Friday, March 3, 2006

Permaculture workshop to explore sustainability

James and Leslee Reed founded Idaho Permaculture

By Tony Evans
For the Express

The term permaculture was coined in the 1970s, by fellow Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren to signify permanence, or sustainability in human culture and agriculture within the context of shrinking global resources. According to its founders, permaculture "describes a design system for creating human settlements that function in harmony with nature."

James and Leslee Reed of Hailey and Hagerman will host Idaho's first Certified Permaculture Design Course, April 16 to 29, at their Sage Waters property on the slopes of the Snake River Canyon in Hagerman. Twelve days of training will culminate in a Permaculture Certification for attendees, with an emphasis on Eco Village design.

Representatives from Native Landscapes in Hailey, Living Architecture in Ketchum and Developing Green in Ketchum will also attend the workshop in order to acquire permaculture certifications for their offices and businesses. The course is open to 35 students, and will cost between $350 and $1,500 for attendees, depending upon intensity and duration of courses.

The Reed's vision for Sage Waters includes the eventual construction of a retreat and training center at their property. An ecological redevelopment of the property would incorporate permaculture principles in a high-density village on one section of the 30-acre property. An initial assessment of the Sage Waters property is integral to the course schedule. Future monitoring of re-development practices will provide an on-going model of a permaculture renovation of a typical Idaho ranch home.

"The more interwoven the water-use, energy-use, housing and agricultural systems are at Sage Waters, the closer we can follow the fundamentals of permaculture," James Reed said.

Certified permaculture facilitator and activist Larry Santoyo will direct the two-week certification program, drawing on his expertise as a designer, land use planner, business consultant and director of EarthFlow Design Works in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Santoyo is among the most experienced permaculture designers and educators in the United States, and has taught environmental design at colleges and universities nationwide.

Also participating is Bill McDorman, founder of The Seeds Trust and former Ketchum resident, as an instructor during the final four days of the workshop. McDorman has written extensively about high altitude gardening, and is a certified permaculturist now living in Cornville, Ariz.

John Mills, a national award winning hydronics and solar expert will also address technical applications of solar heating and energy supply.

Kelly Murphy will speak on the geology of Hagerman, including the cataclysmic Bonneville Flood during the last Ice Age as well as other indigenous topics of the area.

Dale Bates from Living Architecture in Ketchum will provide instruction on permaculture building techniques.

Training schedule topics will include Site Analysis, Water Harvesting, Soil Building, Landscaping, Economics and Community Networking with area farmers and alternative energy producers. Several field trips are also included. Camping is available for the workshop, as well as information on Hagerman area lodging. For more information and directions to Sage Waters, go to

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