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'Potluck and Permaculture' in Woodstock

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - A recent potluck at Inner Southeast Portlands Woodstock Community Center brought together people interested in permaculture. Organizer Marisha Auerbach, standing in background) lives in Woodstock, and gives classes on the topic in Portland and Forest Grove. On a recent Sunday evening, twenty people who were interested in permaculture gathered at the Woodstock Community Center for a potluck dinner.

One might ask, “What is permaculture?”

Marisha Auerbach, a Woodstock resident who attended the potluck, told THE BEE that the permaculture concept emphasizes designing our homes, gardens, and lifestyles, in a way that utilizes all natural resources in the most efficient manner

Permaculture, she explained, is practiced world-wide in villages and farms, and has become a practice with increasing appeal in the United States to some urban gardeners and to those who want to preserve the resources upon which their homes and communities depend.

Marisha Auerbach and her partner Zane Ingersoll, who were organizers of the potluck, have a home at S.E. 50th and Raymond Street, where they practice permaculture principles in all areas of their lives. Their house features seven solar panels, a large water catchment tank that stores and utilizes rainwater and nourishes a rain garden, and energy-efficient heating and insulation.

In addition, they have adapted the layout of their home to maximize the advantages of sunlight, and to provide more natural heating. They also have a year-’round vegetable garden, and raise rabbits and chickens in order to increase their food self-sufficiency.

“Those of us interested in permaculture are taking ‘sustainability’ a step further into regenerative design; designing our gardens, homes, and lifestyles in a way that makes us good stewards of this planet,” remarked Auerbach. “One example is growing food without depleting the soil.”

Attendees of the potluck were happy to network with each other. “We [the Permaculture Guild] have a listserv, and people have talked online – and now, tonight, we have a chance to meet each other,” commented Jordan Fink, a Buckman resident who has attended Permaculture Guild get-togethers in the past. Those gatherings have been dormant for eight years, but on this Sunday evening the group expressed interest in resuming regular get-togethers for socializing and information exchange.

Auerbach teaches workshops and classes at People’s Food Coop, Portland Community College, and at Pacific University. Upcoming workshops include opportunities for gardeners to learn how to design their own food gardens. Topics covered in one of the workshops include indoor seed-starting, early plantings, perennial crops, soil building, and attracting pollinators.

To learn more about permaculture, and related classes, go online: www.permaculturerising.com. Questions can be addressed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..