“Alice Greening and the East Palo Alto Permaculture Brigade” – New Myth # 36 by Willi Paul, Newmythologist.com

I feel the rumblin’ in her ground. I feel the rumblin’.

I feel the rumblin’ in her ground. I feel the rumblin’.

When Will I learn how to listen? When will I learn how to feel?
When will I learn how to give back? When will I learn how to heal?

I can feel the weather changing.

I can see it all around. Can’t you feel that new wind blowing?
Don’t you recognize that sound that sound?

And the earth is slowly spinning, spinning slowly, slowly changing.
When will I learn how to heal?

Neil Young, Rumblin’ – Le Noise

* * * * * * *

Portland_109After the East Palo Alto City Council approved the kids’ application to create a permaculture crown in the weedy corner lot at Samson Street and Victory Avenue, owner old man Jones came down to the meet the kid’s with his “fresh vegetables are coming” smile and a bolt cutter.

“You guys really made a great garden plan for the lot. I think you will discover many treasures on your journey. Ummm, sorry again for the weeds and rust ahead.”  I got the City to run a water line for you.

Alice: “We will test the soil to see what nutrients we need to add and then compost the tall grasses. Zippo’s Market is donating compost from their deli.”

The East Palo Alto Permaculture Brigade was spawned from Girl Scout Troop 911 activists and a few venturous Boy Scouts and Occupiers!  The only requirement to join the green rebels is to swear to uphold the principles and ethics of Permaculture.

The group cut two access points into the plot, at each far corner. They will bungee cord the ragged fences back to closed each evening until gates can be created. The six foot chain link fence is a great perimeter edge and a security arm to keep the right traffic in and out.

121127101156-irc-garden-giving-tuesday-story-topThe Brigade’s advisor, Mz. Amanda Bay, rented several scythes to take down the thick weeds to a 4“ stubble so the kids could turn over the soil and plant food crops.

They discovered an old brick and wooden shack on the third day of site prep and held a meeting in it to discuss its renovation and possible re-uses. The place is standing on spirit …!

A School?” Too small!

Seed propagator?” Needs shelving.

Tool storage?” Maybe!

A club house for the Brigade?” Big Enough?

“Wait and see what the land and the City Council say to you?”, Coos Amanda.

1150810521302_successThe permies soon discover that their lot slopes gently into the middle of the space where a 6’ Meyers Lemon is bearing fruit. The tree was not visible from the street nor the ariel photos from the City Planning Department.

Alice: “Wow. Massive PR and a funding idea, guys!”

Four days later the kids were juiced, selling their sweet lemons in 6 packs and lemon aid on the weekend in support of the project. And they made the Transition Palo Alto web site!

Henry and Buck also launched a new ritual for the team, singing fresh harvest songs and dancing around the tree under each full moon. It’s a green rumblin’ thing.

Basic to the Permaculture science are the creation of compost strategies and paths and edges.

Alice: “This lot is a new soil-transport system. An integrated set of sun-driven parts.”

But no one actually knew what she was talking about….

The new garden just seems to work sacred-like for the Brigade, as the team is just as much a seed to its growth as the tiny vegetable pods they lovingly place 4” deep in rows around their magic Lemon tree. 

alice sm