Over the past two weeks, Child Leader Project (CLP) youth and community members have gathered around maps and tables to finalize the design of the Arlanza Garden–but this isn’t an ordinary process, this is permaculture.
Led by local permaculture specialist, Daniel Francis, this garden will take a different “shape”– one that creates a “permanent culture” of secure, clean and sustainable communities.
Daniel, a Riverside native, is currently engaged in several permaculture projects across southern California as well as leading the development of an “Inland Empire Permaculture Guild.” In reflection of his motivations for facilitating this permaculture movement across Riverside, Daniel shared his favorite quote from Bill Mollison, the co-founder of Permaculture:
“There is one, and only one, solution and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to. We need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions and to know how to do it from hands-on experience.”
Together, youth first explored the way that people and “energy” would move across the garden, considering streets, cars, pedestrians, businesses, wind, rain, run-off, climate, winter and summer sun patterns. In our second week, youth leaders and community members understood zones in the garden and the ways that people will gather, move and garden in that space as a way to design the most effective patterns for the garden itself.
Intentional design of space has been a new experience for most of the garden leaders. Upon reflection of the design meetings, Maune, the Seasonal Chair of the Arlanza Garden Council noted the following:
“The most interesting thing about doing permaculture design has been learning about all of the dynamics involved in the development of a design. Prior to my involvement with the garden, I had never thought to consider energies such as prevailing wind, rain, proximity of surrounding structures, foot/car traffic, fire hazards, and slope of the land.”
Maune, a local non-profit worker for the Arlanza Health Clinic appreciates the linkages between health and community. “The development of this garden is extremely beneficial to the Arlanza community. The garden will allow for the exchange of healthy foods, knowledge, art, ideas and will create an environment where people can feel safe to gather and enjoy the beauty of Arlanza.”
A local Norte Vista High School youth leader, Eagle Scout and Arlanza community member, Nicky Erices, enjoyed the process of designing for mutual benefit most:
“The most interesting thing about permaculture design for the garden was that we needed to put each item we wanted in the garden to help every other thing prosper as well.”
The garden, however, isn’t just about design. Nicky also appreciates the connect of the garden to understanding Arlanza history and imagining a future of healthy food.
“This garden is important to Arlanza because today’s generation should learn the history of Arlanza a place where they live as well as how to grow their very own garden– which could help keep cost for food down and to actually know where your food comes from,” explains Nicky.
Nicky plans on doing his final Eagle Scout project in the garden this summer. His vision? A shade structure for the stage area.
The Arlanza Community Garden cultivates collaboration between a diverse group of people to create a healthy environment for gathering, growing food, and enjoying the beauty of the neighborhood.
Arlanza Garden Council meets every other Friday from 5pm-6pm at Bryant Community Center.
Visit the Arlanza Community Garden Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/arlanzacommunitygarden
Article reproduced from the Child Leader Project Blog: http://www.childleaderproject.org/arlanza-community-garden-design-begins-with-permaculture/
Daniel Francis can be reached at email@example.com.