It feels like just yesterday we were gathered together in the classroom barn at Bear Roots Farm for final design presentations, and yet here we are almost 3 weeks later watching the glorious summer season come to a close here in the Green Mountains. However, unlike the temporal seasons, our permaculture journey continues, and so here we are with a recap of the PDC's finale and an update on our recent activities.
The final week of our inaugural PDC, which was punctuated with more guest speakers, field trips and the regional design workshop, continued building on the threads that Andrew had begun weaving for us during the first week. Aside from final design presentations, which included a detailed plan for a "Eco-Hub" in NYC and an animal and human rehab sanctuary, the highlight of the week came with the Designing Abundance Regional Design workshop held at Montpelier High School. It was certainly a powerful experience having so many active community members, students, and experts collectively discussing their respective visions for the future for Montpelier and the surrounding region. After opening remarks provided by Vic and Andrew, the day continued with various breakout sessions that covered a wide array of topics including new economic models, broadscale water quality improvements, local food procurement for institutions like Montpelier High School, and even suggestions for a centralized food/information hub. For our PDC students, the workshop provided an astounding example of how to go about applying permaculture and design process on various scales, from homestead to whole regions. For this initiative, the workshop was a strong affirmation of the existing desire for a more sustainable future for Central Vermont.
Since the end of the PDC and the workshop, our network has been expanding, as have our ideas. We have begun exploring a long-term partnership with Walt Poleman PhD and the UVM Ecological Design Collaboratory, an initiative of the GreenHouse Residential Learning Community that gives participating undergrads an introduction to place-based ecological design and skill development. Two of our PDC graduates are affiliated with the program, and will be assisting us in developing informational workshops and potential research projects for their fellow students. We having additionally begun reaching out to other institutions, such as Goddard College, the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, and the Vermont Land Trust, to explore possibilities closer to our region of focus. Perhaps our most ambitious goal is the development of the Permaculture Research Institute of Central Vermont, a planned employee-owned entity that intends to offer research opportunities, design strategies for creating resilient regional systems, and an alternative media platform aimed at adjusting our cultural narrative.
In just a few short months we have begun forging our path towards a region that better sustains its communities, discovering the natural synergies and unlikely partnerships along the way. While we still have a long way to go, we are watching our vision evolve everyday and the future is certainly looking bright.