I spent last weekend at the Lammas eco village for the Welsh Permaculture gathering (Paramaethu Cymru). When it comes to permaculture I am not that knowledgeable. Ryan, my partner, works for the Permaculture Association and invited me along to the gathering so that I could get involved in the workshops.
Now when I mention permaculture I usually get one of two responses; “oh yeah, I know about that, I did a course back in…” or “what is that?”
I find it really hard to explain as there are so many different elements to it and again, I am no expert! So, good old wikipedia says “Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered on simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.”
So, this weekend lots of people came together to share ideas, network and talk lots about permaculture. I was a bit out of my depth really because everybody was really knowledgeable about the permaculture principles and had various projects on the go.
The event was hosted by Lammas eco village in Pembrokeshire. The village has 17 adults and their children living in a sustainable, low impact way. Each resident has a smallholding of several acres and there is a central building called the hub. We had use of the hub and the adjacent fire pit, campsite and car park for the event.
The hub was built using funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It consists of a timber frame structure, straw bale and lime rendered walls, and a turf roof. The entire building is off-grid and run on renewable energy. Sustainable and beautiful. I couldn’t help taking lots of photographs of it, both inside and out!
We arrived quite late on Friday evening due to work commitments in the day but there were smiling faces waiting to greet us. There were lots of people still stood around the fire too but I just wanted to get the tent up and sleep.
Saturday was jam-packed with tours, talks and workshops. Ryan put me in charge of taking lots of photos, capturing everyone working together. Firstly we had an introduction and a tour around Lammas before getting into the permaculture talks.
After lunch I went to a workshop about building using natural resources. I thought it would be really useful to get ideas for future Forest School structures and outdoor classrooms. Later in the afternoon I joined Jasmine (one of the Lammas residents) on her plot to learn more about medicinal herbs and tinctures. We were allowed to roam her extensive garden and greenhouses in search of herbs. Back at the table we all shared our finds and used books to find their uses. Then we created tinctures by submerging the herbs in vodka. Jasmine also said you can soak them in oil to create a skin salve.
Saturday night there was music around the fire but I was so tired from the day that I snuggled up in my tent to listen. Thankfully Sunday was a little bit more low-key and to be honest I spent more time relaxing than I did in the talks! However, it was a good opportunity for the Welsh participants to exchange ideas and feedback about the Welsh working group.
One thing I MUST talk about is the food. It is one of my favourite things about permaculture events. The catering is usually vegetarian and vegan to suit the majority of the participants and it is so delicious! As well as all of the yummy food there was also a huge selection of tea, including fresh mint, to keep us refreshed all day.
Saturday lunch time was a shared lunch, where everyone brought one thing with them to add to the table. There were salads, grains, breads, pies, chutneys, antipasti and so much more! After sampling a little bit of everything it was on to the puddings. Apple tart, marzipan cake, chocolate energy balls…. yummy!
Saturday evening we had the choice of curry and dhal with rice and naan bread to accompany. Again, totally delicious. We opted to start Sunday with a full vegetarian breakfast too and make the most of the great caterers Ragamuffin.
After a pretty wild weekend we decided to extend our journey home and take the smaller roads back rather than the M4. It was a really misty day so it was really magical driving through the Welsh valleys. We even caught a glimpse of the sea on our way towards Aberystwyth.
As we had the fancy camera with us we stopped to take a few photos. It was windy, rainy and cold but totally worth it for the view.
Discover more about permaculture.
Organise a shared lunch with your family and friends.
Create your own medicinal tinctures using plants from your garden.