GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living

When a Gardener Goes Permie


IMAG1977Part One of Six:

Our first weekend of the Oahu Permaculture Design Course began here, in the amazingly beautiful Waiahole Valley.  If you have never heard of permaculture, check out anything by Bill Mollison or do a quick Google search. Then promptly find the closest design course, sign up, learn and become a converted Permie. It didn’t take much convincing for me really, one of the things I learned this weekend was that I’m already there. I may not have the skills and technical knowledge yet, but I realized that a good chunk of my life has been living many of the the Earth Care, People Care, Resource Share values.

Our group of about 20 will spend 6 weekends together in different areas of Oahu, experiencing and learning from the ahuapua’a system. I wrote about this system earlier here. What I’m most excited about, in addition to the fantastic learning that we are doing, are the relationships we will build and grow together. It’s hard to find people who are on the same page. Many friends whom I love and adore, have glazed eyes when I start jabbering on about food security and companion planting.  I seem to have found my peeps in Permies. 🙂


We spent time working a taro patch (lo’i) preparing for planting, a fair bit of time chasing goats back into their designated areas, and admiring the hard work of ducks fertilizing a fallow lo’i.

I took more than a dozen pages of detailed notes in a large unlined notebook. My brain was engaged in a way that it hasn’t been since grad school and I’m so thankful for our instructors. We are a lucky bunch! So many people have to travel far for a permaculture course, and ours is in our backyard.

The other obvious advantage to doing this type of course on working farms is the knowledge one gains about the rhythms of life.  I spend a lot of time outside, but in urban areas, all those places are managed places. I came face to face with more species and life in one weekend than in weeks in town! From bugs, to birds to crops, this place is teeming with life and I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience it.

There are many changes happening in our lives, which is the reason my little blog was put on the back-burner for many months. We are settling into our life as adoptive parents and I am perhaps most excited about being able to share my new knowledge with my children, and pass a very important set of skills to them.





A recently planted lo’i (taro, Kalo)


Cacao (chocolate) not yet ripe, on the tree


Taro (Kalo) in different stages of growth



Author: Carmen

Things I love: justice in all forms; flowers; locally grown food; cloth-diapering; breastfeeding; feminist theory; outdoor play; beaches; wine; Divine interventions; 4-H and coffee. Things I loathe: racism; homophobia; toxic crap; misogyny; litterbugs; the zombie apocalypse and pitbull-haters. My formal education is in sociology, gender studies, and public policy. I'm also a Lactation Educator; 4-H Youth Development coordinator a Certified Master Gardener and a graduate of a Permaculture Design Course. I've been blogging for several years on dozens of topics- everything from women's health to breed-specific legislation. But the thing I like to write about most is my gardening, food adventures and my kids. So there you have it. Please be kind. Thanks.

5 thoughts on “When a Gardener Goes Permie

  1. How exciting! I can’t wait to read your other posts. You adopted recently? Congratulations! Great to see you back.

  2. Thanks! Yes, we are adopting. She is 6 years old and has been with us since September. We also have a 3.5 year old son. 🙂 And 3 dogs, 6 chickens, and a partridge in a pear tree… LOL

  3. omg I had no idea cacao looked like that!

    • Pretty cool, huh? 🙂 When you scratch it and it’s a bit orange then it is ripe and ready to pick. Though I have learned that it can stay on the tree for awhile before spoiling, giving the farmers time to get enough ripe to ferment a batch.

  4. Pingback: Hugel-what? | The Green Box Garden


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