NORWAY — The Center for an Ecology-Based Economy will host a presentation and discussion tonight, Thursday, Sept. 10, at 6:30 pm at CEBE in the The Commons at 447 Main St. The title of the talk by Scott Vlaun is “The Promise of Permaculture for Maine’s Western Foothills.”  

With its origins in Australia more than four decades ago, permaculture is a rapidly expanding, and often misunderstood, movement for ecology-based transformation of our culture. For many, permaculture is seen as the most promising approach for responding to the ecological and economic challenges posed by climate instability and resource depletion and for creating a new, mutually beneficial relationship with nature.

Permaculture is often described as a design system that seeks to emulate the strength and resilience of natural systems. Permaculture design can be applied at any scale from an urban balcony, to an entire community. Permaculture designs are meant to be regenerative, self-sustaining and ecologically sound, while providing for people’s needs.

At the core of permaculture are the three ethics of Earth care, people care and fair share. Permaculture design is already leading the way to local self-reliance in communities throughout the world with a rapidly growing presence here in Maine.

“This area is an ecologically rich environment with a strong history of community self-reliance” Vlaun, who has studied and practiced permaculture since 2002, said in a press release. “With the advent of cheap oil over a century ago, our local economy has gradually shifted from strong community self-reliance to dependence on distant supply chains for our needs. There is no reason why we can’t reduce that dependence while doing the right thing for people and the planet. Permaculture is a great way to move in that direction.”

The presentation is free and open to all. It will be followed by light refreshments and an open discussion.

On Friday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. in The Commons, CEBE will offer a workshop called Working with Perennial Vegetables and More. This presentation will look at integrating useful perennials in the landscape to increase food production and ecosystem health while creating self-sustaining beauty. 

On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, CEBE will offer an Introduction to Permaculture and Human-Scale Agriculture. This two-day class gives the basics of permaculture design and how you can apply it in your own life. The weekend intensive will balance classroom presentations with hands-on work in the field. This year the class will focus on designing and building perennial food systems with time spent at the Alan Day Community Garden’s Community Food Forest project. Renewable energy systems and green building techniques will also be covered. Scholarships and work-study are available and no one will be turned away for financial reasons. Contact CEBE for information at [email protected] or 739-2101.

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