I've been reading Starhawk's writing since being a teenager, and her work and voice have been hugely influential in my life and growth ...the course which combined both Earth Based Spirituality and Activism at its core, integrating fully with the standard PDC elements was fantastic....set in the wonderful Cazadero hills, just down the road from Starhawk's ranch, there were 40 plus students, mainly from North America, but such a diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds.....we worked from 9am until at least 10pm each day (one day off in the middle), a fantastic mix of theory and practical, and amazingly taught....it was at times really intense ...but so inspiring and insightful. ....I loved being immersed in the ebs and flows of the community we created there....and so much learnt....I personally experienced my understanding and empathy of issues about race and culture discrimination being taken to another level, especially in relation to connections with the land. Hearing the stories of other course students experiences was invaluable and humbling....It was also really good to gain knowledge and practical skills around extreme dryland farming/growing when so much of my time here in the Yorkshire Dales is spent managing too much water.
And then in the fews days before and week after the EAT course had finished Rachel and me explored San Francisco...what an amazing, vibrant, friendly city...we walked for miles, exploring the different diverse districts...soaking up the vibes, eating such gorgeous food, hanging out in the parks to read books in the sun ...oh and drinking some of the local alcoholic beverages (it would have been rude not to!)....we also paid a visit to Hayes Valley Farm Urban Permaculture site, which is a fantasitc community food growing and education project. We spent a rainy afternoon there helping to prune and mulch the 'perennial plant spiral' and learn more about how the project works from Jay and the many others who were there that day
The whole trip was an incredibley positive experiance and I know it will radically shape and enhance my Diploma work. I've learnt such a lot about permaculture on a global scale and also affirmed how fundamental spiritual and political aspects are in my developing design work and how I live my life in general........one huge thought I have returned back to England with, is a shocking reminder of how patriarchal white supremacy has caused so much harm and distress to our beautiful planet and all who live on her. .....and for this, I hang my head in shame......I only hope that my continued journey within the permaculture revolution will help towards the present and the future being times of equality, health and peace for all x