Southern Oregon now has its own permaculture institute, demonstration farm and more. After two years in development, the Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute (SOPI) nonprofit is now open for business. “Our first courses will be held this spring.”
SOPI provides a unique blend of permaculture education, new model demonstration and what we call Culturequake education. Our book, Culturequake: The Restoration Revolution and future courses describe how we got to where we are now, what the obvious impacts are and then how to design new community and economic models that blend what has worked well in the past with what we have today.
“It is really hard to design new solutions that do not add more unintended consequences and do offer real long-term solutions. Our institutions keep offering more of the same infinite growth, consumer culture, private property, owner–labor separation, dominion–Taker stories.” SOPI is being brave enough to not only say what is wrong with modern culture but also to offer alternatives and to create a platform for people to discuss and develop completely new models.
By combing permaculture with real cultural solutions, SOPI will offer true whole systems thinking. We will teach people how to think a new way, how to see the connections between all of the elements and to act with ethics that emphasize care for the earth, care for people and sharing the surplus. Anything we do will follow these ethics.
For example, we will follow a common-work model that starts by designing landscapes for the sake of the land first and then identify the livelihoods within the land. We will work with nature instead of seeing what we can take from her without giving back.
We need to take education to a new level. Future leaders and the average person are entitled to know how everything is and can be connected. We can no long externalize costs and expenses thereby fowling our nest. Nature is the model—nature is the teacher. To be completely honest, all we have achieved with civilization is a lot of stuff that will soon end up in the dump, an unhealthy and depleted landscape for future generations and a whole society that no longer knows how to take care of ourselves and cannot live without distractions because we are not grounded.
SOPI is for those who want to learn how to and want to put their time and resources towards creating new working alternatives. Creating new models that will out-compete and then replace our current Taker culture will be extremely difficult. But starting with permaculture design skills and where Culturequake leaves off gives us a context of what worked well for a 150,000 generations and where we went wrong during the agricultural revolution.
Courses to New Model
We will be teaching the Bill Mollison Permaculture Design Course, advanced permaculture design and much more. Come take a weekend tour of Restoration Farm. In one place you will see a working permaculture and CSA farm, young food forest, solar electric, greenhouse, rainwater catchment, and green building systems.
Our goal is to develop a program of courses than will become a type of whole systems certification—graduates will be able to think and see the whole big picture and to begin to design new cultural and economic models.
SOPI also offers affordable Permaculture Introduction courses on first Sundays. Restoration Farm and the Village Farm offers a CSA, farm stand and U-pick blueberries. So give us a shout and we look forward to seeing you on the farm.
Ashland Oregon and the Rogue Valley
“Things are happening in the Rogue Valley.” The Rogue and Southern Oregon has among the highest concentration of skills in the country—more permaculturist, herbalist, healers, gleaners, green builders, craftsman and innovators per capita.
Ashland, Oregon also offers every amenity from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Southern Oregon University, fine and health dining, independent book stores, many bed and breakfasts and of course beautiful Lithia Park
Chuck Burr is a permaculture farmer, teacher and founder of the Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute and Restoration Farm in Ashland, Oregon.
Visit www.sopermaculture.org to learn about permaculture education in Ashland, Oregon including the Permaculture Design Course, June 13-26.