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'Permaculture' Efforts Grow in Hermosa

As some Hermosa Beach residents practice "permanent agriculture," the city prepares for its temporary community garden.

A few chickens rest among the banana trees, lettuce, avocados, and herbs growing in Hermosa Beach residents Ray and Carolyn Waters' backyard, who have three gardens in total.

Much of the garden space was developed last weekend, when the local couple hosted a three-day and hands-on workshop with Dr. Bill Roley, director of the Permaculture Institute of Southern California.

"It was sort of like an HGTV makeover. People were everywhere; they designed and created three different project sites," Carolyn said about the event.  

Permaculture (a contraction of the phrase "permanent agriculture") is an ecological movement geared towards promoting "natural homes," where residents grow their own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, according to the Permaculture Institute's website.

About 40 people gathered at the Waters household on Aug. 26, and then about 25 on Aug. 27 and 20 on Sunday, to learn about and practice permaculture during the workshop, Ray said.

A spiral herb garden, newly minted pathway and multi-layered irrigation system are just a few of the additions to the Waters' home following the event. 

The lecture and workshop, though hosted at the Waters' residence, was organized by Transition South Bay L.A., a group that promotes permaculture throughout the Beach Cities.   

The workshop last week was the first of many in store that aim to "re-skill" Beach Cities residents in gardening and growing their own food, said Carolyn Miller, the organization's spokeswoman.

She added that Transition hopes attendees will take the skills and knowledge gained at workshops and apply them to their own communities and households.

For example, South Bay residents should think before "purchasing a salad from 1,500 miles away," Miller urged. "We should eat locally, grow our own food, and participate in community gardens… all of these things that we kind of got away from doing."

To further promote Transition's cause, Miller and the Waters both have supported to grow a community garden in Hermosa Beach. The Hermosa Beach City Council last month in South Park to test the idea.

Some Hermosa Beach residents, however, have not become supporters of the proposed garden project.

Some residents have publicly argued that a garden could attract gardeners from outside of Hermosa Beach, causing more traffic or parking problems in the neighborhood. Others have argued that gardens should remain on private residential properties only.

But as the idea comes to fruition, the community garden will begin planting seeds within the next couple of weeks, Ray said, and most of the produce would be donated to local charities.

And Miller said that community gardens are a healthy way for residents to stay active.

Transition has been in talks to establish community gardens in neighboring Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, Miller said, and the group is open to supporting gardens all over the South Bay.

The group plans to host a regional event called "" in Manhattan Beach on Sept. 24, where residents can learn more about community gardens and other "healthy living" efforts in the area, such as the proposed .

How do you feel about permaculture and the proposed community garden in Hermosa Beach? 

Shelby Tay September 09, 2011 at 11:44 PM
It's great to learn about Transition Initiatives hosting permaculture trainings and courses and helping create the space for folks to connect to their food and their place. Check out the national hub site http://www.transitionus.org

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