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11orono giy Grow it Yourself Ipad vgaAt the 8th Annual ESTIA EcoPeace Conference, Still Water Co-Director Joline Blais asked her audience how to get more kids involved in growing food, connecting to the earth, and otherwise participating in conversations about a sustainable future.

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11orono lgh Digital Humanities 11 illTo coincide with Digital Humanities Week 2011, Joline Blais joins permaculture experts Julia and Charles Yelton, social media hackademic Craig Dietrich, Rural Maine Partners’ Claudia Lowd, and members of the Wabanaki community in hosting “Social Media and Sustainability” at LongGreenHouse, a clearinghouse for sustainable culture on the edge of the U-Me campus.

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09orono spr lgh was Perma 16 illThe Still Water Permaculture Guild, located at 5 Chapel Road in Orono (LongGreenHouse), is inviting anyone who is interested to come to their “field days” this Friday (April 22) and next Wednesday (April 27), from 12 noon to 4pm. The Guild has been working to transform a normal residential yard into a perennial garden with edible fruit, vegetables, and herbs, using permaculture techniques.

If you would like to see a model of “edible landscaping,’ want to learn about permaculture gardening, or just want to get your hands in the soil, this a great opportunity.

Please send a e-mail to william [DOT] giordano [AT] umit [DOT] maine [DOT] edu, or just show up. For more information about the Stillwater Permaculture Guild, visit

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10agrigento Kolymbetra Garden 3 illThe permaculture philosophy of dynamic preservation turns out to have ancient roots in Sicily. Last December Joline Blais surveyed a Permaculture site near Caccamo founded by noted Australian sustainability gurus Julia and Charles Yelton, as well as a reconstructed citrus garden originally cultivated by the ancient Greeks of Agrigento.

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10castelbuono Donkey 16It almost seems like cheating for Italians to declare Castelbuono an ecovillage. In this medieval town in the mountains of northern Sicily, the houses are already made of heat-exchanging stone and residents already walk everywhere through winding cobblestone streets. A donkey picks up recyclables and food compost headed for local farmers.

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This fall, five UMaine students will practice sustainable living as part of their education  in a permaculture homestead at the south edge of campus .

Inheriting a greenhouse, coldframe, swaled garden beds, perennial gardens and the planting of food forest trees along a corridor into campus from former student projects onsite,these students will model green living as an education option.

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Bill Giordano hosted the Penobscot Valley Permaculture Meetup by giving a tour of the LongGreenHouse grounds.

Visitors feasted on Young Me’s cheesecake, potato salad made with our own duck eggs, sample a variety of greens in the polyculture bed, and strategized solutions for the persistent university stormwater run-off that flows into the north corner of the site.

We may be seeing the emergence of a permanent pond, with drainage to the street culverts.

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Planting treesLocal plant supplier Fedco has donated over fifty fruit trees and other plants to help with LongGreenHouse’s planting marathon this weekend.

More plantingOld and young permaculturalists, from both the Wassookeag home school and the university and Native communities, drew on this generous gift to populate the first catchment of food forest in the LongGreenHouse plot on the southern edge of the U-Me campus.

Thanks, Fedco!

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Green U-Me participants

Paul Schroeder

At LongGreenHouse’s Green U-Me event, sustainability experts re-designed UMaine’s campus to nourish the body as well as mind. Several dozen faculty and students from across the campus also participated in this green design charette, whose goal was to reimagine the University of Maine as an edible food forest.

Mark FulfordMaster gardener and orchard expert Mark Fulford, who spoke eloquently to the plight of Maine’s farmers who try to grow organic but have to compete with Big Farming. Fulford opined that growers used to think farming was all about chemistry, whereas now people are realizing biology is the more important factor.

Andrea ReedNew Forest Institute founder Andrea Reed spoke to the role art can play in designing sustainable gardens and communities, while Intermedia grad students and UMaine Permaculture founders Bill Giordano and Julian Epps described the range of sustainability programs under way at LongGreenHouse.

Green U-Me participantsAfter the introductory presentations, Green U-Me participants broke into workshop groups based on issues of green building, water, community, and food forests. This design charette focused on the bioregion at the southern edge of campus, near LongGreenHouse, York Village, and the Eastern Athletic Fields.

Bill Giordano and Keith ZalzbergThe intense brainstorming sessions uncovered numerous common themes among the research of workshop participants, including faculty and students from soil science, cooperative extension, engineering, and new media.

Bill GiordanoPaul Schroeder of Common Coordinates described his organization’s grass-roots approach to getting local governments to pay attention to ecological issues.

LongGreenHouse staffers Joline Blais, Bill Giordano, and Julian Epps are documenting and collating the designs produced for revitalizing U-Me’s southern edge for future reference.

Green U-Me participantsIn the meantime, for more information on LongGreenHouse and permaculture at U-Me, please contact Joline Blais via LongGreenHouse.

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 Still Water’s living-learning center on Chapel Street, LongGreenHouse, has been exploring the intersection between Native culture and Permaculture with students from many walks of life. In July thirty students from the university’s Upward Bound program attended Joline Blais’ workshops on greenhouses and plant guilds.

Longgreenhouse Logo pinMeanwhile kids from LongGreenHouse’s Wassookeag school have been busy too: in April they made dreamcatchers with Penobscot elder Charlene Francis; in July they visited the Black Bear Food Guild; in September they built a geodesic dome with Intermedia MFA student Bill Giordano. The BBFG’s July newsletter described the Wassookeag students as “intelligent, thoughtful, and incredibly enjoyable”; they “had a zeal for learning that was really amazing.”

More at

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