Creating Alternatives: Local Permaculture Group Starts Backyard Garden

An informal community group in Harrisonburg, Virginia has come together with the mission of educating each other about small-scale sustainable food production; specifically with the goal of learning principles of permaculture through doing. The group has several permaculture experts and many permaculture beginners with a strong desire to learn. Meetings have consisted of informal workshop sessions including one on medicinal plants, as well as planning sessions of a backyard garden space. The group’s meetings have recently been transformed into workdays to create that garden as the weather has turned.

Installation of a rainwater collection system with rain barrels took place several months ago. More recently, the group constructed a raised bed to resist the incompatibility of many desired plants with the black walnut tree in the backyard. A “keyhole” style ground garden was also prepared. A compost pile with organic kitchen waste as well as donations from various sources collected by a group member is being utilized in this process, teaching the gardeners through experience (and research!) about how to create and maintain healthy and useful compost.

Some vegetables that were started inside and transplanted outside are already sprouting. Carrot, onion, and lettuce seeds have been planted directly into the ground. More seeds have been started inside to be transferred out, and many more seeds will go directly into the ground in coming weeks and months.

This garden is a wonderful step to build experience and share productive quality time in a wonderful community. It is important to recognize the value of sharing important skills like food production in order to create alternatives to corporate factory agriculture with its harmful environmental and social effects. This garden is by no means an entire solution, but rather a step in the right direction for positive change and learning how to take care of ourselves.

Updates and pictures to come!

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