Sunday, August 3, 2008
Set way back beyond in the nether regions of West Marin, even beyond hidden Bolinas, is Regenerative Design Institute. What a fantastic place! I got lost and was a bit frantic, but once I parked and unlatched the wooden gate, I found a 17 acre site full of quiet and wonderful growing things. Overlooking the gorgeous field of vegetables are two cob-built (straw and clay) houses for workers, each with beautiful insets above the entry made from green glass wine bottles. Bees buzzed, taking in pollen from all the wild flowers and bringing it back to their hive sandwiched between two cookie sheets on an outdoor picnic table. The smell of honey was wonderful! While roaming the grounds, I fell in love with the beautiful purple blossoms of the artichokes. These plants were sprouting here and there, giving the gardens a sweet highlight of color.
I wound up by a little greenhouse where some luscious pink roses were drooping their pink blooms and the nasturtiums sprawled around a cow's skull. While I was painting, little red plums were falling around me like rain! A worker quietly gathered them as best she could in a bowl, saying they're falling faster than she can collect.
I loved the frumpiness of this place as well as the idea behind it all--
"(a) farm ... being transformed into a permaculture model of human beings living in harmony with the earth." Grey water use, classes involving kids and community, organic gardens featuring all kinds of vegetables and fruit--it was exciting to be there but also very relaxed and carefree, at least for the painter visiting for a day! It's a ways out there, but well worth the drive.
Post Photos and Article by Kate Peper
textile and surface design