Green Acres Permaculture Village is a small, retrofit, intergenerational intentional community in Bloomington, Indiana that integrates self-knowledge and expression with a shared culture among humans and the living Earth to encourage abundance on every level.

About GAPV

Green Acres Permaculture Village is a small, retrofit intergenerational intentional community carved from within an existing suburban neighborhood in a college town that offers itself as a template for transformation of suburban life. We seek to express our values from the inside out: beginning with the individual (know thyself) to the human and animal commons (communication, sharing and compassion), to our sacred communion with the living Earth, we encourage the expression of Nature’s abundance on every level: food for thought, food for people, food for planet.

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Join Our Community

Are you looking for community and interested in living more sustainably? Do you want to eat produce, wild edibles, and chicken eggs from right outside your door? Do you want a home with close-knit, supportive friends? Do you long for an environment that fosters your creativity and individuality?

Green Acres is looking for a new resident with an interest in permaculture and helping us to build a more self-sustaining ecovillage. While Green Acres has been established for several years, we are rounding the corner into a more intentional community.

Email us at greenacrespermaculture@gmail.com or talk to us at our community dinners!

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Community Dinners

Join us at Green Acres every Thursday evening at 7pm for dinner with friends and neighbors. The dinners are not potlucks, but giftings. However, you are welcome to bring food, drink or a donation, if that works for you. In any case, not necessary! Or maybe your guitar or banjo? In any case, come.

Plus, we have now introduced "offerings" after dinner on occasion. So far, these have included a Feldenkrais class, a talk about the astrology of Donald Trump and the U.S.A., a knife sharpening skills, and salsa dancing lessons.

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June 25th, big day, three events: first, the Earthen Workshop

About six months ago, my friend and fellow Transition Bloomington core group member Scott Routen accidentally ran over the cast-iron bench that I had cemented into the ground out by the street of my house. Here it is, back in 2009.

The bench is in the foreground, right next to the street.

(Looking at that photo I’m amazed at how fast things grow in Indiana (I come from Wyoming, a colder clime). The trunk of that tulip tree to the right of the bench is now, two years later, three times as thick.)

I placed the bench, surrounded by plantings, as a place of respite for those who walk by. At the time I put it in several neighbors looked on, saying that I was placing the bench in the wrong direction. And why did I have it by the street?

Over the years, I’ve only seen a few people actually sit on the bench. But even when they don’t, having the bench there communicates friendliness and adds interest to the streetscape. I was inspired to put the bench there by a talk in Bloomington given by one of the founders of the wonderfully inventive City Repair group, in Portland. Check it out! I viewed the bench as an experiment in community-building, and I swear, within even the first year, more people were walking my street.

About six months ago, after a Transition meeting at my house, Scott had gone out with a friend, having asked if he could leave his truck parked in front until he got back.

The next morning, when I went out to walk the dog, the bench was wrecked! Bent back and caved in.  Of course, my heart sank, thinking it vandalism of some kind. But my son Colin wondered about Scott’s truck, since it had been parked so near it. “That truck is so huge and loud,” Colin said, “that if he hit it he wouldn’t have known.”

So I called Scott. Sure enough, he had felt some kind of slight ping when he rolled out of there late that night, but so slight that he just thought it one of the weird noises his truck makes.

We agreed that come spring, he’d replace the bench.

By the way, the same man who thought I was crazy to place a bench facing the street got hopping mad when he looked out the window that morning and saw the smashed bench. It had become part of his streetscape, too.

About a month ago, Scott came over and said he wanted to do a workshop around the project of making the bench. An “Earthen workshop,” he called it, on the flyer he designed for it. Click on earthworkshop.

“Scott Routen invites you to explore Earth itself as a material for timeless building. The ground beneath our feet holds a building material so advanced, so sustainable, and so healthy, that modern people might not believe it could be dirt cheap. The gentle power and beauty of Earth rises from the holistic integration of its many positive qualities. We will explore these qualities in the hands-on construction of an earthen loveseat or ‘neighborhood repair’ miniproject. An afternoon screening of the film “First Earth” offers a sweeping overview of the movement towards a paradigm shift for shelter in locations around the world.”

“First Earth” film website: www.davidsheen.com/firstearth

Well, it didn’t turn out quite as we expected. We didn’t have time to screen the film, for one thing. Also, though a number of people had expressed interest in the workshop, most of them were otherwise engaged on this very busy first Saturday after the Summer Solstice when just about every consciousness and/or progressive group in town had some kind of an event planned.

Three women pre-registered. Only one of them, Gloria, who drove down from Indianapolis, actually appeared. And she was a trooper.

Scott, I found out later, had stayed up all night the night before constructing the form for the earthen bench, which he decided to design in the shape of a vesica pisces! Very beautiful. And it makes up for the statue of the goddess that I decided not to put on the stump of a dying tree that I had to cut down in my front yard (thinking it too tempting for college students not to steal it).

So, Scott (on no sleep), and Gloria (a little slip of a thing), started to work, at around 10 am, Saturday morning, and finally stopped at around 4 p.m, both exhausted. Here are three shots to give you the flavor of what they were up to. BTW: you can’t see it, but the bench sits on a cement and rock foundation that goes down two feet below ground.

I was surprised at how long it took to get only part way done. But Gloria told me that she was not surprised, since she had worked with a large group of women over many weekends to build some kind of a (more elaborate) earthen structure.

 

 

Scott says that a number of people stopped their vehicles as they drove by, asking about the bench. So the educational process continues.

Scott thinks one or two more days of his labor should do it. We’ll show you the bench when it’s done.

At the party that evening (the third event of the day), an old man came up to me and said he was glad the bench was going to be replaced, since he’s used to sitting on it when he walks by! (I’ve never seen him sitting there.)

June 25th, big day, three events: second event, the Children’s Workshop

Unlike the Earthen Workshop, the Children’s Workshop was planned in advance as one of the six workshops for this year’s GANG growing season. A wonderful young Indiana University student, Stephanie Partridge, had dreamed it up, with this title and description:

Children’s Workshop: Inviting the Little People into the Garden

Saturday, June 25, 2-4 p.m.

“Led by Stephanie Partridge and Emily Ginzberg. Tribes all over the world have stories of little people (elves, leprechauns, fairies, spirits, sprites, gnomes, borrowers) and many times they are associated with gardens. Some believe they are peaceful keepers of the plants and help them grow and flourish. Others believe they are tricksters and you must pay homage to them or else they will play with your plants. I believe the little garden spirits, in whatever manifestation, are good in nature and are here to help and have fun. Who better to help invite them to play than children? (We will talk about the fairies, and hand out supplies to paint rocks, bowls, shards. After done we will encourage them to make altars with twigs, leaves, etc.”

Here’s the flyer: Children’s Workshop.

Unfortunately, fellow student and co-teacher Emily Ginzburg, had double-scheduled herself, and ended up out of town. However, Stephanie was fine on her own, and having heard part of her story afterwards, I can see why. She told me she grew up in the woods of Indiana with no children around, just she and her Mom. And that the animals and plants, and fairies were her companions.

Like the Earthen Workshop, this one didn’t go quite as expected either. Rather than making altars, the five children who participated spent all their time painting the pottery shards that Stephanie provided —

Cora, daughter of Melissa and Chris Clark. Melissa is the SPEA professor whose undergraduate class in sustainability partners with the GANG garden to design and build projects.

with great focus and concentration —

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and blowing bubbles.

This is Maya Baird, daughter of Rhonda and Corbin Baird. Rhonda is one of our permaculture teachers in the GANG garden.

Stephanie encouraged this shy one, sat him on her lap to get started . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were also quite a few parents and other adults hovering nearby, and some little ones, including year-old Max, here with my dog, Emma, about to lick his toes.

Max, an unusally friendly child, even climbed on my lap (I’m not usually perceived as cuddly.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlotte, from the other end of the hood, joined us for a little while, hung out with Cora’s dad Chris.


A few of the kids had to leave before all the chards were painted. So it was up to Cora and Maya to place them around the garden. The fish art, said Maya, belongs on the edge of the pond . . .

A few others here and there . . .

Cora's shard is on the little table; Maya's at bottom right, leaning into the pear tree. Anothe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Stephanie and the children, the GANG garden has begun to sparkle with fairy dust! Thanks to all!

Summer Solstice Events: Save June 25th for the GANG

June 25th, Mark that Date!

We’re going overboard at the GANG garden on June 25th — hosting three events, and all on the Saturday closest to the Summer Solstice. First, two workshops, one all day, the other for two hours in the afternoon.

Earth Building Workshop: 9-5, with architect Scott Routen. We will build an earthen bench and learn techniques of building with earthen materials. Click on this link for the flyer, and further details:

earthworkshop

Children’s Workshop: Inviting the Little People into the Garden: 2-4 p.m., with IU students Stephanie Partridge and Emily Ginzberg. We will introduce the children to fairies and elves, and encourage the fairies to come into the garden by gathering little sticks, stones, and leaves, painting them, and make little altars. Again, click on this link for the flyer, and further details:

Children’s Workshop

Then, in the evening, we will gather folks from the neighborhood and their friends for our second Summer Solstice Celebration. The first one was a few years ago, held at the end of East 7th Street, formerly an empty lot, and now filled with bulldozers for the Bypass. . . This year, we will hold the event in the GANG garden.

Summer Solstice Celebration: Cob Oven Pizza Party — with Music: 6-9 p.m. Neighbor Jelene Campbell and David of the David Gohn Band will play for 45 minutes. We welcome other musicians — and children! Come join your neighbors and friends for a fun time.  Again, click on flyer for details.

Garden Party

Hope to see you in the GANG garden for at least one of these events!

For the workshops: it helps us plan in advance if you pre-register; also, donations for the teachers are appreciated. Bring lunch, if you are participating in the all-day Earthwork workshop.

For the Solstice Celebration and pizza party: bring your lawn chair, one ingredient for the pizza, and your beverage. And a musical instrument, if you wish to play. And children, if you have them! We will supply pizza dough, sauce and cheese. The GANG will supply the wonderful cob oven, thanks to Nathan, Colin, and Melissa’s SPEA class!

Questions, call Ann at 334-1987 or email arkcrone@gmail.com.

See you soon!

2011 Workshop #2: Plant the Garden!

From this photo, it appears that I was the only one who attended this workshop. Had that been the case, I wouldn’t have been surprised. In fact, I was prepared to work with just me and the two co-teachers, Rhonda and Stephanie, and maybe two more, who had called early to say they thought they were coming. It had been raining for what? Eight days straight? And rained again on Sunday, But Saturday, April 30, and the date of our scheduled workshop, was the one day when it did not rain!

The two women who pre-registered are friends, both named Betty, and both wanting to learn how to lasagna garden in order to create community gardens where they live, one in Stinesville, and the other in Indianapolis, on very little money. They are both strongly motivated to do these gardens, but need an influx of people who have both energy and know-how to see them through to completion. Hopefully, others will join their efforts.

Meanwhile, at the GANG garden, we too, face continuous uncertainty as to who and how many people will actually show up, both for workshops, and in general. Who actually has energy for this garden? Even those who live in the neighborhood, in fact, especially those who live in the neighborhood, either don’t make it a personal priority, or if they do, leave town! As the founder and organizer, I am continually coming to terms with the fundamental fact that this is a college town, where people are continuously coming and going. As we say in permaculture, there’s lots of “flow.” How to utilize the flow of people is a continuous question, inspiring different ad hoc strategies over time.

And yet, and yet! As if divinely choreographed, about ten minutes before the workshop was due to begin, a car pulled up in front of the house and a young woman got out of it, looking very uncertain. I went to the door and asked her if I could help her. She asked me if I knew who to get in touch with if she wanted to work in the garden! So, of course I told her about the workshop and ushered her in to the kitchen where Stephanie, Rhonda, the two Bettys and Stephanie’s boyfriend Ben were sitting, and offered her some lunch.

Then, lo and behold, Aaron also arrived. So we had a good group after all.

We decided to sit in the living room for the first part of the four-hour afternoon. There, Rhonda outlined the plan for the day and Stephanie explained the design she had created for the GANG garden, which utilizes companion planting.

 Tomatoes, peppers, basil, oregano, for example in one garden row, with brussel sprouts, eggplant, radishes, tomato in another, and corn, squash, beans (the famous “three sisters” of Navaho land) in yet another. Plants can be companions because of size differences (to best utilize vertical and horizontal space), or differences in time it takes to grow to maturity, or because what one gives off another one needs, and so on.

Then we went outside. Since the Bettys both wanted to learn how to do lasagna beds we did that first, going out into my back yard where we focused on rejuvenating a bed that had become overgrown with unwanted plants. Spying a pile of brush in a corner of the yard, Rhonda told us to first spread that evenly on top of the horseshoe-shaped bed. Then we layered entire sections of newspaper and flattened cardboard boaxes over the brush (this will kill what’s under it by depriving it of light). And over that, a third layer, of straw. I had leaves for that purpose also, but we used them to mulch a bed in the GANG garden itself.

Then, said Rhonda, to plant seeds, just dig a little hole in the straw down to the newspaper or cardboard layer, and put in a handful of soil on top of that, and the seed in it. Then cover the hole back up with straw. For seedlings, punch a hole in the newspaper or cardboard, put the soil down through that, the seedling nestled in it, and cover with straw. The point is,  seeds will open at about the rate the newspaper or cardbard rots. But for seedlings, you want them to get their roots down right away, so you punch a hole through that hard layer. We used this bed for broccoli and cauliflower. I used it for lettuce in former years, and lettuce did well. The bed doesn’t have full sun, so this is an experiment.

What's so damned funny? I have absolutely no memory of this moment . . .

Then we went into the GANG garden and got to work there.

seedlings, lined up by the pond

For beds that weren’t very thick, we decided to sheet mulch them again, first with cardboard/newspaper and, this time, leaf and leaf much, before planting seeds and seedlings. Mulch helps hold moisture, discourages pests, and turns into soil. Always, the key is to continue to build soil.

Aside: Aaron found more morels! Giant morels! Twice as many as we found during the mushroom workshop two weeks earlier! Once again, hiding in corners of my back yard near old oak and elm trees.

I told him he could have them, and he gave one to each person present.

One of the Bettys, with her morel

Here’s Stephanie, planting beet seedlings.

In honor of her work in the gardens of Bloomington (Stephanie is also an intern with Middle Way House), her mother made her a great apron out of old sweaters.

Of course, she’s afraid to get dirt on it!

All in all, a very good day, though there are still lots of seeds and seedlings left to plant, and some that did get planted look like they’ve drowned in the continuing rain. Over eleven inches in April. A record. Rain the first three days of May. More predicted tonight . . .

C’est la vie!