Permaculture & Haiti Topics Of Sustainable Burien Meeting Feb. 14th

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Teacher Marisha Auerbach will be speaking about Permaculture and her upcoming relief work in Haiti at the next Sustainable Burien meeting at 2pm on Sunday, Feb. 14th at the Burien Library.

Auerbach will introduce visitors to Permaculture, which offers simple strategies to reduce your expenses, save energy, and enrich your life locally through connection with natural principles. Nature provides a grand blueprint of how interconnected systems work together efficiently. We will look at the systems that we use in our lives and how they are affected by fluctuations globally. We will identify solutions that can be applied on the small scale to enrich our lives.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Sustainable Burien’s monthly meeting will feature Marisha Auerbach, who will speak about Permaculture, as well as her upcoming work in Haiti.

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 14th from 2pm to 4pm; doors open at 1:30pm.

WHERE: Multipurpose room of the Burien Library, located at 400 SW 152nd.

INFO: From a press release:


Practical Permaculture Solutions:  Techniques to Save Money, Energy, and Time in a Changing World

Permaculture teacher Marisha Auerbach will introduce us to Permaculture.  Permaculture offers simple strategies to reduce your expenses, save energy, and enrich your life locally through connection with natural principles.  Nature provides a grand blueprint of how interconnected systems work together efficiently.  We will look at the systems that we use in our lives and how they are affected by fluctuations globally.  We will identify solutions that can be applied on the small scale to enrich our lives.

Marisha been practicing, studying, and teaching permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for the past decade.  As an itinerant permaculture designer, she calls the greater Olympia area home, notably Wild Thyme Farm, a 150 acre permaculture demonstration farm and FSC certified forest in the northern Willapa Hills.

Marisha Auerbach

Marisha encourages sustainable futures through her permaculture design work and consulting: polyculture gardening, seed saving, flower and gem essences, local economics, ethnobotany, herbalism, edible landscape design, organic gardening, creating perennial forage systems and building local community. Graduating from the Evergreen State College in 1998, Marisha focused on ethnobotany, ecological agriculture, and sustainability studies and continues to interact with students from the Evergreen State College by offering internships.

Our speaker will be going to Haiti February 22nd to help set up a permaculture project in Limbe (northern part of Haiti).  I’m sure Marisha will be sharing about that upcoming work as well at our meeting.  Besides the writing below, here’s a link:

Dear friends,

We are writing to you to request your assistance in an exciting new project that we will be involved with at the end of February. We are going to Haiti to learn and assist in the development of local food  networks.

We will be in the town of Limbe, in northern Haiti, west of Cape-Haitien.

Our friend, Rosedanie Cadet, is from Limbe and conceptualized this project, Helping Hands Noramise (link here), while she was visiting her family in December. The goal of the project is to assist the community in response to the following challenges:

  • Challenges in agriculture. Poor agricultural techniques have been depleting Haitian soils for centuries.
  • Many people have left the countryside in hopes of finding jobs in the cities
  • Malnutrition and inadaquate distribution of food
  • Deforestation and Ecosystem Destruction

She planned to launch this project next October, but after the earthquake, she has moved up the launch date. The earthquake poses huge additional challenges (and opportunities):

  • Survivors from Port-au-Prince, who are originally from Limbe, are returning to live with their families. Many are facing a questionable
    future with a depleted rural economy in Limbe.
  • Increased diaspora from Port-au-Prince, and the state of the economy of Haiti, puts increased demand on the need for local produce. The pressure on the upcoming growing season is felt both in Limbe and in greater Haiti.

The project is multi-tiered:

  • Work with the network of  the remaining farmers to share best practices and educate others interested in farming.  Previous to the earthquake, the community in Limbe was either over 40 or under 18 years of age.
  • Help set up a sustainable agriculture model on land owned by a church in Limbe, much like an extension service garden.
  • Collaborate with farmers to improve soils, prevent pests, strategize for nutritional content, and enhance yields.
  • Assist the community in building a food-processing facility which will create jobs and distribute preserved food (both in Limbe and greater Haiti).

Limbe is in a unique location, sheltered by two mountain ranges, and in a river valley. Its natural ecosystems are more intact than many other places in Haiti. Also, the soil is better than most areas of Haiti due to the microclimate of the region. It is a good location to learn from nature and experiment with techniques that can restore Haitian soils. This project will serve as a demonstration site for agriculture throughout Haiti.

As many of you are aware, permaculture offers strategies for stewardship of land and community.  There are techniques for maximizing organic matter (fertility) in the soil as fast as possible.  We highlight food plants that are high yielding and high in nutritional value.  Permaculture Design is dynamic as it is based in the natural ecologies of each unique place.

During our trip to Haiti, we will be learning about the unique cultural considerations for the community of Limbe.  We will aid the community of Limbe in assessing their needs and what resources they have locally for meeting those needs on site.  It is our goal to enrich their local environment through enhanced food security and jobs.

Since we will be there only two weeks, our (hopefully) achievable contribution during that time is to

  • Listen, watch and learn about the culture in Limbe, to figure out how best to make permaculture-oriented suggestions for this project.
  • Collaborate to set up a kitchen garden project at the church before the upcoming growing season
  • Generate a list of plants to target for the project in the future.  Begin to set up a nursery to make these plants available in the greater community

This project will be happening in segments with every group of volunteers that comes to help. We will be going Feb 22nd to Mar 7th. We humbly request contributions for our travel costs and for support of the project.

Additionally, non-cash donations which we will take and leave in Limbe are:

  • Sleeping bag and mat
  • Seeds
  • Solar camping shower
  • Tin snips (to build rocket stoves)
  • Books: creole/english dictionary
  • Tropical plant resources
  • Hip waders
  • Handtools (snips, grubbers, hori hori)
  • Boots/waterproof shoes

To make a donation for our travel expenses, you can send either of us money via Paypal (use our email address). You can also donate online here. Click on the link at the top which reads “Donate for sustainability for Limbe, in Northern Haiti.” Any money over our travel expenses that we receive will be put into the project. Should we quickly raise all funds for our travel costs, you can  donate directly to the project through the website here. This group is serving as the umbrella non-profit. Please mark your donation ‘To the Limbe Project’.

Thank you so much for any assistance that you can give.  We will update you on the project upon our return.  We intend to create a presentation to
share with our communities back home.

Marisha Auerbach and Kelda Miller

Please call Rebecca or Bill at 243-9366 if there are questions.

From their website:

Sustainable Burien is an organization started in January of 2008. We recognize the need to promote and participate in the creation of a sustainable community in Burien. We invite all residents and businesses to participate in creating a sustainable local community by sharing their ideas, passions, knowledge and talents.

At our meetings we will be collecting burned out CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs and dead rechargable batteries. People are welcome to bring any extra food items [produce from your garden, fruit from your trees, etc.] that they have and barter with others. Also bring any coupons for food that you get in the mail or from the newspaper, we’ll pass them on to the food bank, who can make good use of them.

Gatherings are held on the second Sunday of each month, – from 2:00 – 4:00PM at the (new) KCLS Burien Library (doors open at 1:30PM). For more information, go to:

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