Putting Permaculture into Practice in the Edible Landscape Project

I am delighted to announce that Transition Albany has received a grant from Coming of Age: Bay Area to improve the Edible Landscape Project in Memorial Park primarily through increasing the knowledge and skill of our volunteer corps, especially those over 50 years old.  The main activity of the grant is an exciting team-based Permaculture learning lab series that we hope you will consider joining.

Registration deadline: January 25, 2014

WHAT:  Join the team of volunteers that is developing the community-based Edible Landscape Project in Albany’s Memorial Park.  Learn about and influence the life of a Permaculture demonstration food forest over a six-month span.

Participate in eight four-hour learning labs and show up for an additional four hours or more in the garden in between labs to conduct field studies, complete projects, and help with garden maintenance.


The first few learning labs will include, the following:

  • Teambuilding
  • Permaculture design principles and ethics overview and their application in gardening
  • Learning about the Edible Landscape through a focus on Observe and interact (One of the design principles)
  • What is healthy soil?  How do you build it on-site without bringing lots of amendments in? Includes a focus on the principle of Stacking functions.

Team members’ interests will drive the content of the remaining learning labs. We will select projects such as:

  • Designing a productive and sustainable food, herb, fiber, and people garden;
  • Efficient water use through capturing what’s available and conserving it as well as intelligent use of irrigation;
  • Long-term soil improvements through using discarded on-site tree branches (Hugelkultur bed): and
  • A deep analysis of why a food forest works, so that we can understand how to foster its development.


Based on the size of the team and the interest level we will focus on one or two of these subjects, using class time for lecture, sharing and exploration then implementing outside what we’ve learned.


Master Gardener and certified Permaculture Teacher, Delia Carroll, along with guest Permaculture teachers, will begin each learning lab with participatory instruction, discussion, and activities related to understanding Permaculture design principles; move to hands-on/minds-engaged projects based on those principles in the garden; then circle up for sharing experiences, observations and insights.

Activities will include getting your hands, knees, and probably your forehead and nose dirty.  Team members will listen, ask, discuss, write, read, observe, think, dig, prune, plant, water, mulch, harvest, construct…

The learning labs serve as both training opportunities for the team and a jumping off place for team members to contribute to the development of the food forest in ways that interest them.

Team members will learn or enhance their basic sustainable gardening skills plus receive a solid introduction to the Permaculture way of thinking.  They will experience the joy of working the land and harvesting the results with a group of people.  They will have the satisfaction of seeing the development of the food forest as a result of their efforts.

WHEN:  Based on volunteer availability, eight learning labs will be scheduled three weeks apart on either Tuesdays (9:00 AM to 1:00 PM) or Saturdays (11:00 AM to 3:00 PM) as follows:

Tuesdays: 1-28, 2-18, 3-11, 4-1, 4-22, 5-13, 6-3, 6-17 OR

Saturdays: 2-1, 2-22, 3-15, 4-5, 4-26, 5-17, 6-7, 6-21

Registration deadline: January 25, 2014

BACKGROUND: The Edible Landscape Project (ELP), a Friends of Albany Parks collaboration between the City of Albany and Transition Albany began about 1-1/2 years ago.  The City provides the land in its Memorial Park, the support of Urban Forester Tony Wolcott, irrigation, some fruit trees, and soil amendments.  Transition Albany does the work, and coordinates additional volunteers and plant donations from the community.

WHO:  We are seeking 15 volunteers at least 50 years oldYounger volunteers are also welcome.   This team of volunteers will learn more about Permaculture and food production in small-scale home and community gardens and apply their knowledge to further develop our fledgling food forest.

COST:  This series of learning labs is offered free to core team members (see below for explanation) who are 50 years old and over.  The cost of the eight sessions to those under 50 is $80.  Regular volunteers with the Edible Landscape are welcome to drop in to any session.  Drop-in is free to new volunteers over 50, and $15 per session for those under 50.

To be a core team member, you must attend at least seven of the eight learning labs and volunteer an additional four hours or more between learning labs.  You also need to sign up here as a volunteer on the Coming of Age: Bay Area website.

Qualifications: Some physical capacity and a willingness to engage in gardening tasks such as digging, bending, squatting, using gardening tools, maneuvering a wheelbarrow, etc. as well as a desire to work collaboratively. We will model the old saying, “many hands make light work.”

For many who are familiar with mainstream home gardening techniques, seeing the garden through the lens of Permaculture ethics and design principles – where the goal is to design a system in which the primary mode of maintenance is harvesting and the act of harvesting becomes the way the garden is perpetuated – offers a new experience which requires an open mind and a willingness to explore new ways of relating to our environment.

Registration deadline: January 25, 2014

To register, or for more information, contact Alexa Hauser, Volunteer Coordinator for the Friends of Albany Parks Memorial Park Garden Projects.  Please let Alexa know whether you can participate if it is scheduled on Tuesdays, Saturdays, or both.

Email: alexahhh@sonic.net

Phone: 510.524.6950


Posted in Community Building, Edible Landscape Project, Food and Agriculture, Local Activities, Resources, Uncategorized on December 19, 2013
4 comments on “Putting Permaculture into Practice in the Edible Landscape Project
  1. Nancy Litton says:

    Dear Alexa,
    Is this how I apply for the Permaculture class to be taught by Delia Carroll?
    I’m available either Tuesdays or Saturdays, with a preference for Saturdays.
    Thanks so much for what looks like a wonderful opportunity to learn and to get to know fellow gardeners.
    Nancy Litton

  2. Alexa says:

    It’s great to have you on the team. To register, please send me an email with the following information…
    Email address (I know I’ll have it if you email me.)
    City of residence
    Age category: less than 50 or 50 years old or older
    Note: If you are over 50 you will be part of the project that is supported by the grant, so you will also have to register as a volunteer with Coming of Age: Bay Area the granting organization. You can do that here.

  3. Hi Alexa,

    I hesitated to register because I really want to concentrate on the Ashby Garden this year in my own neighborhood, but I would love to drop into some of the Saturday sessions, now that I am no longer teaching on Saturdays.

    I can not generally come on Tuesdays, and can’t commit to all Saturdays, but would like to stay involved with the garden, and our community garden is available for field trips.


  4. Alexa Hauser says:

    Drops ins are always welcome. Sessions start at Albany Senior Center at 11:00 AM sharp, we walk to the Edible Landscape for applying what we have learned, and walk back to end at the Senior Center by 3:00 PM.

    The Senior Center is located at 846 Masonic Avenue, near the corner of Solano west of the BART tracks.

    Information about session topics will be posted, as available.