorado and take an intensive 2 week design course at CRMPI.

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