The Big Green Gathering

The Big Green Gathering 2nd-6th August. This will always be a special event. Set in amongst the land of Cheddar the landscape is beautiful. The transformation of a reasonably large flat area is even more so. But I believe the permaculture field is one of the best locations. Nestled away in one corner of it was the yurt, amongst others, the banner of South London Permaculture perched atop. It read Re-LEAF, and stands for Learning, Entertainment, Art and Food. Our position next to the kitchen marquee was to our advantage. I neednít be there all the time and with the help of a few parents could get them making their own entertainment. This was our first real run up to permaculture education for kids, with the subsequent convergence and then the possibility of a summer camp next year developing a whole range of activities. We had a couple of older kids with us at first, but as the festival wore on so they relished the freedom of the large fields and the mass of extra activities put on by other environmentalists. In fact, they were scheduled in as separate escapades. One of these included the gorge, a section of land with a deep cleft in it, immersed in trees and large exposed rocks. Kids love to climb and explore unique environments and so on a couple of occasions we took them here via horse and cart, to do nature games. We tried some mosaic, and ended up with something incomplete; that will be another day. Face painting, clay sculpture, cabaret, ginger beer making, bread making, tee-shirt colouring, storytelling, this was definitely a forerunner of a new adventure. As such, there were times when I was stretched. Permaculture kids education will not be another family camp, or a wilderness gathering. It has to be more than that, incorporating the principles and ethics of permaculture so that the kids are aware of the environment issues of now and the future, and that they know that permaculture is the answer. We would have to start small. The project would also be self-financing, reminding us that permaculture is entering the mainstream. What I anticipate is the beginning of a school of education, not unlike home school education. It can work, even with the relatively small number of permaculture kids we have. It will require bringing in already established kid educators and ensuring that they understand permaculture themselves, and if not training them up as well.