This, yes, is the obligatory beginning of the year post. Here, we review the past year with an honest eye and turn our attention to the multitude of possibilities for the new year.
Great Basin Permaculture has always been a small group of diverse people who are intrigued by permaculture design for equally diverse reasons. We’ve grown over the past six years to a dedicated group of 10-12 permies who meet regularly to talk of the challenges and triumphs in our own personal permaculture pursuits. As a group we’ve designed and initiated many projects throughout Las Vegas including the Seed Machine at Green Valley Library, Blackbird Studios wicking beds, and the Permaculture Learning Garden inside Vegas Roots Community Garden.
The Seed Machine at Green Valley Library is our most successful venture by far! In spring of 2015, we set up a gumball machine with capsules containing seed harvested from our gardens and seed donated from groups like Native SEED/Search in the lobby of the Green Valley Library. Over 300 capsules of seed have been dispensed and over $100 in donations collected. In partnership with the library, we hosted seasonal seed saving workshops, seed swaps, and pollinator workshops. We look forward to continuing the success of the Seed Machine in 2016!
An experiment that can be catalogued as both a success and a failure is the design and installation of wicking beds in the back alley of Blackbird Studios in downtown Las Vegas. As part of an Introduction to Permaculture course we hosted in 2013, participants built two large self-watering beds planted with a variety of pleasant smelling herbs, edibles for easy snacking, and pretty flowers. Our goal was to extend the art into the exterior, to create a space for the artists to breathe and obtain a fresh perspective and for gallery visitors to gather. After a rough summer, we changed the plants to a palate of silver and purple and then to two lemon trees with a mint ground cover (the plan here was to turn our lemons into…well, you know). The beds were a challenge because they were on top of hot asphalt, frequented by alley cats, and lost in the back by the dumpster. This month, we will be taking apart the beds and cleaning up the space as Blackbird Studios closes their doors. We are grateful for the learning experience of relative location and the opportunity to rub elbows with some of Las Vegas’ homegrown talent.
As of December 31, we are no longer stewards of the space formerly known as the Permaculture Learning Garden inside Vegas Roots Community Garden. The Permaculture Learning Garden was designed to thrive in that particular space. We observed patterns in wind, sun, water, and temperature. These were the adjustments that were easiest to fix. We also observed patterns in the organizations and volunteers. We often found ourselves stretched to the limit with our human and fiscal resources, reminding us to accept feedback and adjust accordingly. But, in the end, it was the lack of clear communication and differences in vision between Vegas Roots Community Garden and Great Basin Permaculture that were present all along. These are the adjustments that are the hardest to fix. After five years working the dirt into soil, we’ve seen much success in the the plant life and animal life. The birds, bats, insects, mice, and lizards of the neighborhood have found a sliver of growth to make a home, just like they always do. And this is what we will do too.