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Thursday, February 24,2011

Permaculture puts humans in nature's scale

By Charmaine Ortega Getz



Permaculture is one of the greenest buzzwords in sustainable living these days. It’s about land design, urban or rural, that mimics nature’s patterns of achieving environmental balance.


“In nature there’s a lot of collaboration,” says Sandy Cruz, founder of High Altitude Permaculture. “This is about fostering that teamwork with humans, creating an abundance that benefits all life in a habitat.”

Brian Scott had no agriculture background when he enrolled in Cruz’s permaculture course in 2008.

63rd Street Farm Today, he and his family live on the 63rd Street Farm, which grows more than 80 varieties of edible plants. The farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program feeds 80 Boulder County families.

“In permaculture, you don’t have to rely on chemical applications to control pests, predators and diseases,” he says.

You also don’t have to be a farmer to benefit. My favorite go-to person about worm composting, software engineer Dan Moore, says his permaculture education has taught him to observe and figure things out, rather than just plunge into a project right away.

“I’d say that has affected my professional life, besides help me come up with a design for my house,” Moore says.

Cruz, until recently, lived in Ward, where she has maintained a demonstration site since the early 1990s. She now commutes from Salida to teach permaculture in Boulder.

High Altitude Permaculture is offering an introductory workshop at the 63rd Street Farm on Wednesday, March 2. More information is available at, and more permaculture resources can be found at Transition Colorado’s website,

Van Jones to speak

In other local eco-news, Van Jones, author of The Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, will be the special guest speaker at PLAN-Boulder County’s annual dinner at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, at the Hotel Boulderado.

The price is $50. Information and reservations are available at

Waste-to-energy plant?

Could a waste-to-energy plant be in Boulder’s future?

That’s what city staff are researching now, according to Boulder City Council Member Matt Appelbaum.

“I saw one during a trip to Sweden last year and thought it might be something Boulder could consider for future energy needs,” he says. “There are about 86 wasteto-energy plants now in the U.S.

“I raised it as an idea during a council meeting, and we decided to get staff to look into it,” he continues. “It’s in an extremely preliminary, explorative stage. I don’t expect we’ll hear a report back on it for months.”

In the meantime, check out the technology at Alternative Energy News:

Know of something going on of environmental/sustainable/organic interest? E-mail us at

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