New group forming on permaculture; intro presentations set for Feb. 4 & 11

treetops and cloud in Hamburg NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

A new group called Permaculture of Greater Buffalo will hold an introductory presentation on permaculture from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 in Ashker’s Juice Bar & Cafe, 1002 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

The same presentation will be given at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at Ashker’s.

The room is small, so attendance is limited to 15 people at each meeting. Please RSVP online.

At the group’s very first meeting, held earlier this month, an informal discussion touched on many topics including watering plants during drought conditions; bees; seed exchanges, and biochar, a special kind of charcoal that can enhance soil and keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

Also mentioned was something called bone sauce, which is used to keep deer from eating your plants. You can apply bone sauce to wood, such as fences or wooden borders around your garden, and it will last on the wood for five to 10 years, said Brett Andrzejewski, the organizer of the new group. It’s a very stinky liquid–  the smell will stick to your hands for days and will last in your garden for half of the season, he said. You can cook it up yourself, but it’s not as easy to prepare as Garlic Fire Spray and similar concoctions.

People also mentioned projects they would like to work on in their own yards or with nonprofit groups. People can bring photos of the areas of the planned projects to the upcoming meetings.

The word permaculture is formed from “permanent agriculture.” The ideas was that if you plant tomatoes in your yard, you have tomatoes, but if you move, no more tomatoes. However, if you plant an apple tree, even if you move, there will be a food plant in that spot.

Many people now find that concept too limiting, Andrzejewski said. Permaculture has come to mean something more like “permanent culture” and can include everything from seed saving to growing community resiliency. He likes to think of permaculture as a design science based on observation of patterns, interactions, fluxes and flows.

A couple of books recommended at the meeting included Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway and Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison.

There is another group in the area called WNY Permaculture. Andrzejewski just met them this weekend and said they are working on similar things, such as design, how to make acorn flour, no-till gardening and hugelkultur, a  composting process employing raised beds.

“They were quite excited that we found each other and are looking forward to working together,” he said.

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