Rolling a tread between People and Permaculture


(Noun) The Hood: (Definition) a Neighborhood Without Neighbors

By Jasmine Wilborne

I want to live in an actual neighborhood. It sounds really cheesy to say this, but I want to be able to wave to the people who walk on the street and know them by name. I want to be invited to my neighbor’s holiday party. I want to know the intimate details of what is going on in each other’s households. I want to answer the door to a neighbor in tears and be able to guide her to our family room to talk it out. I want to know the people on my block and I want to know that they know me. Simply, I want to be connected to the people on the small block I live on.

But that world is only a dream for me-for now.

The beauty of the eco-village movement- and mind you all that I know about the eco-village movement is from little articles here and there that I have independently read and from Seth’s own personal experience at Sirius in MA- is that it reconnects people to each other and to the land. Currently, there are so many factors that have severed the human from really feeling connected to the earth that an exhaustive list would be impossible to make. Eco-village’s are created by individuals of shared minds who are hungry to re-establish wholesome agriculture and wholesome community. This is what I find beautiful.

But I do not believe that the eco-village movement is the answer to the serious problems which are damaging and growing in our society like: gentrification in cities, fossil fuel usage, the era of the dispensable human (everyone is replaceable in a capitalistic society) and the polarization between people to, name a few.

Instead, I think the eco-village movement seeks to provide an experimental vision of what could be. Well duh, that is because they are experimental! Haha.

I’ve been grappling with the following questions:

1. I define community as people who are bound to one another by geographical location–specifically where they live- and who depend on each other for survival, support and the meeting of basic needs. In a society where basic needs are met outside of one’s immediate home, how can community be re-established?

2. There are huge disparities between neighborhoods. For instance, in one city  one neighborhood can be wealthy and another can be poor. If my definition of community in Question 1 was to be actualized in poor communities, what barriers will present themselves as the new found community were to grow as one seeing that they often cannot meet their basic needs without government assistance? Will wealthier communities have an easier time creating community defined in Question 1, or will they have a harder time seeing that they do not need to depend on one another to meet their needs?

3.Is it bad to “allow” homogeneous communities? I ask this because I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with homogeneous communities as long as they are open to others. BUT I think the problem with homogeneous communities is that xenophobia ARISES from them! Haha. So I guess have a dilemma. I want people to be with the people they want to be with, while also inviting them to be open to others. I’m thinking like a cell. A cell’s walls are semi-permeable— so maybe the communities can be to!

These are just my thoughts on neighborhoods.

Have a fancy week!





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Post-Holiday Reflection: How Wreath Making Made Me Stop Hating Botany

By Jasmine Wilborne

This is the story about how I used to hate botany:

Early November, after coming back from Vancouver B.C, I went for a hike after I had been a good living-at-home-after-graduating- a year and a half ago-daughter and did my chores.

I went for a simple hike around Lake Wintergreen in Hamden, CT .

This is a very small lake, maybe a mile all around. But very beautiful.

This is a very small lake, maybe a mile all around. But very beautiful.

Here is a trail. It ain't the Appalachian trail...but hey it's in my backyard.

Here is a trail. It ain’t the Appalachian trail…but hey it’s in my backyard.

I’m the type of person who likes to feel solidarity with others when we are doing something that is “outside the norm”, like cycling in the dead of winter or being one of two black chicks at a cool convention or idk something stupid like that.

So I smile, or nod or say “hello” to people. Usually receiving no answer or a blank stare, but whatever it’s New England. There were so many people enjoying the day, but so many people just kinda side-eyed me or ignored me all together that I started to feel downtrodden. So I made the big bad decision tooo….WALK OFF TRAIL.

I know scary.

Ahhh….so great to be drinking in, truly Nature’s glory. And then I started picking up pine cones. And then broken off branches of evergreen. And then branches of pine needles. And then before I knew it I was collecting the base for my wreaths!

Here they are:

Can you tell that I took this image with my shitty flip phone?

Can you tell that I took this image with my shitty flip phone?

The earth gave me enough for this interesting thing….the honeycomb makes an appearance.

My sister swears this is demonic. Kinda pisses me off. She's just mad.

My sister swears this is demonic. Kinda pisses me off. She’s just mad.

Let me tell you that that experience, crawling on the grown searching for pine cones and acorns and to my surprise and empty hornets nest, was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had thus far.

I am so NERVOUS to say spiritual because I have a very hard time reconciling the idea of spirituality after rejecting religiosity.

But it was spiritual. I felt bound to the earth. I felt like a child looking in awe at her mother knit or cook or laugh in the wind. I felt one with the earth. But even more like a true supplicant. Like the earth provided and I received.

At that moment, I knew that I could never live in a blind, unseeing way towards the nature around me. I knew that I would want to learn the names of the moss, the differences between trees and other creeping green things.

But you ask, isn’t that what permaculture is about?

And I answer, well yes. But it never became real to me until I was crawling around on the forest floor looking for natural gifts.

So yeah, unintentionally, wreath-making made me stop hating botany. Because I thought botany was stupid. Botany was about things that were not connected to me. Botany wasn’t about me. Boy was I wrong, botany is as much about me as it is about knowing the beautiful earth.

So yeah, I’m right now in the : I want to do it stage, but with the cold winter shooing me inside—-I find reading about wanting to do it better.

Also, Seth and I are about to leave soon. Ugh that’s an excuse because knowing at least a bit about what is going on locally is important!

The inner turmoil resumes—-

Thank you loveys!



My Youngest Sister is Causing Chaos, Pain and Anger: So I’m Turning to Spiritual Practices to Learn How to Turn Lemons Into Lemonade

By Jasmine Wilborne

I don’t want to go into much detail, nor do I feel it necessary to write any disclaimers.

What is happening in my life isn’t original. It isn’t unheard of. I’m not the first one to experience the pain, anger and confusion of having a family member reject their family in favor for friends, older men and drugs.

I’m not the first sister to consider a life without talking to their youngest sister.

I’m not the first person who has experienced family chaos.

However, this is the first time I’ve ever felt the pain, disorder and confusion of “out there” “in here”- in my heart, in my home, in my family.

I’m no longer religious. I don’t have religion or God to tie me down, to vent to. I don’t have prayer. I don’t have rituals.

But I want peace.

I want to cultivate spiritual and emotional power over the only thing I can control: myself.

I am seeking the wisdom of the earth and the body and the mind together as one.

Therefore, I have decided to take the first step of many steps towards spiritual enlightenment, meditation and yoga discipline.

I am starting now, in the midst of chaos. Where I know the last answer is the easier one: to disown my youngest sister. To severe her from my mind. To wish ill will on her. To regard her has scum.

There is another way, one that I am too emotionally and spiritually immature to truly consider.

But there is a way.

And I will grow to embrace and practice it.


How Mushroom Foraging Made Me Stop Getting All Creeped Out About The Idea that Earth Might Have a Brain

By Jasmine Wilborne

I wanna introduce you to my favorite Canadian: John Barry.

This here is Sir Barry-ha.

This here is Sir Barry-ha.

So there you can see me with the mushroom enthusiast who challenged me to think of the Earth as a living, vibing, conscious being. See prior to flying out to Vancouver in early November, I had never touched a mushroom, never paid attention to the mushrooms growing in my neighborhood and had no names for the ones I did see. Barry showed me through mushroom ID-ing that nature is something comprised of distinct individual organisms, who have names, have relationships and are worth paying attention to-even if you aren’t a botanist. Go figure!

I touched a mushroom for the first time with Barry. It played out like this.

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PermaCycle Update: Jasmine’s Version: Where Have We Been?

By Jasmine Wilborne (and I guess in some ways Seth, but mostly by me haha)

Hear ye! Hear ye! PermaCycle Update-e!

I want to reconcile the guilt (truthfully there is some shame smashed up in there as well!) that I have been feeling over the last few months. PermaCycle’s virtual presence has waned and nearly fizzled out. On the other hand, our physical mission and friendship has been proved, strengthened many times.

For instance, I had the utmost pleasure and pride to read Seth’s 65-paged self-elected Thesis. I wanna rave about my bestie right now. I HAD to do an thesis because I was an Honor’s College student at SCSU and it was a requirement. Mine sucked because I had no vision. I was an English major and resorted to do short stories, but there was no passion or direction. I didn’t let a soul read it.

But Seth on the other hand elected to do a thesis, as a non-member of the HoCo. He struggled to draw the research together, he set up meetings, he foraged ahead with no rubric, or structure and little support.

I told him weeks in advance that I would read it. So when he asked me to read it and edit it 10 days before the due date, I felt soooo honored! So I did and it was great 😀

I thought it would be helpful to address a few things about PermaCycle that have been going on. There are two fronts: the virtual world, this is what you see. It is culminated in blog posts and Facebook posts and comments on your awesome posts (if you are a blogger). And then there are others, the personal world.

I feel so often that personal wins and ideas don’t have to be expressed in the virtual world. But I also feel obligated—guilty—naturally (and unnaturally) attached to the “success” of this blog. With Seth’s help  I learned that that perspective is not helpful (bullshit to put it bluntly).

He said that 90 percent of this blog’s existence is for OUR sake. 10 percent of it is for the enjoyment of others. Well I had it completely backwards!

I felt like I had to filter what I needed/wanted to say. I felt like I had to say it in a specific way. Maybe as you are reading my posts, you are seeing the shift in my voice. Revealing how I felt to Seth really unleashed my blog voice.

So yeah. We are back in the swing of things and will have some new stuff for you….oh real soon 😀

Stay eco-groovey OR get on the bandwagon!

P.S NEPermHomes, I feel especially guilty for not answering your “spotlight blogger thing”. It will fade once we do it!

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I’ve Been Baking My Ass off this Winter!

By: Jasmine Wilborne

Last Christmas season (or advent for the Catholics out there) I was the ultimate scrooge. Christmas did not feel special to me. I felt like I was being swallowed by the grey monotony of working a non-essential spiritually numbing 9-5 for-profit job. Despite it being the first year I spent as an atheist, I did not feel liberated from the obligatory gift buying and generic “Happy Holidays” sayings. Christmas had no shimmer of seasonal magic.

This year is completely different. My inner Cheermister (Yes, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of my “must sees” for the season!) has been expressing itself physically and also spiritually.

For Thanksgiving I made my first-est ever APPLE TART! Yes, I am screaming. Seth would attest that being on the receiving end of my excitement is overwhelming and sometimes tiresome itself.  Every aspect of this tart is handmade! It took 4 hours. I got the recipe from a magazine in a natural food store—-well kinda.

Yummy tart!

Yummy tart!

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