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"Do it Yourself" Pays Off for Fans of Permaculture

This backyard includes edible landscaping, a passive solar retrofit and a 6,500-gallon rainwater catchment system. In 2000, it was a conventional lawn. Credit: Northwest Permaculture Convergence.
This backyard includes edible landscaping, a passive solar retrofit and a 6,500-gallon rainwater catchment system. In 2000, it was a conventional lawn. Credit: Northwest Permaculture Convergence.
August 28, 2015

SEATTLE - Today and through the weekend, people from across the Northwest are gathering in Eugene, Ore., for the Northwest Permaculture Convergence, learning how to work with nature and their neighbors to meet more of their basic needs locally.

In a world facing many environmental and economic challenges, said coordinator Jan Spencer, more people are deciding it makes sense to increase their self-reliance. If you garden or compost, raise chickens or collect rainwater, he said, you're using "permaculture" and may not even realize it.

"Permaculture is nothing magic," he said. "It's just updating more traditional knowledge with current science about how we take care of our needs in ways that are healthy for people and planet."

Spencer said it's significant that the eighth Convergence event is being held this year in a Eugene neighborhood, since more neighborhoods are adopting permaculture ideas and practices to improve the environment, grow their own food, or save water and energy.

What he said he hopes people take away from the weekend is a bigger picture of permaculture as a lifestyle choice - to become more self-sufficient and learn to make, grow and share goods in ways that can be better for the environment and, often, for the family budget.

"This is not just about growing vegetables in your backyard," he said. "The ideals of creating systems that fit within the natural world, within our economic and ecological means - these are also characteristics of permaculture."

The Eugene event features workshops and tours of some local homes and yards, plus an outdoor Permaculture Expo with introductions to many facets of this wide-ranging movement. For folks who can't attend, Spencer said, an online search of the term "permaculture" will yield a wealth of results.

The event is at River Road Recreation Center, 1400 Lake Drive, in Eugene. More information is online at northwestpermaculture.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA