Groundswell Network executive director Bill Swan (left) speaks with permaculture students visting Invermere on renewable energy on May 23. His lesson fell in line with a course being offered locally by international recognized permaculture experts

Permaculture students flock to Invermere

Roughly 30 students travelled from across Canada and the United States to participate in the 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate

Environmental sustainability and permaculture has steadily been growing in popularity.

Roughly 30 students travelled from across Canada and the United States of America to participate in the completion of the 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) between May 15 and May 28 with experts Rob and Michelle Avis from Verge Permaculture and Adaptive Habitat, hosted by the Groundswell Network Society in Invermere.

“Groundswell is really pleased to be collaborating with Verge Permaculture of Calgary,” said Groundswell Network executive director  Bill Swan. “The principals, Rob and Michelle, are western Canada’s leading practitioners. Their expertise is known worldwide and these courses generally are in high demand.”

The program offered up a healthy dose of theory and hands-on learning about energy-efficient gardening and water management systems.

“This is the first course we’ve had in Invermere and we sold out,” said Swan.

There was an option for PDC graduates to complete a practicum to learn about opening the doors to a consultancy business on May 29 and May 30. Swan anticipates the PDC course may be offered again in the future due to its popularity, noting there have been inquiries about education opportunities from destinations as far away as the Middle East.

The opportunity to learn about healthy lifestyles and a sustainable environment through a community effort — one of many initiatives that the Groundswell Network is pursuing through a collaborative approach to tap into the most up to date information available.

“Permaculture as a discipline is one of the fastest growing sustainability movements in the world,” said Swan. “There are so many core aspects (of permaculture) that are part of our community’s list of concerns and issues.”

Groundswell has been busy on other fronts too, and its annual plant sale ran at the community greenhouse between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on May 24.

In addition, the Groundswell Network is continually using the greenhouse to produce local food, run a composting program and educate the community about the importance of permaculture. Anybody who wants to can stop by the greenhouse and buy the vegetable and herbs grown there. Prices are by weight.

“It’s all organic. Right now, it’s primarily greens,” said Swan.

Groundswell has a sign board up on the road outside the greenhouse each day letting people know if the sale is on.

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