Permaculture and prosperity

Published 1:39 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Recently I had the opportunity to attend some really fascinating workshops and presentations on permaculture right here in Lunenburg County. I describe permaculture as a responsible and regenerative method for living sustainably.

Thanks to Marianne Cicala of Crickets Cove Farm and Forge. I was very fortunate to have been able to spend time with and learn from Rico Zook, Koreen Brennan and Eugene Hudders.

Cicala along with the Lunenburg County Public Library facilitated a very interesting and informative presentation on Agriculture Around the World, presented by Zook and Brennan both internationally renowned instructors in the field of sustainable agriculture and living.

Three additional educational programs The art of permaculture, Water and earthworks and A walk in the wild were also provided at Crickets Cove Farm & Forge.

Each one provided an in-depth introduction into sustainable living through class work and in the field activities. Some specific topics covered were partnering with nature to create more abundance, how to be more self-sufficient and resilient, regenerative farm design, principles of water and land restoration.

In particular Brennan and Hudders “Walk in the wild” was a nature lover’s delight from start to finish. We learned the basics of identifying plant families, how to create guilds, how to partner plants in an edible landscape design (food forest) and the importance of fungi in the ecosystem.

Zook has been a designer, consultant and educator in the field of permaculture for the past 20 years. He has worked with private individuals, farmers, villages and local organizations all over the world. His work focuses on creating environmentally appropriate resilient and regenerative cultural communities. I was particularly impressed by his work with and personal feelings on the importance of preserving the traditional knowledge and technologies of indigenous cultures, while adapting their practices to become active members in a rapidly global commerce. I was certainly humbled by this man’s expertise in the field and his experience working in some very diverse lands including but not limited to New Mexico, India, Cambodia, Spain and the Middle East. But what I was struck with most was his apparent “love of people and the land” and their ability to endure the rapid changes occurring around the globe that are affecting both.

Brennan has more than 20 years of experience in permaculture also. Her work with challenging design projects has been successful in Los Angeles, Florida, Haiti and on the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation. She has also taught permaculture at several universities. I really enjoyed learning about “food forests” and how anyone can achieve creating one.

Hudders has over a decade of wild mushroom knowledge. He is certified to forage wild mushrooms and sell them in the states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. His company Foraged Kingdom is a USDA Certified Organic and Biodynamic mushroom company that offers wild and cultivated mushrooms right here in Lunenburg County.

The learning experience as a whole taught me much on many topics having to do with permaculture. But the most profound realization was that even a practice such a permaculture that may seem to be a large endeavor on many different levels, can be applied anywhere by anyone. Be the project large or small.

Dawn Conrad can be reached at or