Now I'm back in Essex, some of my thoughts are turning to permaculture in my home county, strengthening the network, building community and standing in the place where I live, so to speak.
Permaculture's presence in Essex has been ably manifest for many years by my mate and teacher Graham Burnett, through his Spiralseed courses and engagement with a wide range of local projects including South-East Organic Gardeners, Southend-in-Transition and many more. Claire White and I had the privilege of teaching on a Permaculture Design Course alongside Graham earlier this year at Growing Together project in Westcliff-on-sea, which looks like it could become a hub for permaculture activity in the area. The course attendees included Growing Together staff, SEOG members, Southend-in-Transitioners, the venerable Ron Bates and many other worthy Essex folk.
|Water Butt at Growing Together Gardens|
Ron and Graham have for many years run permaculture courses at the anarchist-pacifist open house 'Dial House', in North Weald in the West of the county.
|Introduction to Permaculture course at Dial House|
Rosie, one of the course participants, and her partner Chris are living the good life according to permaculture principles at their retro-fitted eco house in Clacton, recently awarded LAND status by the Permaculture Association. Their experiences in are recorded at their EcoDIY webite.
|Graham Burnett & Ron Bates at Manchester Drive Allotments|
Essex is fortunate to have a few other permaculture LAND (Learning And Network Demonstration) centres in the county: the Apricot Centre set in a 4 acre organic and permaculture designed garden in Manningtree, and three sites in the Essex/London borderlands: Forest Farm Peace Garden a community garden in Hainault, the Lambourne End Outdoor Centre in Lambourne End, and the Hawkwood Nursery project of OrganicLea in Chingford.
|Earth Oven at the Apricot Centre|
Spencer Christie runs Lauriston Farm, a permaculture inspired, and biodynamic registered 125 acre farm situated on the Blackwater Estuary just outside Goldhanger.
No doubt there are many other permaculture practitioners and interested parties out there across Essex, there's certainly a range of Transition groups across the county and people with similar approaches. If you know of any, indeed if you are one! - leave a comment with some way of getting in touch (or mail me jamespierstaylor [the AT symbol] yahoo DOT co DOT uk ) and we'll build the network.