Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sustainable Fairfax Announces Two Special Workshops in Natural Building and Permaculture planting

Sustainable Fairfax requested that I post this message regarding their upcoming workshops:

Sustainable Fairfax’s Backyard Class series is offering two weekends in October and November open to additional participants. The first weekend will be October 21-22 and will focus on natural building with cob. The second weekend, November 11-12, will teach participants about plants and irrigation. The cost is $100 per weekend or a discounted rate of $150 for both weekends. Cob is a very old method of building with earth and straw or other fibers. It is quite similar to adobe in that the basic mix of clay (which comes from soil dug from our pond) and sand is the same, but instead of creating uniform blocks to build with, cob is normally applied by hand in large gobs (or cobs) which can be tossed from one person to another during the building process. The traditional way of mixing the clay/sand/straw is with the bare feet, so we need lots of feet. Because of all the straw, cob can be slightly more insulating than adobe and would make a very comfortable house California climate. In this two-day class we will be making a bench that will become a permanent piece of art in our Sustainable Backyard. The wonderful thing about cob construction is that it can be a wildly freeform, sculptural affair, participants are encouraged to bring bits of tile, glass, ceramic and marbles to contribute to the bench. Cob was a common building material in England in the nineteenth century, and many of those buildings are still standing. The Permaculture planting class will discuss the best plants to use in our climate for native, habitat, medicinal, and a multilayered food forest, there will be hands on planting and installation of a drip irrigation system in the backyard.

Sustainable Fairfax began its Sustainable Backyard Class in early September at the future site of its Sustainability Center on Bolinas Road in Fairfax. Taught by Sentient Landscape designers Kamala Bennett and Geoff Hall, participants are learning different techniques that they can use in their own backyards. Classes include harvesting water, growing live soil, composting, mulching, creating habitat, wildlife diversity, integrated pest management, using recycled materials, and solar features in the garden.

Sustainable Fairfax began out of an inspiration to take local action on the global warming crisis in February 1999. Sustainable Fairfax is working on developing a plan for opening the Sustainability Center in the summer of 2007. The Sustainable Backyard space will be a demonstration site for sustainable practices for outside the home. It will also be used for Sustainable Fairfax events and meetings and be available for other local organizations to utilize.

For more information and to signup for the classes please contact, Pam Hartwell-Herrero at (415) 269-0621, .