Sunday, September 28, 2008

Old orchards and fresh fruit

For the last month we have been enjoying the sweet fruits of the various apple orchards on The Farm. The apples and pears we have been enjoying so much were harvested from trees planted in the late 70's and early 80's by Martin Holsinger, aka Brother Martin.  Martin is an old Farmie who know lives down in the Central Basin near Nashville.  Last weekend the Advanced Permaculture Course in Forest Gardening got the chance to spend an afternoon walking the orchards with Martin to learn the history and gleen wisdom from his experiences planting and maintaing an orchard here.  The walk played a key role in our educational process, and the apples form the orchard are playing a key role in our health and happiness this fall as we laugh over cold apple cider, enjoy hot apple cobler, and put up apple preserves for the weekend.

Many thanks to Martin for his forsight and follow through with the orchard, and for his willingness to share his information.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Permi news from the RNC (Update)

This is a quick update about our friends on the Permibus...We are glad they are free and clear of trouble and ready to start teaching and sharing again.
Thanks to Starhawk for the update:

UPDATE: The PermiBus is free, and parked right outside! It was released by the city. Our folks had to pay towing, but did not have to pay the impound charges. Today they are going over the bus carefully, as it received some damage either from the towing or during the illegal searches. Believe me when I say they are carefully checking all systems, and will get everything fully repaired before setting off on the road.

A note of irony—one of the most bizarre items listed on the search warrants used in the raids was ‘buckets of urine and human wastes’, presumably to be used for nefarious purposes. The PermiBus, of course, has a composting toilet aboard. So Stan had to explain to at least one reporter all about humanure. The reporter downloaded The Humanure Handbook and then faxed it to the city attorney. So at least someone in city administration is getting educated!

Thanks for all the support from so many different people and communities. All the calls and public pressure were tremendously effective. Many, many thanks to those of you who donated money. We will have funds left over when the fees and repairs are paid, and they will be used to further the work of the bus. The Wilsons receive no salary or stipend for the work and trainings that they do. They sustain themselves on donations—so sometimes it’s feast, sometimes famine. (Frankly, they all seem to have lost weight since I saw them last, except for the dogs and the chickens, who are plump as ever.) Now they will have money for gas, food, and possibly even some improvements to the bus. And, of course, some money to set in motion a lawsuit which will hopefully deter the authorities from making this sort of thing a habit. Many people have also contacted them and volunteered to organize trainings and a visit to their area. If you’d like the bus to come to your town, the Wilsons can be reached at: If you are interested in permaculture, check out our website at

Rain was arrested last night, along with three hundred other people, at the end of the antiwar march, and is scheduled to be in court today. Our other folks from the Pagan Cluster are all out of jail, and doing fine. Again, many many thanks for your calls and support. More may be needed as the struggle moves into the courts.

I’ll write about the last day, but probably not until tomorrow when with luck, I’ll be home. All my other updates are available on my website,

Thanks! Starhawk

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fall is coming!

Autumn is on its way, and with it a flurry of activity here at the Ecovillage Training Center as we prepare to host some amazing workshops including:
Advanced Permaculture Course Practicum in earthworks for food and water and Food Forestry
from the 12-21st of September
Natural Building Theory and Practice
from October 3rd-5th
Gaia University Graduation and workshops including Financial Permaculture
from October 7th-28th
POPCICLE -- Peak Oil Preparedness, Climate Intervention: the Challenge of Less Everything
From October 7th-11th
Mushroom workshop
November 1st
Solar Installation Course
From November 5th-9th

For more details email us at Ecovillage [at]
In addition to the amazing workshops coming up at the ETC we have a new group of amazing apprentices to learn our ways of living sustainably and share their own talents and skills.

Permi news from the RNC

News from our friends on the Permibus...

Hey friends, we need your help! Our Earth Activist Training Sustainable Skills Bus has been seized without cause by the police. Below is an account from the Wilsons, who have been travelling in the bus for the last seven months doing trainings in permaculture and sustainability, including ways you can help. My own accounts from the action can be found on and I’ll be posting daily as long as I can—or sign on to my own list by emailing If you’re on that list, my own account follows. Please support these folks who have been doing such good work for us all. Thanks!


Please Post Far and Wide including any Media Contacts You May Have

At approximately 6:25 pm on August 30, 2008 Minneapolis Police, Minnesota State Troopers, Ramsey County Sheriffs, Saint Paul Police, and University of Minnesota Police pulled over the Earth Activist Training Permaculture Demonstration Bus (Permibus) by exit 237 on Interstate 94. Initially the police told the people on the bus to exit. When the people on the bus asked if they were being detained they were told that they were but police wereunable to provide justification. When asked why they pulled the bus over they refused to answer. After repeated requests to explain why the bus had been stopped Officer Honican of the Minneapolis Police explained that this was just a routine traffic stop though he did not explain the reason for the traffic stop. The police then told Stan Wilson, the driver and registered owner of the Permibus, that they were going to impound the bus in case they wanted to execute a search warrant later. After more than an hour of being questioned by Stan and Delyla Wilson as to the legalities of their detainment and the impoundment of the Permibus, the police then informed Stan that the bus, which is legally registered as a passenger vehicle in the state of Montana, was being impounded for a commercial vehicle inspection. Shortly afterward Sergeant Paul Davis, a commercial vehicle inspector arrived on scene. Despite the polices insistence that the reason for impoundment was for a commercial vehicle inspection the Permibus crew were not allowed to remove anything from the bus including computers, toiletries, and 17-year-old Megan Wilson's shoes. The police finally allowed the animals to be removed from the Permibus before it was towed, leaving the Permibus family standing beside their chickens and dogs, homeless on the highway.

The Permibus was relocating from the Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis, where they had spent the day teaching Urban Permaculture, to a friend's house in Saint Paul for a well deserved break. The Permibus has been in the Minneapolis area since August 2nd when the crew appeared at the Midtown Farmers Market for a morning of Permaculture education including Permaculture 101, chicken care, seed ball making for kids, and the Permi-puppet show. During the past month the Permibus has parked at several local businesses and, as a neighborly gesture of respect for local police, Mr. Wilson contacted the appropriate precincts just to let them know the Permibus was in the area and had permission from the business owners to be parked on their lot. Through this, as well as other casual discussions with Minneapolis and Saint Paul police officers, the Permibus crew found the local police to be interested and respectful. However on August 30th all that changed when, for no apparent valid reason the police pulled over and seized the Permibus. After the incident Stan Wilson said, "If the combined law enforcement of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and the State of Minnesota can pull over and impound a vehicle and home used to teach organic gardening and sustainability, one has to wonder what it is our government really fears. After all, we seek to teach people that the real meaning of homeland security is local food, fuel and energy production. For that we have had our lives stolen by government men with guns."

As of now, after repeated requests to be present at any vehicle inspection, with an list of what they are inspecting for, as well as requests to be served any warrants for searches of the vehicles prior to a search and to be present during the search the Permi-family has been unable to ascertain the current status of the Permibus. On site Mr. Wilson was told that Officer Palmerranky was the inspector in charge of the case and would determine if the Permi-family's rights protecting them from unreasonable search and seizure would be respected. Neither Officer Palmerranky nor his supervisor has yet to return Mr. Wilson's calls. The loss of her home and possessions is particularly difficult on seventeen-year-old Megan Wilson. Megan, a shining example of what this country asks of today's youth, has dedicated herself to making positive changes in the world. She was the youth keynote speaker at the Local to Global conference in Phoenix AZ, has taught conflict resolution at youth shelters and is the outreach coordinator for the Skills for a New Millennium Tour, the family traveling educational project. Megan believes that, "While I understand that the world we live in is not as it should be I strive to live and teach in a way that shows the world how life could be. What I don't understand is why I can't get dressed for an evening out with friends in my own home without armed men stealing my life out from under me." The Permi-family, along with their dogs and Permaculture super-hero chickens are currently being housed by folks in the Twin Cities.

The Skills for a New Millennium Tour is a family education project that travels around the United States teaching homesteading, citizenship, and life skills at farmers markets, community gardens, churches, intentional communities, schools, and in people's living rooms. The Skills Tour is a donation supported project dedicated to providing tools for sustainable living, including Permaculture, to anyone who is interested, regardless of income. "We believe that any solution that is not accessible to the poor and urban areas is not a real solution for the future," states Delyla Wilson. Permaculture is a design system with ethics and principles that can be applied to food production, home design, and community building in order to increase sustainability in food production, energy production, and social systems. The Permibus is a rolling demonstration of small scale sustainable living with three people, three dogs, three chickens, and a box of worms as permanent residence. The chickens and worms are part of a closed-loop food productions composting system that supports the Permibus's traveling garden. For more information on the seizure of the Permibus, the Skills for the New Millennium Tour, or Permaculture, the Wilson's can be reached at 406-721-8427 or through email at You can also see pictures and read stories about the last six months of their educational adventures at

To our supporters: First we ask that as many people as possible contact precinct one in Minneapolis, MN at 612-673-5701 and Mayor Rybak at

Phone: (612) 673-2100 or

call 311 or call (612) 673-3000 outside Minneapolis.

Also call the Ramsey County Sheriff

Sheriff - Bob Fletcher 651-266-9300

and demand the immediate release of the Permibus.

We are also in desperate need of donations. Though we do not yet know the full cost of getting the permibus returned we know that it will include tow fee, impound fees, and legal fees. To donate contact us directly for a local address or...

Donate On-line:

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