Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
types. In fact, it is important that each one is designed to fit the individual characteristics
of the locality. Ideally, the farm or farms should be close to the urban area they link with,
though in the case of large cities or remote farms this may not be possible.
The movement to link consumers and farmers started in Japan, where half a million
people are now involved. It has spread to North America and some European countries, in-
cluding Britain, where it is growing rapidly.
Local Permaculture Groups
There are local permaculture groups all over Britain. Working alone can sometimes seem
daunting, and just as the different plants and animals in an ecosystem help and support each
other, so do people in a group. There's no prescription for a local group. Every locality is
unique, and a successful group will be modelled around the specific needs of the locality
and the group members.
Bristol Permaculture Group is more of an information network than an organisation
which runs its own projects. It started with a series of permaculture courses which got some
30 people started on their own projects, some in their own gardens, some on allotments,
some on waste ground and some in the community. Others got jobs related to permacul-
ture, for example one became gardener at the headquarters of the Federation of City Farms
and Community Gardens, which is in the city. A group who were running a café took over
several allotments and started using the food in the café.
Bristol Permaculture keeps these people in touch with each other with a printed newslet-
ter and an e-mail list. The group contains members of most of the environmental groups in
Bristol, and helps to publicise everything, from recycling to car-sharing clubs. From time
to time there are seed and plant swaps, and social gatherings so the members can meet face
to face and share that all-important group solidarity. They run an information stall at com-
munity fairs and festivals and regularly put on permaculture courses. These activities con-
stantly bring in new members, but it is a loose, informal group with minimal structure.
One member of the group, Sarah Pugh, became the community gardener at Easton Com-
munity Centre in the inner city. This was a great opportunity to bring permaculture to a
wider range of people in a funded post. The Community Centre took on a disused allot-
ment site that would otherwise have been developed for industrial units. There were a lot of
brambles on the site and there was no toilet or running water, so they cleared the brambles,
made a compost toilet, and set up rainwater collection from adjacent roofs. Most of the
materials used on site come from the surrounding industrial units - wood, sawdust, pallets,
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