The snow is melting and spring has sprung which has many people thinking about gardening.
The weather also made it a perfect time to hold a two-day workshop and seminar on permaculture in Hazelton last weekend.
Facilitated by Chris Timms, 18 people attended the seminar instructed by Gordan and Jana Hiebert of Element Eco-Design from Vernon that covered topics such as global issues, water harvesting, perennial food forestry, soil building and passive solar home design.
Permaculture, which has been called a “revolution disguised as gardening, is a topic Timms said is something he has been interested in for many years after he travelled in remote places around the world.
“After backpacking through several small villages in Southeast Asia I realized life didn’t have to be so complicated,” he admitted.
“These people were living simply, and for the most part completely self-sufficient.
“Once I returned from my travels I went through a phase of depression, it opened my eyes up to everything that was wrong with the world, my doctor labelled it ‘green guilt.’”
That was when Timms made a conscious decision to focus on solutions rather than problems and inevitably he and permaculture crossed paths.
Permaculture holds many of the solutions to a majority of the world’s problems, both environmental and social, Timms said.
Through designs based on mimicking patterns in nature and incorporating them to a human scale, permaculturists have the tools to increase there self-reliance, and create resilient, sustainable communities.
Last year Timms attended a course by the Hieberts in Burn’s Lake and felt the same seminar would be beneficial for many living in the Hazelton’s.
“Hazelton has some very unique people, many of whom are here because they are no longer satisfied with living in the concrete jungle, working long hours to pay off a house they may never own,” Timms shared.
“Hazelton already offers community, diversity and simplicity which is a perfect breeding ground for permaculture.
“It also has a desirable micro climate for our region.”
While there were many idea’s, concepts and solutions discussed both locally and globally throughout the weekend, several resonated with the Hazelton residents Timms said.
“Things like local economy, barter systems, seed saving, sharing resources and knowledge applied directly to our area,” he said.
“Much of our food is imported from long distances.
“Through growing and preserving our own food and operating at a local level we can decrease our dependence on these highly unsustainable systems and in turn create freedom.”
Those in attendance received a book but Timms said for people who didn’t attend but are interested, there are many ways to gain information and have question’s answered.
“There’s a ton of literature out there, the internet is a wealth of information,” he said. “If there is enough interest we can host the course again next year, and people can also go to Speedy’s where they can purchase permaculture books.”
As for the next step for Timms and those attending the course, Timms said there was a real interest in networking and future related courses.
“The course is about creating community at all levels and sharing successes and failures as well as actively participating in work parties, aka Permablitz,” he said.
“We have already talked about a earthen oven building workshop and a primitive skills course too.”
There’s even a possibility Timms will organize another course next year if there’s enough interest he said adding he believes it’s his responsibility to change his way of thinking and living.
“The average farmer is over 60 in North America and learning from our elders and educating younger generations is our responsibility as a culture,” he said.
“We have become so dependent on limited natural resources.”
For more information visit www.elementecodesign.com/ or www.permaculturebc.com/or Timms facebook page called Northern BC Permaculture or contact Timms directly.