We started a ‘Growing Community’ group here at WildGuernsey where we’d meet around the wheel of the year and cycle of the sun (Solstice, Imbolc etc.), make no-dig beds, tend to seedlings, eat together, chat over weeds, grow food if we were lucky! After observing this group and interacting, I realised that it is not the growing of food that was binding us or needed most. It was pure people care of creating community, like-minded people to share time, ideas, skills. Leaving the glue of growing aside, I spoke to Stuart Ogier (Guernsey Permaculture Association on facebook) about getting a gathering together, feeling that there was a leak of energy happening in Guernsey and I personally felt more connections were needed to be able to design, or begin to, a self-sustaining system. Stuart had had similar thoughts about a gathering and already had put lots of effort in to get Permaculture understood, along with others that had already included Permaculture into their designs and lives. An amazing amount of knowledge and experience is here in Guernsey. ‘Permaculture provides a set of ethics at its core, principles to guide us, techniques that assist us, methodical steps in a design process to achieve our goals, and a call for action’ (words taken from Looby Macmanara in her book People and Permaculture).
After the 1st gathering at WildGuernsey, Simon and Lucy Harvey hosted the 2nd at their inspiring enchanting home. The day started with a ‘real’ needs and yields of our group, resulting in a rich collection of connections and ideas to take on to our next meet up, to start meeting them and building on our skills. Last time we used a ‘web of life’ to see and feel the strength gained from hypothetically meeting the needs of each other within our newly formed community. Then followed cooking up lunch with vegetables brought by folk, drumming, sauerkraut making and scything workshop. A communal lunch, music and cob oven workshop, weaving and a jamming session (music not preserves). Also a swapbox where I gained blackberries for an onion and herbs.
My reflections and conversations included dehydrators, using natural soaps (soapwort plant), gifting things on, using japenese knotweed to eat in a syrup and horsetail as pan scourers – seeing a weed as a need and resource, drumming
really is a meditative thing to do, beautiful music lifted me and wiggled my hips, communal eating feels good, fire centres us, my head is spinning with ideas and so many connections that I can’t keep up with them and hope that they store in my head and heart somewhere until I get time to catch up with them.