Permaculture Guild Planning Permablitzes

Jackie Bonomo and the members of the new Centre region permaculture guild met last night and jumped right into brainstorming and scheduling events for the 2012 growing season.

The guild members will meet monthly to set up quarterly permaculture projects in and around State College. Their first event will be Restoring Old Apple Trees – Hands-on Pruning Workshop Sat., Feb.18, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Rain Date Sun. Feb. 19, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.)  at Orchard Park in State College. (Registration info here.)

At their March meeting, they’ll set priorities priorities for the rest of the year, choose a point person for each quarterly project, and schedule their April meeting. (They’re also working on choosing a name for their group.)

If you have a piece of earth you’d like to convert to permaculture through a permablitz, please contact Jackie ( 

What’s a permablitz?

An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of 2 – 20 people come together to:

  • Create or add to an edible garden where someone lives
  • Share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living
  • Build community network
  • Have fun!
Specific tasks before the permablitz:
  • Getting the word out about the event
  • Event logistics – gathering supplies, creating schedule
  • Setting up the team, headed by the permaculture designer, to visit the site, talk with the homeowner/host, walk the site, and take notes, measurements, soil samples and photos.
  • Site analysis by the permablitz team to create a rough design
  • Walking the homeowner through the preliminary design ideas

Once the team and the homeowner settle on a plan, the guild arranges a date for the volunteer crew to come build the garden. After the permablitz, they’ll get together to reflect on what happened – original goals, things that went right, things that went wrong, knowledge learned that can make future permablitzes better.

Permablitzes are a way to share and gain skills in:

  • community networking
  • event logistics
  • natural building (timberframe, strawbale, ferrocement, greenhouse/hoop house)
  • mechanical skills (plumbing, electrical, water, solar, wind)
  • cooking/catering
  • childcare
  • animal care (chickens, bees, sheep, goats, hogs, cattle, horses)
  • soil building (composting, cover cropping)
  • annual gardening
  • field farming
  • orchard/small fruits care
  • woodlot management and forestry (sugaring)
  • agroforestry (mushroom, medicinal plant cultivation).

Who’s involved?

Jackie Bonomo (Lemont) – – organic gardener practicing suburban permaculture at home for 11 years; local food enthusiast supporting CSAs and Farmers Markets. Lived in Aliya, an intentional community (1977). Earned a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from Huxley College of Environmental Studies, Bellingham, WA (1978). 5th Eastern Permaculture gathering at Heathcote (1990). Permaculture Design Course with Dawn Shiner at Skytop (1994). Dave Jacke’s Permaculture workshop at Julian Woods (circa 1997). First prize for a Permaculture Design in Landscaping/Gardening category (Penn State’s Green Design Contest, 2001). Greenhouse Manager for Edibles at Tait Farm (2006-2011). Has worked at PASA as Buy Fresh Buy Local state coordinator (among other roles).

[I’ve created a new page for the Permaculture Guild; guild updates will be posted here at the main page and also at that page. -KW]

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