Notes from the March 2 Woodstock Transition Gathering: Back to the Garden

Notes from the March 2 Woodstock Transition gathering: Back to the Garden

Vickie O’Dougherty opened the meeting and introduced the Transition Town Concept.

Kevin Kraft Introduced the Panel:

Wolf Bravo, Permaculture designer and founder of Ulster County Tool Exchange Project; and founder of Sustainable Urubamba Valley, which will bring permaculture training to a high school in the mountains of Cuzco, Peru. His work there is to create sustainable systems to alleviate the problems created by the melting of the Andean Glaciers, and to build community resilience.

Wolf talked primarily about his ideas for the Ulster County Tool Bank. He brought examples of old tools that need to be repaired and refurbished, and some examples of knives he has retooled himself. The plan is to have a “Tool Share Network,” in which people will bring old/used tools and others will borrow them for a time. This will prevent old/used tools from going into the landfill, will create a sense of community, and will support young farmers, gardeners, and others in need of tools. The sites for donating and picking up tools during the month of March, will be at the High Falls Food Co-op, Marbletown High Meadow Middle School on Rte. 209, Tweefontein Herb Farm, at 4 Jenkins Road in New Paltz, Jens at 845 636 8218, and the Woodstock Library 679 2213. They are collecting all sorts of hand tools, not power tools. In addition, Wolf will be organizing Tool Repair and Maintenance Clinics during the months of April, May and June. Volunteers are needed to help teach these workshops. Wolf’s contact information is 973 207 9869, and

Keiko Sono is the Woodstock Permaculture Meet-Up Coordinator, a certified permaculture designer, who relies on permaculture principles in all her activities, from daily time management to community organization.

Keiko described the principle of permaculture: connections among elements are more important than the elements themselves. Multiple functions are supported by multiple elements. She also described the important qualities in permaculture as Intuition (which she says can also be called common sense), Observation, and Sharing. She spoke of the edible forest garden, and a local strawbale house that her parents are building. Two important local sources for permaculture are Green Phoenix Permaculure, and UCCC.

Barbara Rosen is a member of the Woodstock Community Garden

Barbara spoke about the importance of saving (and buying) heirloom seeds, if you want to replicate one particular vegetable or flower variety year after year. Hybrid strains do not breed true, since they are made up of more than one variety. She talked about drying seeds in the oven if you have a pilot light, and keeping them out of the light until they “pop,” which is to say sprout. She expressed her fascination and love for all kinds of gardening, which was palpable in her presentation. She is committed to finding a way to develop four-seasons gardening in Woodstock.

Participants Michael and Lester discovered Woodstock Transition when they came to the Movie “Dirt” on February 26.

Michael has been Lester’s student in the study of pyramids for many years. Lester has been experimenting and learning about the power of pyramids in gardening since the 1970’s. They brought some examples of pyramids, and explained the energetic principles through with pyramids promote growth and health in gardens.

Polly Howells asked everyone in the room to introduce him/herself and say where they came from, and then facilitated a short open-space technology experience, out of which four discussion groups emerged: Reskilling, facilitated by Wolf; Fruit and Nut Trees and Community Gardens, facilitated by Barbara; Pyramids, facilitated by Lester and Michael, and Seed-Swapping, facilitated by Katryna.

Out of these groups, the following ideas emerged:

Reskilling group: The idea of a physical Hub emerged, possibly to be established in the Habitat for Humanity building on Route 28 (Susan is going to check into this). This could, ideally, be an office that would serve the Transition towns in the area, Permaculture, and possibly the Pachamama Alliance. Workshops could be taught there in craftwork, repair, reusing and recycling. It would possibly be a place where movies could be shown, and the tool exchanges could take place.

Fruit and Nut trees, starting gardens, and Woodstock Community Garden: The group discussed wild gathering of fruit and nut seeds, talking with arborist Vern Rist, collaboration with the Woodstock Land Conservancy, the Woodstock Environmental Commission, and contacting Cornell Cooperative Extension Center for seedlings. Jn addition, it was suggested that we get together with the Civic Design Committee and talk to schools and businesses in the community about planting gardens. Barbara is available to lead field trips around the community garden once spring arrives.

Pyramids: Lester and Michael encouraged us to put string pyramid structures over the community garden plots as well as private gardens. People experimented with sitting under the pyramid structures they brought, and experiencing their beneficial effects.

Seed exchange: There were some hubbard squash seeds and amaranth seeds exchanged, and the idea of using the Hub also as a center for seed exchanges was mentioned.

We reconvened in the larger circle, and Susan read a list of all the many TT and related events that are coming up in the next two months.

Explore posts in the same categories: Environmental, Food Sustainability

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