Those of you who know the members of LIFT know that most of us have an affiliation with Permaculture. So how is Permaculture related to the Next Economy? Permaculture is a set of design strategies to help create closed-loop, self-sustaining systems that take cues from both nature and indigenous ways. One of the main methods is to orchestrate an interconnected web of elements (or organisms) that support, strengthen and cooperate with each other — just like in nature. What Permaculture ISN’T is a set of gardening and landscaping techniques, as it is sometimes mistaken.
With this particular design lens on, one can devise systems of all sorts from sustainable agriculture to human settlement planning to “invisible structures” such as governance and economic models. The goal of LIFT is to help ring in the Next Economy by spawning and nurturing a resilient, local, cross-pollinating web of progressive and sustainable businesses that are already at the forefront. Do you see the correlation to Permaculture principles?
If you resonate with the work and philosophy of LIFT but haven’t had a chance to check out a Permaculture course yet, I highly recommend moving it up to the top of your bucket list. It’ll activate a different way of perceiving and resolving “problems,” as well as instilling a hope for our collective regenerated future — it certainly did for me. Applying these principles to your business structure will most certainly help it to thrive. Following is a sample of some exceptional courses offered in the Bay Area.
Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco (www.upisf.com)
Co-founded and taught by LIFT’s very own Kevin Bayuk, along with David Cody, UPISF offers a 3-month course (weekly classes) that fits well with the busy schedules of 9-to-5 folks and students. Along with the standard PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) curriculum there is an emphasis on urban agriculture and devising methods to meet the input/output needs of the dense urban population. Classes happen at sundry inspiring sites around SF. Next training starts September 19th!
Earth Activist Training (www.earthactivisttraining.org)
Founded and taught by famed spiritualist, writer, activist and SF resident Starhawk, this 2-week intensive program was created to infuse Permaculture training with activist tools and sacred rituals. Trainings happen at bucolic settings in CA, UK and Canada. EAT also runs a program in Bayview Hunters Point to bring food justice to members of that marginalized community.
Merritt College (merrittlandhort.com)
If a community college setting (and credits) is more your cup of tea, this 2-semester PDC may be for you. Affordable and located in the Oakland Hills, this course is part of Merritt College’s well-regarded Landscape Horticulture program. Longtime instructor Christopher Shein is known in the area as THE plant expert.
Regenerative Design Institute
Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
These are two well-known education centers offering PDCs taught by very established teachers, both in the North Bay. Both offer 2-week intensives at their own sites. While these are definitely also worth the experience, please consider supporting trainings that are hyper local to your area first because they are the ones that give back to the local communities via the tirelessly transformative work they plant and grow in the neighborhood.