Category Archives: The Places

Meet wonderful groups of people and see what they are doing.

Native Protests and Repatriation of the Land

Protests such as these will not directly stop the installation of destructive infrastructure such as the Dakota Access pipeline, though the courageous and honorable actions of these protesting tribes is the most valuable statement I could imagine. Our destructive practices have hundreds of years of inertia spawning from a culture of unrestrained consumption and unapologetic destruction of any group in its way. The fangs and claws of this culture, through the will and guns of US founders, reached bloodily from it’s body in Great Britain, across an ocean, and into the flesh of this land and it’s native people.

This first injustice was a grand one, and in the unconscious of the nation will continue to live on as a blind hubris in our actions. This hubris displays itself as a haughty declaration of our right to ownership of anything within our reach.
The protest of the natives of this land is characterized by long suffering, deep loss an unbelievable strength of heart, and dedication to the land. They have continued, through broken treaty after broken treaty, fighting to preserve their multi-thousand year old cultures through lost battles, endless fights for redemptive policy, and protest.

The hundreds of tribes which existed on this land, before their slaughter, had highly developed and nuanced governing processes, conflict resolution abilities, land management practices, and developed crops. Some of this culture, despite US efforts, is still preserved within the existing members of native communities.

In November of 1969 an alliance known as Indians of All Tribes seized and occupied what is now known as Alcatraz Island for a period of 18 months. This alliance was initialized by Native American students and community members living on the West Coast. They built a thriving village on the island that drew Native American pilgrimages from around the nation.

With humor, but also sincerity, the alliance proclaimed that, “We, the Native Americans, reclaim the land known as Alcatraz island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery. We wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with the Caucasian inhabitants of this land and hereby offer the following treaty, ‘We will purchase said Alcatraz island for $24 in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man’s purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago. We will give to the inhabitants of this island a portion of the land for their own, to be held in trust by the American Indian’s government and the Bureau of Caucasian Affairs to hold in perpetuity for as long as the sun shall rise and the rivers go down to the sea. We will further guide the inhabitants in the proper way of living. We will offer them our religion, our education, and our life ways in order to help them achieve our level of civilization to raise them and all their white brothers up from their savage and unhappy state. Further, it would be fitting and symbolic that ships from all over the world, entering the golden gate, would first see Indian land and be reminded of the true history of this nation. This tiny Island would be a symbol of the great lands once ruled by the nobel Indians.”

Despite the undertone of satire, this group made actual demands for the use of this island. They called for five institutions to be established on the land: a center for Native American studies, an American Indian Spiritual Center, an Indian Center of Ecology (to do scientific research on the reversal of pollution of water and air), a great Indian training school, and a memorial as a reminder that the prison had been established initially to incarcerate and execute California Indian resisters to US assault on their nations.
All indigenous residents, by the Nixon administration, were forced to evacuate the island in June of 1971.
Their request was declined, but their vision was not.

Beginning in 1971, the Sioux Indians began occupying the Black Hills, the current location of Mount Rushmore. Their demand was the return of the Black Hills to the natives. After 10 years of protest and occupation , in 1980, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Black Hills had been taken illegally and that remuneration equal to the original offering price plus interest, nearly 106 six million dollars, be paid. The Sioux refused the reward and demanded the return of the Black Hills. The money remained in an interest bearing account, and by 2010 totalled over 750 million dollars.
The Sioux Nation is noted to be one of the most difficult places to live in the United States. Males, on average, live to just 48 years old, females to 52. Despite their suffering they will not be bought.

Thought has been put into what the de-colonization and repatriatization of the land to the Natives would look like. It would come as the natural progression of a genuine apology. It would start out by admitting that we were deeply wrong and be followed up by the heartfelt question of what we can do to make it right. We would then make ourselves of service to their requests to the best of our ability. To this end I would consider myself a patriot, until then I will likely be a critic of US culture, patriotism, and it’s persistent self-destruction.


Central Florida

Outside of occasional traveling I spend nearly all of my time here in Central Florida. So, many of the details I post are specific to this bio-region. This includes plant hardiness (zones 9 and 10), insects common to our region, and many details about the nature of certain projects and initiatives.  Though the specifics may not be best suited to your area there is likely something to be learned or replicated. For instance, the CSA I am working with is modeled from from the Canadian farming operations of JM Fortier and Curtis Stone. Though many of the specifics are different there is much overlap, with details and general practice. While planting times, pest problems, and soil considerations may be different farming tools, harvesting procedures, and marketing avenues have commonalities.

A few specifics to consider:

  • Central Florida Climate is humid sub-tropical which means that we have a good amount of rainfall in the summer and a lesser amount through the winter. It also means that we do get freezes but not usually below the lower twenties, though there are exceptions.
  • Our soils are SANDY. Most areas have essentially zero silt and minimal to no clay. Hot temperatures and high humidity also result in very fast decomposition which generally results in low soil organic matter content and minimal native fertility. The exception to this would be swamp soil, which consists almost entirely of organic matter.
  • We’re so close to tropical that we can practically taste the tropical fruit in the air, but most of us out in the country can’t predictably grow tropical fruit trees, though some urban microclimates allow for some zone 10 species.
  • I live in an suburban area but it only takes about 45 minutes to get to downtown Orlando. This allows for an interesting mix of urban and suburban opportunities – growing/selling food, teaching classes, holding events, etc. Orlando also has a fairly progressive mindset when it comes to environmental awareness and sustainability. St. Could, where I live, remains somewhat closer to its agricultural roots but tends to be less inclined toward notions of sustainability. There’s pros and cons to both.



January OPM Newsletter!

February Orlando Permaculture Meeting

Date: Tues, Feb 3
Time: 5-7PM (yard tour and design), 7-9PM (Meeting)
Topic: Permaculture plants of Central Florida
Address: 345 Woodlawn Cemetery Road, Gotha, FL 34734

Thank you to everyone that came and joined us for both the January permaculture meeting and action day. Nelson, our January meeting host, did an excellent job of providing us a comfortable, fire lit, meeting place and an open kitchen for all the hummus Devi blessed us with and the bounty of vegan cupcakes provided by Hae-Yuan, Sam, and the rest of the Peanut Butter Palace crew.

We talked about companion planting, traded some plants, and enjoyed great company.



We also had a great turnout and very productive day at the Peanut Butter Palace as we prepped and planted some new garden beds,


cleared and composted some brush,


Enjoyed the company of new friends and old,


took pictures of cool people taking pictures of cool people,


and drank some fresh squeezed OJ!


We hope you can join us on February 3rd at our next permaculture meeting. Please don’t be intimidated if you have very little permaculture knowledge, because this is a place for both sharing and learning.

See you all soon!

Orlando Permaculture Meeting infoletter

The second monthly Orlando Permaculture Meeting was once again an inspired experience. Attendance remained strong, and the passion and engagement of the people who gathered was apparent. There was a wide range of knowledge, and all different levels of experience. The free plant raffle and the open discussion format of the meeting also proved to be quite the success.

If you have an interest in learning about permaculture we would love to have you join our next meeting. If you are very new to permaculture, a great way to have your first experience would be to come to our next Action Day (see details below). We would love to have you.

Next meeting

When: 7PM Tues, Jan 6, 2015
Where: Nelson’s house, 636 S. Bumby Ave. Orlando, FL
Topic: Plant guilds, companion planting, and plant communities

What to bring:
•    Any knowledge or questions you have
•    Plants, seeds or cuttings for the FREE RAFFLE
•    Extra seats
•    Extra treats!

Next action day    *TIME AND LOCATION CHANGED*

When: 3PM Thurs, Dec 18, 2014
Where: Mark and Laura’s home, 7529 Compass Dr. Winter Park, FL
Activities: Spending an hour or two finishing up the sheet mulching, then watching a movie on permaculture!


First Orlando permaculture meeting action day!

The freshly established Orlando permaculture meeting had it’s first action day. The weather was great and so was the comradery. The day began with a quick synopsis of the master plan, where Mark shared with us the design he had created for his future front yard, food producing ecosystem.


Once the course of action was in order, and Fran had assumed her position in the director’s chair, the dirt started moving.

IMGA0616 IMGA0608 Actionday4

The first thing we did was dig 1.5 ft wide by 2 ft deep trenches to begin the creation of a series of hugelkulture mounds to capture and hold water and nutrients.


Once the trenches were dug we lined them with cardboard to help retain the water within the trenches. This will aid in the decomposition of the woody matter that will be deposited in the ditches.


The next step was to fill the trenches with partially decomposed wood chips, sticks, and logs.


Next, on top of the woody carbon layer, went a layer of compost, top soil, and food scraps. This layer creates the planting bed which seeds, herbs, shrubs and trees will be planted into. A cardboard layer was also placed between these two layers to create a temporary barrier to protect against intrusion of the underlying grass. The cardboard, over time time will decompose, but by then the grass will be too weak to come up through the soil and mulch.


The final phase was to put down some more cardboard and cover the entire area, including the beds, with wood mulch. This layer will work to suppress the weeds and grass, add to the organic matter on property, and help retain the moisture underneath.


The canvas has now been prepared, and with a little time, and some thoughtful planting, a thriving edible ecosystem can now be developed and nurtured.

Many thanks to everyone who made it out, and just as many thanks to those of you who wish you could have made it out but weren’t able. We’ll see you all back at Marks house on Tues Dec. 2nd for the next Orlando permaculture meeting. The meeting will be at 7pm, but if you want to come early, some of us will be showing up at 5 to help wrap up some of the loose ends from the project. Treats are always welcomed, and remember to bring a chair, cushion, or pad.

7529 Compass Dr. Winter Park, FL 32792

Orlando Permaculture Meeting *UPDATE*

Our first meeting was a grand success! There was a great turnout of amazing, Earth-centered, genuine, and passionate people. We have a few general announcements here, and an overview of what we decided upon during the first meeting.

We need a host location/home for our next meeting on Tues, Dec 2. Go to our Google Drive “host signup sheet” to host our next, or other future meetings. 

The topic for next meeting will be “working with Florida soils”, so bring any knowledge and resources you may have.

Our first action day event will be on Thurs, Nov 20th at Mark Fowler’s house at 7529 Compass Dr. Winter Park, FL 32792. For more information on this and future action day events visit our Google Drive folder or our action day Facebook group Permaculture My Yard – Orlando.

Many decisions were made during this constructive meeting and this is what we came up with:

  •  We will meet the first Tuesday of every month at the home of a willing host
  •  Group announcements will take place at the beginning of each meeting
  •  Topic for following meeting will be decided at each meeting
  •  Topic will be discussed on an open floor after announcements
  •  Snacks and treats are always welcomed
  •  Full potluck meetings will be announced the meeting prior
  •  Action days will take place between meetings and will be decided during each meeting
  •  A free plant raffle will take place at end of each meeting
  •  Plants will be provided on a voluntary basis by members
  •  A Google Drive folder is available for group use
  •  Folder includes documents of member skills and plants they are willing to share
  •  A group email list has been established 
  •  An Orlando permaculture meeting Facebook group
  •  Personal/external announcements will take place at end of meeting, before raffle

If you you know wants to be added to the email list and google drive folder contact Matt at:

Orlando permaculture meeting!!

The time has come for something that has been long awaited for by many people. Interest has been expressed, an intention has been set, and it’s time to take action. We would like to announce the hopeful formation a regular meeting of permaculture enthusiasts right here in Orlando.

Preliminary discussion has been started with a few folks, and now we would like to get some input from you all. We need input on the following:

  • Would you be interested in attending such a meeting
  • How often would you like to see the group meet
  • Would you prefer Monday or Tuesday evenings
  • Would you be willing to host such a meeting at your home on occasion

This group is intended to be autonomous, self governed, self lead, and informal. The idea is to allow our interest and enthusiasm for Permaculture and natural agriculture to be supported by a group of like minds. Beyond that, this group is not limited to any specific function or format, and the content, focus and intention of the meeting will be decided by the group upon formation.

We are looking forward to your responses and input, and most of all, to the formation of these regular meetings! Send all responses to Matt Hunter at