Vision

To help transition Japan to a peace promoting post-carbon country while enjoying every step of the process.
僕のビジョンは、祖国日本で、平和文化を育みポストカーボン(Post-Carbon) 社会を促進してゆく事です。
化石燃料や原子力に頼らず、他国の資源を取らない、
自給自足な国へのトランジションを実現させてゆきたいです。

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

FEB 19 & 20 Sydney 【Zen Permaculture】 Workshop Details


*details on events in Seymore and Melbourne can be found here

Schedule on Sunday FEB 19 at Ceciia's:
11.15 for 11.30 start. 

11.30 - 12.30 We will gather in Cecilia's home-studio, Annandale. The first hour Kai will present on creating a social ecosystem that you love being in. 

12.30 Lunch, Networking. Bring a healthy dish to share. 

1.30 - 3.00 Empathetic and Juicy Communication.



Schedule on Monday FEB 20 at UTS Hatchery:
5.45 for 6.00 start

6.00 - 7.00 The first hour Kai will present on creating a social ecosystem that you love being in. 

7.00 - 8.00 Empathetic and Juicy Communication. 


Below is information from the FB event page


What is it like to do meaningful work every day, without charging money, yet getting the resources you need to do world-changing projects? 

It could be like floating on a bubble of love: Slighty scary, somewhat uncertain, and full of welcome surprises.

This week you get to meet somebody living this way. The amazing Kai Sawyer hasn't charged for his work since since 2011, with beautiful results. 

Kai is the founder of Tokyo Urban Permaculture.

He runs workshops internationally on the gift economy, deep mindfulness, empathetic communication, and how to escape the salaryman trap. 

Kai will share some of his own projects to inspire your own: his year of living in the Eden-like food forest, sleeping in a fully-furnished bedroom without walls. Crowdsourcing a book, and recently being gifted enough to create the Permaculture Dojo: renovating a traditional farmhouse, fueled by shared dinners and shared dreams.

Kai went to school at the illustrious Tokyo University. 
If you are Japanese, that fact will impress you. 
That's because studying there means you get to run Japan. 
Lets hope he does. 

Learn how to: 
- Create an 'Eco-system' of support around your projects.
- Remove the obstacles to being a great communicator
- Get a lightness about doing the big, beautiful things you thought were not possible.

There are two events:
Sunday 19th 
11.30am - 3.30pm
Cecilia's House Annandale
Bring a dish for a shared potluck lunch

Monday 20th 
6pm - 8.30pm
UTS 'The Hatchery' aka Innovation Lab 
622/632 Harris St, Ultimo 

Cost: Worshops are gifted, completely free of obligation to give back, with no set donation amount. 

Please read Kai's views on the Gift Economy here before attending

How to RSVP:
Book your free Eventbrite ticket and, text Cecilia at O412474282 or PM on Facebook *Essential*. You will be sent details of what to bring, where to go, etc. 

____________________________


Schedule on Sunday at Ceciia's:
11.15 for 11.30 start. 

11.30 - 12.30 We will gather in Cecilia's home-studio, Annandale. The first hour Kai will present on creating a social ecosystem that you love being in. 

12.30 Lunch, Networking. Bring a healthy dish to share. 

1.30 - 3.00 Empathetic and Juicy Communication. 

 

Schedule on Monday at UTS Hatchery:
5.45 for 6.00 start

6.00 - 7.00 The first hour Kai will present on creating a social ecosystem that you love being in. 

7.00 - 8.00 Empathetic and Juicy Communication. 

Kai says it just 'tickles his soul' every time he does this workshop.

FB event page

Saturday, February 11, 2017

FEB 2017 Workshops in Australia 今月オーストラリアでWS!!!




FEB 16 UPDATE -  Cecilia's FB page and Melbourne event has been updated!!!


THIS MONTH - I will be doing workshops in Australia

オーストラリアでワークショップ/プレゼンするよ〜
(英語で)

We are still finalizing the details but here is what I have so far

2/18 Day event with Cecilia Macaulay in Southern Highlands
(Cecilia Macaulay and Annabel Brown from Southern Highlands Steiner School is organizing this event)
Details will be posted on Cecilia's Facebook ← updated!

2/19 Day event with Cecilia Macaulay in Sydney
Details will be posted on Cecilia's Facebook ← updated!

2/20 Evening event with Cecilia Macaulay in Sydney 
Details will be posted on Cecilia's Facebook ← updated!


2/22 Evening event in Seymore on Permaculture based Social Change Projects around the world
(Richard Telford from Abdullah House is organizing it for me)

Facebook Event Info Here


2/25 Event in Melbourne topic and venue to be decided
(I think Richard Telford, and Adrian from Permablitz Melbourne is organizing this)

Facebook Event Info Here ← updated!
or on Melbourne Permabliz ← updated!

Thank you to everyone helping me!

**************

BELOW ARE THE TOPICS I NORMALLY OFFER IN JAPAN
(What I initially sent to Richard and Cecilia)

*I'm quite flexible so I can mix and match, redesign, cater, whatever seems most exciting for the space. I can make things shorter too, but I like to go deep and often that requires time. All I really need is people and place and the rest we can make with onsite resources!

My journey with permaculture and inspiring permaculture stories from the West Coast 2~3 hour presentation

This is my story of exploring the world of "peace" and "sustainability". From the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to living in the jungle of Costa Rica with no running water or electricity, to my visits to various amazing permaculture communities. My story focuses more on people and relationships (social permaculture), social change and empowerment, rather than food production. I end with how I am cultivating the cultural soil to plant radical practices of peace and ecology through my project called Tokyo Urban Permaculture.
The permaculture and social change projects I focus on are
Both show case not just food systems but thriving communities that are impacting the larger society. The Bullocks is a rural example where 12 interns are trained each year to learn any skill they want and experiment with designing culture/community. City Repair is an urban example of residents reclaiming public space and illegally taking over a intersection, creating a beautiful mandala painting, earthen benches, kids playhouse, free tea station, etc. Eventually the persuaded the city government that it was for the public good, and  their illegal action has been legalize (they call it legal innovation). Now the city actively promotes this behavior and City Repair has pioneered urban ecological design and community renewal.
Powerpoint Presentation with beautiful pictures

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) 2~3 hour workshop or whole day
This is an experiential workshop on how to interact with each other and yourself in a way that aims to nourishe everyone. How do we communicate in our full authenticity while holding others with loving care? How do we shift from a power-over paradigm to a power-with paradigm, where all life matters equally? Why do we get stuck in conflict, and how can we navigate beyond it? We will explore these questions through powerful interactive practices.
By changing our worldview and connecting with needs (rather than our judgements), we will be able to engage with conflict, whether in our family, work, or in social change work, comfortably and compassionately.

Below is an add for a whole day NVC and systems thinking workshop
http://livingpermaculture.blogspot.sg/2015/11/dec-4-2015-kai-sawyer-on-nonviolent.html

Zen and living mindfully
This is a workshop where we will experience mindfulness by just practicing what we do everyday with mindfulness. We will do mindful walking, mindful eating, mindful resting, mindful sharing, and most importantly mindful breathing. It will be a time to just be, experience the miracle of being alive, and be present with reality rather than our thoughts. Simple and effective practices that you can do anytime anywhere. Inspired by the teachings of zen master Thich Naht Hanh and the daily practice at Plum Village. Let us enjoy slowing down, being present, and feeling refreshed.

Adventures in the world of the Gift Economy 2 ~ 3 hour presentation/workshop
An overview of what the gift economy is, how it is at the foundation of how our world works. From understanding that our earth is a gift ecology, to various forms of gift economies that we are already participating in, we will explore the gift economy through exciting examples and inspiring stories (e.g. our birth, open source, Burning Man, Karma Kitchen, Vinoba Bhave). I will share how I started to consciously participate in the gift economy, shift my life from worrying about making money to living in service, and living in a world of pricelessness. There will be an experiential activity to have a taste of what it feels like to live the gift.

I have offered most of my workshops on a donation basis (no suggested price) since 2011, and live a most amazing life. I live on donations from thousands of people, and I live in a world of interdependence where trust and care flow naturally. I make less decisions based on fear and feel more free and alive. This is an invitation to live a more hopeful, more free, and more fulfilling life.

Systems Thinking through Games 1.5 ~ 2 hour workshop
This is a workshop based on the book The Systems Thinking Playbook by Sweeny and Meadows. We will all become a part of a system, experience what happens, observe and discuss how it relates to our world. Why is it so hard to make changes even if we know there is a problem? Where are the leverage points for change? By using games we can have fun, better understand how systems work, and see how we can make effective interventions.


I can talk about how I made the Urban Permaculture Guide book starting with no money and no desire to write it myself. Over 15 people, many professionals, willingly volunteered to make the book and through crowdfunding, we made an amazing glorified zine that is in its 4th printing. The bookmaking process itself was an experiment in social permaculture by using onsite resources and designing beneficial relationships. The book is a synthesis of cultural regeneration for a more sustainable Tokyo and Japan. More info here: Urban Permaculture Guidebook (crowdsourced crowdfunded zine)

Peace and Permaculture DOJO
The Urban Permaculture Guide was both an experiment in social permaculture and the gift economy, as well as developing the cultural soil for the Peace and Permaculture Dojo (PPD). The PPD is another experiment in dynamic social design, where my main role is to set favorable conditions for a human guild to thrive. We just finished crowdfunding about $63,000 USD to fix the old farmhouse. More info here: Peace and Permaculture DOJO

*************************************
MY BIO
*sorry I'm not so good with English bios, so feel free to edit

BIO for NELIS
Kai is a nonviolence activist or 共生革命家 in Japanese. Born in Tokyo, raised in rural Japan (Minami Uonuma), Hawaii, Osaka, California, and the jungle of Costa Rica. He considers the earth his home.

After the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA and subsequent US invasions, Kai began to engage with issues of war, structural violence, intergenerational justice, agroecology and sustainability, while attending the University of California Santa Cruz. He became the co-chair for the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP), a radical educational experiment that collaborated with world-class sustainability leaders such as Vandana Shiva, Satish Kumar, and Frances Moore Lappe. ESLP facilitated institutional change through student empowerment and participatory action research.

He founded Tokyo Urban Permaculture as an experiment to fundamentally transform the culture and politics of Tokyo, after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011. He teaches permaculture, nonviolent communication, mindfulness, systems thinking, social change and about the gift economy (gift ecology) around the world. Currently, he is training youth activists in Japan on nonviolence, and is developing a “Peace and Permaculture Dojo” to train the next generation of change makers in Japan.

He is passionate about life, gardening, and alleviating suffering of all beings.



Monday, February 6, 2017

【ARTICLE】Natural Farming in Japan: Akame-shizenoh Juku

This is an article I wrote about the natural farming movement in Japan and Akame natural farming school. The article was for a crowdsourced book called Sustainable (R)evolution (click to check out this amazing project!). I also wrote articles on the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, the City Repair movement in Portland, the ecofarm movement in Thailand, and on chinampas.

For more on natural farming (besides the well-known Fukuoka, Masanobu), you can search Kawaguchi Yoshikazu and akame (the topic of this article), and I highly recommend checking out the book (free online) Miracle Apples.


*This is the closest to our final draft, and the pictures are different from the book


Kawaguchi, Yoshikazu in his garden


The traditional method of drying rice and hand-powered threshing


Yoshikazu in his rice-field cutting weeds with his kama


Akame natural farming school


Cutting the above-soil parts of the weeds in preparation for planting


Planting negi (green onion) in the garden


Broadcasting directly into the weeds


The harvest hidden amongst the weeds





Akame-Shizenoh Juku
by Kai Sawyer and Mai Kobayashi

A farming method that did not involve any pesticides or fertilizer use was first advocated by Japanese philosopher, holistic health practitioner, and spiritual leader Mokichi Okada. In 1950 he called his practice the "shizen noh hou" or the natural farming method. A decade later, plant pathology scientist and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka also experimented with similar methods, but further extended natural farming methods to include no tilling and no weeding. In 1975, he published The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming. Fukuoka's impassioned advocacy of natural farming eventually made him a revolutionary figure in the global movement for sustainable agriculture. Passing away in 2008, Fukuoka did not live to see the revolution in consciousness he had hoped for, but the seeds of natural farming continue to thrive and evolve in Japan.

Today, a central hub for the natural farming movement is Akame-Shizenoh Juku (Akame-juku for short) , nestled near the border of Nara and Mie Prefecture. The site was originally an abandoned series of rice paddy and garden terraces surrounded by man-made forest. Seeing the need for a place where people could come to learn natural farming, Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, the respected practitioner and teacher of natural farming, reclaimed the terraces and started Akame-juku in 1991. The school is completely donation-based, each student paying what they can afford. Kawaguchi understood that most people attempting natural farming were at a major turning point in their lives and often had no money, whether they be conventional farmers trying to switch farming methods, white collar workers looking for a new way to live, or  students. He says that as a teacher, he wants to teach as many eager students as possible, and that he believes the quality of learning is richer when unobstructed by financial concerns.  Learning how to live life, which natural farming essential is, must be accessible to all people.

Yoshikazu also believes that freedom is essential for learning, so there are no obligatory group tasks, however, communal endeavors are a valuable opportunity to learn from one another.  Students are free to spend however much time they can afford in their rice paddies and gardens. Each new student is able to choose a plot among the fields and paddies that become available throughout the year enabling them to direclty put to practice what they learn. Every second weekend of every month (except January), Kawaguchi gathers all the staff members for a monthly gathering. Anybody can come to receive guidance by Kawaguchi and various staff members, cultivating their awareness and experiencing deep realizations about natural farming. The basic principles practiced at Akame-juku are, no tilling, no treating plants or insects as your enemies, and no using pesticides or fertilizers, including compost. Farming must be based on an understanding and respect for nature's dynamic balance that, if approached correctly, will work to nurture life as a whole.  These are guiding principles that are based on a holistic understanding of farming as a part of an ecological balance that we take part in cultivating. An example is Kawaguchi’s instruction for managing vigorous volunteer plants that are overwhelming seedlings: using a sickle as necessary, trim them at the base above their roots, so as not to disturb the soil structure.

The plants here are not treated as competitive weeds, but instead used as mulch and are not totally removed so as to leave food for insects. Food scraps from the harvest taken out of the fields may also be brought back to the fields. This is not fertilizer, but nutrients brought back as supplement simply to maintain the nutrient cycle. Students at Akame-juku experiment and learn how to nurture life through minimal interference in the natural cycle. Through this practice, they also nurture ecological balance, their own consciousness, and inner peace. 

As Akame-juku hosts over 250 students every year, several thousand people have worked on the land since the school opened. Today, dozens of natural farming schools inspired by Akame-juku can be found all over Japan. Kawaguchi says that his greatest joy is to see former students starting their own study-groups and learning centers around Japan.  

The path of natural farming is one of humility, deep observation, and constant flexibility. Kawaguchi says that he accepts that he cannot fully understand nature, but rather can only assist in nature’s cycles as best he can. Natural farmers realize the futility of imposing control over nature and the unsustainability of standard agriculture's attempts to artificially maximize yields and profits. Instead, through minimal interference in the natural cycle, natural farmers in Japan and elsewhere are showing the way to a healthy future for the earth and its inhabitants.





【ARTICLE】Thailand Ecofarm: Maab Euang Agri-Nature Learning Center

This is an article I wrote about Maab Euang eco-farm in Thailand. The article was for a crowdsourced book called Sustainable (R)evolution (click to check out this amazing project!). I also wrote articles on the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, the City Repair movement in Portland, a brief overview of the natural farming movement in Japan, and on chinampas.

 *This is the closest to our final draft, I lost a picture of their really-floating garden.

A bit more info about them here on Earthlimited.



Maab Euang Agri-nature Foundation in Thailand 
by Kai Sawyer

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The Agri-Nature Learning Center at Maab Euang, called an “eco-farm” in Thailand, was started by Dr. Wiwat Salayakamtorm in order to develop practical solutions to environmental and socio-economic crises of modern times. It is located in Maab Euang village in Chonburi province and was founded in 2001 after Dr. Wiwat quit his job as a royal servant in order to put into practice the King’s Sufficiency Economy philosophy. He adopted 16 acres of his brother’s land and transformed the depleted hardpan earth into a productive edible forest garden including several rice paddies and aquaculture farms. He has studied permaculture and Fukuoka’s natural farming and it can be seen throughout the property.

The Sufficiency Economy philosophy stresses the importance of the middle path, and the need to balance forces of globalization with the needs of local resilience. Sufficiency means moderation and self-immunity for sufficient protection from internal and external shocks such as disease, economic instability, and natural disasters. It is an approach to cope with the rapidly changing natural and socio-cultural environments.

The motto of the eco-farm, “Learning by doing”, is put into practice through the nine learning stations, 1. Rice growing 2. Household product making 3. Biodiesel production 4. Charcoal making 5. Soil management 6. Forest gardening 7. Natural healthcare 8. Water management 9. Natural building. Workshops, internships, and visitations are donation-based as the King taught, “more you give the more you receive.”

During the 2011 floods that paralyzed the country the eco-farm served as a survival shelter. According to Dr. Wiwat, the eco-farm supported 500 internally displaced peoples for 2 months and sent rescue boats to help survivors. They had also trained people for major flooding two years prior to the 2011 floods. They continue to host survival camp for the general public. They also have constructed a floating garden made from empty plastic drums, bamboo, and a diverse variety of plants in preparation for future floods.

Today, over 80 Agri-Nature Learning Centers have been established throughout Thailand, and are hubs to teach sufficiency economy based living to farmers, government, businesses, and the general public. All centers also serve as survival shelters in case of crisis.


【ARTICLE】Chinampas: floating gardens

This is an article I wrote about chinampas, a mild fascination of mine. The article was for a crowdsourced book called Sustainable (R)evolution (click to check out this amazing project!). I also wrote articles on the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, City Repair movement in Portland, the ecofarm movement in Thailand, and a brief overview of the natural farming movement in Japan. The article is just an overview based on my limited understanding so if you are into it, look deeper!


*I think this is the final draft, pictures are different from the book.


Model of what might chinampa agriculture might have looked like


Illustration to explain how chinampas were made


 Chinampa building at the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead (WA, USA)


Banana chinampas in Thailand

I also saw palm tree chinampas in Kerala, India but I lost the photo.




Chinampa
By Kai Sawyer

Chinampa agriculture has been described as ”a self-contained and self-sustaining system that has operated for centuries as one of the most intensive and productive ever devised by man” (Chapin, 1988, p.2). A chinampa is an agricultural field “island” constructed in shallow lake beds traditionally shaped in a long rectangle like a typical garden bed. Chinampas form a network of “floating” gardens on a body of fresh water (e.g. lake), and are often associated with the Aztecs, who developed an intensive agroecological system that can still be found in Xochimilco, Mexico.  Before the Aztecs, the lowland Mayans had been constructing chinampas, some of which were later occupied and further developed by the Aztecs. This unique Meso-American agricultural system exemplifies sustainable food production through its ability to maintain continuous long-term and year-round productivity utilizing local resources.

The term chinampa is thought to have come from Nauhatl words chinamitl and pan, meaning reed basket and upon. The Nauhatl words appropriately describe the key characteristics of chinampas, which were constructed by “piling bed-clay and mud from the lakes, aquatic plants, dry-crop silage, manure and silted muck upon one another in precise layers between paralleled reed fences anchored in the lake bottom” (Woodard, 2011). The construction process, as described by Prutzman (1998), begins with Chinamperos using a long pole to find an appropriate base. The dimensions of the chinampa are marked with reeds stuck into the ground. These reeds are then smothered with mud excavated from around the base, creating canals surrounding the chinampa for canoe access. Next, thick mats of water lily and tule reeds are layered to create a nutrient-rich compost pile. This is followed by another layer of mud mixed with soil from an old chinampa. The sides of these garden beds are secured with posts interwoven with reeds or branches. Finally, willow trees are planted around the edges to provide structural support and create a favorable microclimate. Water flows through the porous structure of these garden beds that are self-irrigated through capillary action.  

Soil fertility is renewed by scooping up material from the bottom of the lake and canals onto the chinampa. Aquatic plants are also cultivated in waterways as fertilizer, and are piled onto the chinampa along with the mud. Planted willows contribute to fertility as foliage falls on the garden beds, creating a nutrient-rich mulch. The leaves that fall into the water feed the aquatic life and the nutrients will return to the lake bottom, only to be scraped back onto the chinampa. The willow trees also produce a microclimate by functioning as a windbreak and creating an air pocket with higher temperatures and humidity, greatly reducing frost damage.

Another key feature of chinampas are seedling germination beds and nurseries established at the edges of the chinampa by forming low terraces. These terraces are perpetually moist and humid, layered with nutrient-rich mud scooped from the bottom of the canal or lake, an ideal environment for seedlings. A thick layer of mud is spread over a bed of waterweeds, then after drying is cut into small rectangular blocks. Small holes are made in each block and a seed or cutting is implanted, covered by human or livestock manure. Reeds and newspaper were used to protect the seedlings from the frost. Once ready for transplanting, cubes are cut and planted into the designated location (Coe, 1964). This is a great example of “relative location” as plants are propagated where they will be transplanted and harvested, with little energy wasted for transport.

Chinampas are an excellent example of various permaculture principles in play: the extensive utilization of onsite biological resources (aquatic plants, willow), complete nutrient cycles, maximization of edges (canals, seedling nursery), relative location (water source and garden bed, seedlings), elements having multiple functions (reeds, willow), efficient energy planning (irrigation through capillary action), etc. Chinampas are ecologically elegant and highly productive, especially when compared to fossil-fuel-intensive modern-day agriculture with heavy chemical inputs (fertilizers, pesticides) transported from faraway factories. There is much that we can learn today about sustainable food production from this ancient Meso-American agroecological system that is believed to have provided sustenance for over a million Aztecs.  

For a detailed discussion, see Spencer Woodard’s article, “Chinampa: Raised-bed hydrological agriculture.”

References (APA format)
Chapin, M. (1988), The seduction of models. Grassroots Development, 12 (1).
Coe, M. D. (1964). The chinampas of Mexico. Scientific American, 211, 90-98.
Prutzman, C. A. (1998). The chinampas of the valley of Mexico: HBO Studio Productions (Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley).
Woodard, S. (2011). Chinampa: Raised-bed hydrological agriculture. Retrieved January 30, 2013, from
http://anthropogen.com/2011/04/24/chinampa-raised-bed-hydrological-agriculture/ 






Saturday, February 4, 2017

【ARTICLE】The City Repair Project and the Village Building Convergence

This is an article I wrote with my friend Adelaide on my favorite urban permaculture/social change movement, City Repair. The article was for a crowdsourced book called Sustainable (R)evolution (click to check out this amazing project!). I also wrote articles on the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, the ecofarm movement in Thailand, a brief overview of the natural farming movement in Japan, and on chinampas.


Mark Lakeman and the community of City Repair 


Ariel view of one of the Intersection Repairs


Intersection Repair during the Village Building Convergence (a must experience!)

Urban retrofitting during the Village Building Convergence 
Young volunteers learn from seasoned green builders to install light-straw clay insulation for an old home (aka The Planet Repair Institute)


The Planet Repair Institute from the street
The pointy tower is the Cat Palace


The iconic Mermaid Bench
This is one of the many cob benches made on private property for the public (faces the street not the house)



*This is the closest to our final draft, and the pictures are different from the book

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The City Repair Project and the Village Building Convergence

By Kai Sawyer

Established: 1996

Land (Location/Site Details/Facilities): Various intersections, residential and commercial sites, and open spaces throughout Portland, Oregon. 

People (Residents/Participants): City Repair projects are accomplished by a mostly volunteer staff and thousands of volunteer citizen activists.

Water (Source, Systems)

Shelter (Housing Model, Building Techniques): City Repair emphasizes low-cost, low-tech and ecologically sustainable building techniques such as: cob, straw-bale, light straw clay, and timber-frame. Several living roofs have been installed.  Whimsical and artistic structures are also encouraged such as a mermaid cob bench, the chicken and cat palace, and a beehive shaped newspaper dispenser. Building structures is an important opportunity for skill-building, and volunteers help build as they learn green building techniques.

Objective (Aim/Focus/Purpose): “City Repair is an organized group action that educates and inspires communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live. City Repair facilitates artistic and ecologically-oriented placemaking through projects that honor the interconnection of human communities and the natural world.” From the City Repair website.

Food (Sources, Systems): City Repair initiatives have reclaimed paved spaces for gardens (“Depave”) and installed urban food forests. They have sprouted gardens and food forests throughout Portland, from sidewalks to schools. Some residents have aquaculture systems and are raising bees, chickens, and rabbits in their backyards.

Energy (Sources, Systems)

Education (Programs Offered, Systems ): City Repair hosts various community workshops throughout the year. Once a year, they organise the Village Buildling Convergence (VBC) where free workshops are held in conjuction with neighborhood improvement projects throughout Portland for 10 days. Concurrently with the VBC, the Village Building Design Course is offered which explores placemaking indepth and trains future placemakers.
 
Governance (Decision Making): Creative community-centered consensus often involving residents around specific intersections.  Most projects are decentralized and organized by site-based groups of people. The Board of Directors, composed of committed CR volunteers meet regularly run the City Repair non-profit. Projects such as Shift to Bike, Depave, and the Village Building Convergence are supported by CR until they become autonomous organizations.

City Repair


City Repair (CR) is a community-led urban regeneration movement rooted in “placemaking” that first spread throughout neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, and is now moving beyond. From transforming street intersections into public gathering places to planting urban food forests for public grazing, the diversity and scope of the CR movement is extraordinary. Through a collaborative mix of permaculture, green building, art, and celebration, a growing number of empowered citizens are reclaiming urban space to create public place. CR defines placemaking as “a multi-layered process within which citizens foster active, engaged relationships to the spaces which they inhabit, the landscapes of their lives, and shape those spaces in a way which creates a sense of communal stewardship and lived connection.”

To contextualize the need to “repair” American cities, CR co-founder Mark Lakeman explains that while most European and Latin American cities are built around plazas, and small villages around central squares, the US was constructed following the Roman grid and thus few towns and cities in the US have central meeting places.  A practical advantage inherent in the Roman grid, the design imposed on places conquered by colonial powers starting with the Romans, is that people can be more easily externally controlled because there is no place for them to come together and create the power of community.

CR emerged from the idea that “localization - of culture, of economy, of decision-making - is a necessary foundation of sustainability. By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, community members plant the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empowering our communities and nurture our local culture.” (City Repair[MS1] ). The movement sprouted in a backyard tea house made from recycled material and piled with cushions that hosted weekly potlucks and festivities. Mark recalls, “it was just a place for neighbors to sit down and say hello and interact.” The gatherings grew to several hundred people before the city condemned the illegal structure. This government intervention helped catalyze the first CR action known as “Intersection Repair,” where a community transforms an urban street intersection into a public square.

Failing to gain the City Hall’s understanding and permission, residents decided to reclaim an intersection by getting together to paint a beautiful mandala and build little structures on each of the corners. Children inspired the beehive-shaped cob dispenser for the local newspaper (The Bee) and a kid’s clubhouse[MS2] , where toys can be exchanged, built from drift wood. Residents also built a 24-hour tea station, a community bulletin board, a little library, a stage, and a family-sized cob bench. Lakeman explains, “what we were doing was we were seeding a garden of the village, we were regrowing the village heart, with all of the functions and amenities that you’ll find.”

When city officials realized the benefits of Intersection Repair, such as beautifying the city, slowing down traffic, reducing crime, and building community through increased neighborhood interaction, all without spending any tax money, “the City Council legalized this whole process for all 96 neighbourhoods of the City of Portland. Several dozen intersection repair and other placemaking projects have have since been accomplished, some in other states.  These projects include installing gardens and cob benches in schools and the construction of the Portland’s first straw-bale dwelling at Dignity Village, a community of formerly homeless people. Many of these projects are accomplished during the Village Building Convergence (VBC) that began in 2000.


Village Building Convergence by Adelaide Nalley

Billed by CR as "an annual ten-day placemaking festival that combines crowdsourced activism, creative community development, hands-on education and celebration", the (VBC) is where most of CR's endeavors come together.  

During VBC days, individual communities work to physically manifest their collective visions.  These projects are unique to the communities, based on their needs, culture, taste, and collective identity, and have included such things as: neighborhood composting centers, a naturally refurbished public pottery studio, corner free boxes, outdoor classrooms and food forests at local schools, a tool lending library, and a neighborhood playhouse for children.  

While projects are designed by the community, in an effort to empower each community in their work, City Repair offers pre-VBC facilitation, planning, fund-raising, and technical support.  During the VBC, skilled volunteers lead the construction and both visiting and community volunteers come out to help turn the idea into reality.  In exchange for their time, volunteers learn new skills, receive locally donated food, build relationships, and have fun.  

There are also a number of free and low-cost workshops for participants to attend throughout the VBC.  In the evenings, participants from all of the different sites come together to celebrate their accomplishments, listen to guest lecturers, eat a locally produced meal, dance to live music, and develop an even more extensive community.  In this way, the VBC is creating a number of small villages within the city of Portland and then supporting their interconnection with one another.  

A number of out-of-town visitors come to the VBC each year and have the opportunity to not only participate in all of the neighborhood efforts, but also to stay with local host families.  Many visitors have been so inspired by the annual event that they have brought it back to their own communities.  Versions of the VBC can now be found in places like Asheville, NC, Seattle, WA, Brookfield, VT and Ottawa, CA.  Throughout the years, the VBC has been recognized for creating community, promoting sustainability, and increasing neighborhood safety, and as a result gained strong support from city officials.    


【ARTICLE】The Bullocks Permaculture Homestead

This is an article I wrote with my friend Scott on my favorite place to be, The Bullocks Permaculture Homestead. The article was for a crowdsourced book called Sustainable (R)evolution (click to check out this amazing project!). I also wrote articles on the City Repair movement in Portland, the ecofarm movement in Thailand, a brief overview of the natural farming movement in Japan, and on chinampas.


The Bullocks Permaculture Homestead culture


Small section of the forest garden (fruits, nuts, medicinals, nitrogen-fixers, pollinators, fuel, dynamic accumulators, you name it!)


chinampa!

*I think this was our final draft, and the pictures are different from the book
More about the Bullocks internship experience here with tons of pictures


Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead
Orcas Island, Washington, USA

Through a combination of acute observation skills, passion for homesteading, love of hard work, and a stream of helpers, the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead (BPH) functions as a home to the Bullock family, a thriving nursery, and a training site for skilled and inspired international permaculture practitioners. From the extensive utilization of “waste”, to the homestead culture of joking, love of food, and generosity, there is much that can be learned about living sustainably at the site. BPH is located on Orcas Island, part of the San Juan Archipelago, which lies in the rain-shadow of the Olympic Mountains and sits near the northernmost extension of a cool maritime/ mediterranean climate zone. The property features a variety of preexisting microclimates and soil types, rocky dry south-facing hillsides, a marsh and a wet valley bottom. Since acquiring the original five acres in 1982 and an additional five acres a few years later, the Bullocks have transformed this piece of land from one dominated by briars across much of the arable land into an innovative, productive and verdant paradise.

Tools/Technology: Energy Redefined
Instead of thinking about energy solely in terms of amps and watts, the Bullocks take a permaculture approach that broadens the conventional definition to include ‘energy flows,’ feedback loops, human and animal labor and other various forms utilized through the organization of overlapping systems.  Recognizing that the cheapest form of energy comes from tasks being built into the natural flow of the property, feeding the chickens or going out to pick a favorite fruit becomes an opportunity to stack functions. While the larger goal might be eating a delicious peach or plum, along the way they are able to actively engage with their system. By doing this, they are able to achieve greater efficiency because their system continues to be finely tuned.

Animals incorporated into the farm ecology increase the fertility of the soil, keep vegetation in check and limit pests. The Bullocks consider these energies to be vital to developing closed-loop cycles because they translate into an overall reduction of inputs needed from more traditional methods such as tractors to move manure.

As for heating and electricity generation, the site is mainly solar-powered and wood-heated, with a small amount of energy coming from the grid. Electricity for domestic use and agricultural water pumping is generated by a few large solar arrays. A small generator is used when electricity is needed remotely.

Water is stored in the landscape in as many locations as available, convenient and as high in elevation as possible in tanks and ponds. These reservoirs are fed using photovoltaic pumps with a gasoline-powered pump serving as backup if needed. Water stored high in the landscape acts like a battery, both by feeding water into the system when the sun isn’t shining and as an emergency source in the event of a fire. The distribution of water through piping from source to storage is divided regionally, partially to protect against total system failure in the event of a leak, but also because the nature of scavenging for equipment has led them to use smaller pumps common in the early part of this century. These pumps have lower power, but they match well with the “array direct” format of water pumping used on the property. These regional systems are linked by valves, so water can be fed from one to another when needed.

The greenhouse at the BPH is an instructive example of how energy can be generated and stored creatively through a stacking of functions. During the winter, residents use the greenhouse as their kitchen, dining/living room, workshop, shower, propagation space, etc. Cooking, activity and the wood stove provide heat. The wood stove, while heating the greenhouse itself, also can heat an attached sauna which doubles as a food dehydration room. A wood-fired water heater is used for needs in the kitchen and for showers (solar showers are used in the warmer months). Propane and wood are mainly used for cooking although the Bullocks have been experimenting with rocket stoves and gasification stoves in an attempt to cook with local fuel.

Culture/Education: Learning through Experimentation
Although originally intended as a private home for the Bullocks family, the homestead has evolved into an educational space with regular visitors, a ‘skill builder’ program and two regular courses each year. Visitors are welcome most weeks of the growing season to experience permaculture living along with the skill builders. Each year the seven-month skill builder program hosts twelve participants, who learn gardening, composting, grafting, plumbing, building, welding, teaching, and communal living. Each skill builder is assigned several garden beds, which provides them an opportunity for them to experiment with, for example, chicken tractors, natural farming, and vegetable varieties. As education is usually associated with the work needs of the homestead, skill builders learn by doing. An intensive three-week design course, taught by a team of highly experienced permaculture instructors, focuses on the fundamentals of permaculture, systems thinking, and integrated living, with shorter sessions, often led by visiting practitioners, on animal tracking, permaculture in public schools, urban and social permaculture among others.

Building: Take Advantage of What You Can
When making decisions, the Bullocks brainstorm about all of their possible needs, stacking as many functions as possible into each new component of their system. This is reflected in the structures built on the property, complete with food storage, propagation areas, and passive solar heating. In replacing the failing foundation of one existing home on the land, they took advantage of the opportunity and constructed a bedrock-cooled root and wine cellar. A variety of natural building styles are employed on the property including one home built with salvaged lumber, insulated with light-straw clay walls, and finished with natural plasters. The small houses are designed to be energy-efficient through the use of wood-fired stoves, insulation and double-paned windows oriented towards the winter sun.

During the warmer months, with long days and mediterranean-style, temperate dry weather, most aspects of life can be conducted outside. Through the use of open-air structures, the Bullocks adjust living arrangements according to the seasons, as they have distinct warm dry and cold rainy months. In the summer, the family and skill builders set up outdoor kitchens and a tipi-style gathering space called the Aloha Lodge, where meetings, meals, and lectures take place. Permanent structures, built for year round residents, are designed small to contain heat and conserve resources, while the simple summer structures are roofed and open-air to maximize comfort.

Land/Nature Stewardship: Creating a New Culture around Food
Food is considered a central element of the Bullocks Permaculture Homestead and much thought and enjoyment is put into every part of the process: planting, harvesting, preparation, consumption, and waste. The Bullocks take the permaculture principle “Share the Surplus” to heart by hosting frequent large meals with the skill builders and weekly potlucks for the surrounding community. Skill builders operate on a schedule where they each take part in cooking for the rest of the group.

Although the homestead is not self-sufficient in terms of food, it is full of many practical examples for food security and serves as a “plant bank” for their region. The Bullocks are passionate about fruit and nut trees and have a diverse collection of edible, medicinal, and special-interest trees. Since the property sits in a rain shadow creating slightly drier conditions than most of western Washington, they are able to grow a wide range of plants, some requiring maximum heat exposure and others needing a moderated position. Their careful study of the land allows them to isolate tiny microclimates that are only warm enough to work for a certain species. Their plantings consist of hundreds of food-producing shrubs, vines, trees and perennials from around the world and include multiple varieties of popular species. For instance, several dozen varieties of apples and plums serve to lengthen the harvest season, bolster resistance to pests and diseases, diversify uses (e.g. preserving, cooking), and enhance snacking experiences.

Extensive use of grafting allows for quicker harvests and other desirable properties. Malus fusca, commonly known as Pacific crabapple, grows like a weed on the property and the fruit is usually unappealing. Since these trees thrive in the area and have established root systems, the Bullocks have utilized them by grafting these trees with tastier varieties of apples, and can sometimes enjoy the new fruits the following year. They also have experimented with intergenus grafts, a technique by which a twig of one genus is grafted onto a different genus’ rootstock. For example, tasty pear varieties are grafted onto the tops of the prevalent hawthorn, which has the advantage of being deer-resistant and  not requiring irrigation, planting or fencing.

While planting trees for current and future generations of people, the Bullocks are also providing habitat for animals. Brush and stone piles and small zones are left wild throughout the property to create habitat for the snakes and lizards that work to keep pest populations down. The birds have the abundant fruit trees and shrubs (local birds prefer smaller fruits) to snack on in the early summer. With nut trees continuously being planted around the property the Bullocks have also seen a large rise in the squirrel population; they are trying to come up with a solution to this problem. The marsh, used by previous owners for cattle grazing and growing potatoes, is now teeming with life, and is a popular spot for bald eagles and blue herons. Chinampas (see p. x) , which were developed originally by the Aztecs, have been adopted by the Bullocks and constructed in the marsh and along the bank from prunings and excavated soil to create productive islands that further increase the biological activity of the marsh.

The continued success of BPH is due to the spirit of observation, experimentation and accepting feedback infused into the culture of the farm. Novel approaches are constantly being tried— some fail horribly and some succeed dramatically. The Bullocks make an effort to incorporate new ideas on the homestead, with innovation often coming from combinations of seemingly disparate elements.

Reporting contributed by Scott MacDonald and Kai Sawyer



Monday, January 16, 2017

Peace and Permaculture Dojo in Japan part 1

Happy 2017 (according to the Gregorian calendar)!

It has been a long while since I wrote in this dear blog. Most of my efforts has been toward my Japanese audience and I do wish I had the capacity to write bilingually with joy and ease.

Much is brewing in my journey with Tokyo Urban Permaculture (which is the name I started with but in many ways is misleading). The most recent big experiment is the Peace and Permaculture Dojo that has started in Isumi, Chiba. My fellow dreamers (TUP free agents) and I now have a 10 year lease on an old Japanese homestead, about 2.2 acres (0.9 hectares or 2700 tsubo), 2 hours outside of Tokyo.

The vision is to co-create a refuge/retreat for peace activists, and train the next generation of integral nonviolence practitioners. I want to put everything that I have been learning and practicing into this space, and live the change we wish to see in the world!!!

Things that we will explore, experiment with, and practice are
  • permaculture
  •  (inspired by Bullocks Permaculture Homested, City Repair Portland, etc)
  • integral nonviolence 
  • (inspired by Casa De Paz, Possibility Alliance, Gandhian Iceberg, NVC, etc)
  • mindfulness
  •  (inspired by Plum Village and Thich Naht Hanh, etc)
  • gift ecology 
  • (inspired by EARTH, Goenka's vipassana centers, Vinoba Bhave, Service Space, etc)
My main collaborator Nao Suzuki's big inspiration is Asia Gakuin (Tochigi prefecture).

.....and many more inspirations from around the globe.

Anyways, hopefully I'll have time in the near future to post more info in English. For now, I just wanted to beak the silence (in English) and give a short update of our biggest experiment yet!

We are crowdfunding to fix the giant thatched house since it is quite beat.
Check out the crowdfunding site for pictures and videos
https://motion-gallery.net/projects/TUPcrowdfunding2 




Below is a video of the property





The Vision as an Illustration 
by Fujisan (university student)


Japanese style permaculture!


Our tentative plan is

2017
Crowdfunding (until Jan 31st)
Fix the main house. Renovation workshops (Jan ~ March)
Property maintenance
Start garden
Observe and design the property, educational program, and social dynamics
Do some workshops and retreats on nonviolence and permaculture
Party?

2018 official apprenticeship program starts

We aren't prepared to have guests yet, but hopefully soon we will.

Warmly
Kai