2010 Northwest Permaculture Convergence – Saturday & Sunday

More photos from Saturday and Sunday of the 2010 Northwest Permaculture Convergence.  Click here to check out my photos from Friday of the Northwest Permaculture Convergence.

Lawn Lunch Panorama - Click for the full-size panorama

Lawn Lunch Panorama - Click for the full-size image

Skeeter's Permaculture Dance Party

Skeeter gets the morning started with dancing - "Do you want to rise up in the morning, do you want to rise up in the day..."

Kees Kolff Singing

Before Skeeter can get things going full swing, however, Kees jumps in to correct the tricky part of the lyrics

Permaculture Dancing

Once the crowd gets the hang of it, the dancing begins!

Kristina Dancing

Kristina dances with the woman with dragon tattoos. OK, maybe not dragons, but close.

Charlotte and dance partner

Charlotte and dance partner

Permaculture Dancing Continues

The dancing continues for quite awhile, everyone was having a great time.

Dance Circles Form

Dance circles form, all the ladies seem to love dancing with Skeeter

Charlotte Anthony of Victory Gardens

Charlotte Anthony of Victory Gardens in Eugene, OR talks about E.M. (Effective Microorganisms) and Bokashi Compost (You can even compost meat!)

I want to talk about the Bokashi briefly.  A man in the audience who is a school teacher in British Columbia stood up to talk about Bokashi for a moment.  He uses it in a school setting as a method to compost all the leftover food the kids have at lunch.  Essentially you combine:

  • 1 liter of water (if you use tap water, use warm water and let it sit out in the open for a few hours to let the chlorine dissipate)
  • 2 tablespoons of Molasses
  • 2 tablespoons of a product called inactive E.M., which is a Japanese brand standing for Effective Microorganisms.

I think the mixture is allowed to sit for a period of time while the E.M. “activates,” and then you add a carbon source such as wheat bran.  At this point I think the mixture is now considered Bokashi, and it might need to sit awhile longer to spread throughout the bran.  After this process is completed, the Bokashi can be added to just about any organic matter, including meat and other substances you’d normally avoid adding to compost.  The Bokashi can be layered with whatever scraps you have lasagna style, and after approx. a month the mixture can be added to normal compost without any issues. Not only that, the process doesn’t produce any smell, even with the fish and meat and other animal products.

If you haven’t realized it yet, this has amazing potential for commercial and large-scale uses.  The ability to add grains and meat to compost without separating for fruits and vegetables is a huge step in making composting a widespread activity beyond the scale of single family homes.  As many of us know, the easiest way to get normal people to do “green things” is to make it as easy as possible and not inconvenience their life in any way.  When you combine it with research being done using microorganisms to break down plastic and similar substances, this is a huge step towards true sustainability and processing the huge amounts of waste we produce.  The next step is to reduce our waste, and convince food and container manufacturers to use 100% compostable packaging.

If you’re interested in working with Bokashi it’s a rather easy process according to everyone who has done it.  When set up on a larger scale like you would find at a school or office building, this is a fairly easy process to sustain and get people to go along with.  Here’s some more resources I’d recommend:

Paul Wheaton Tolerates Questions
Paul Wheaton tolerates questions from the audience, mostly so he can do his part to let  them know how utterly misinformed they are.  It’s a thankless job but someone has to do it.

Art Donnelly talks about Bio Char stoves
Art Donnelly does a BioChar stove demonstration during lunch

A pretty big crowd formed for Art's demonstration.
A pretty big crowd formed for Art’s demonstration.

An example of a wok being used on a BioChar stove for stir-fry veggies
An example of a wok being used on a BioChar stove for stir-fry veggies

The BioChar stove produces such intense heat in a stove of this size, that the veggies cooked very quickly.  Art said he has smaller scale stoves for smaller cooking and heating situations, but for a larger family that needs to boil water along with food this was a good size.
The BioChar stove produces such intense heat in a stove of this size, that the veggies cooked very quickly. Art said he has smaller scale stoves for smaller cooking and heating situations, but for a larger family that needs to boil water along with food this was a good size.

A closer view of the stove and where the fire is.  The bottom half of the unit with the ridged metal is where the fuel source is located.  The stove is air-controlled, rather than fuel-controlled, meaning the burn rate is influence by how much air you allow in, rather than how much fuel you put in.  I believe this is the primary reason the stoves are so efficient, in combination with the use of pelleted fuel sources in an ideal setting.  However, just about any normal fire fuel can be used, even pine needles, they just burn much quicker.
A closer view of the stove and where the fire is. The bottom half of the unit with the ridged metal is where the fuel source is located. The stove is air-controlled, rather than fuel-controlled, meaning the burn rate is influence by how much air you allow in, rather than how much fuel you put in. I believe this is the primary reason the stoves are so efficient, in combination with the use of pelleted fuel sources in an ideal setting. However, just about any normal fire fuel can be used, even pine needles, they just burn much quicker.

More information on SeaChar.org's mission - Click for the Larger Image
More information on SeaChar.org’s mission – Click for the Larger Image

Art's organization, Sea Char, focuses on spreading the word on BioChar and providing stoves to families in third world countries
Art’s organization, Sea Char, focuses on spreading the word on BioChar and providing stoves to families in third world countries.  They offer some great demonstrations and courses in the Seattle area if you’d like to build your own BioChar stove or learn more about the technology.

Paul Stamet's organization Fungi Perfecti had a booth with mushroom starters as well as an awesome catalogue
Paul Stamet’s organization Fungi Perfecti had a booth with mushroom starters as well as an awesome catalogue.  More info at FungiPerfecti.com – Check it out to learn how mushroom’s are saving the world – no joke.

To the delight of many Marisha's Seed Swap Bin makes an appearance.
To the delight of many Marisha’s Seed Swap Bin makes an appearance.

Purslane, also donated by Marisha.  This was the sweet crunchy thing in Sunday's lunch salad.
Purslane, also donated by Marisha. This was the sweet crunchy thing in Sunday’s lunch salad.  To me this variety tasted slightly citrusy, and has a texture similar to the inside of okra where it’s slightly milky, just not quite as much.

Some squash and other veggies
Some squash and other veggies

Beets!
Beets!

If the convergence was an Iron Chef episode, Soup was the theme...
If the convergence was an Iron Chef episode, “soup” was the theme…

Fresh Bread for Breakfast
Fresh Bread for Breakfast

Check out the convergence photos page for some videos linked in the comments, and the Cascadia section at Permies.  Thanks to all who attended for a great experience, looking forward to doing it all over again in Oregon next year.

Also, if anyone saw the Permaculture posters on the wall that were drawn by Kelda Miller, I have photos of all of those that I should be posting soon.  Check back here in the next week.

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