“It’s not all about gardening. It’s about village alchemy. How do we identify who has needs or skills in our own neighborhoods and work together? Is some guy growing tomatoes and has too many while another guy down the street has an incredible recipe for pasta sauce?”
And as simply as that, the concept of permaculture is boiled down.
Bill Mollison, who is credited with helping develop permaculture as a systematic process in the 1970s defined it as “a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single project system.”
Rafael hosts a monthly discussion group called Liberation Permaculture at Sol Collective. The group started with a discussion he led on the permaculture lifestyle. So much community interest was generated that Rafael and Sol Collective decided to host the community meetings once a month.
In the last year the Liberation Permaculture group, along with Ubuntu Green, Soil Born Farms, and a long list of community sponsors, has built community gardens, gleaned unpicked fruit from downtown community homes, started a local NGO seed bank, and planted trees all over the city.
One shining example of their work is the community garden at Southside park located at 7th and V street. The community garden has already involved the youth at the neighboring Met Charter school. “The next generation is built right into the community garden at Southside,” said Aguilera. Students from The Met will be tending the garden as part of their environmental education and internships.
More than just gardening, Rafael Aguilera and everyone involved with Liberation Permaculture are working to plant the seed of community-centered sustainability in Sacramento. Liberation Permaculture meets every first Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Sol Collective, located at 2574 21st Street.