The Cincinnati Permaculture Guild

On the banks of the Ohio River and the surrounding varied terrain of the tristate area, Cincinnati, Ohio and its outlaying areas now contains a really strong Permaculture scene.  With numerous urban and suburban sites as well as some country-side farms developed, permaculture can be seen flourishing in many different ways here.  Fortunately the Permaculture scene is just one of the many strong sustainability movements that are taking root and now blooming in Cincinnati.  Some of the other strong scenes that we have infiltrated include the following to name just a few:

  • Rain gardens and local watershed maintenance
  • Urban agriculture and community gardens
  • Local foods and the supporting farmers markets
Design from Parkwalk Permaculture

With over 140 graduates produced locally in a guild format of teaching, we have a strong base of critical mass to really get the word out and share the load of teaching, designing, and volunteering.  Our strengths include the following:
  • Food forests and edible landscaping
  • Ecology and Native Lore
  • Organic food production
  • Design of small scale sites
  • Small-scale Forestry
  • Aquaculture and aqua-poics
  • Urban Communal Living
Aquaculture Food Web Developed by one of the Guild Facilitators as an educational tool for this amazing growing systems

Permaculture Education

We regularly run PDC's for the Urban and Student Crowd, which dictates the seven weekend format for accomplishing the 72-hour international curriculum.  The courses are run communally with several developed sites and then also teachers leading sections that they are most passionate about.  As a collective, we have travelled quite extensively to research growing techniques and studied with the worlds best.  We seek to make the courses extremely cost effective yet as professional, interactive, and fun as possible.  The courses are extremely transformative and can be a great way to jump into the sustainability movement in general and the next economy that will be based on ecological design.  Please reference the page Facilitators and Designers for more information about who you will be taking a course with.   
Students from a Weekend PDC presenting their excellent final design

Guild Meetings

As a functioning guild we regularly run guild meetings so that we can interact and share info and resources.  We run about six of these a year in conjunction with our tight knit social network that we maintain informally at farmers markets or spiritual events.  The format is usually a chance for people to share about their projects or a particular topic as well as getting out together for a working bee.  They are great fun and a way to see each others projects and lend a needed hand for those labour intensive projects.  In a city that is so big, it can feel a bit overwhelming but our group helps us to maintain the community feeling that we all strive for.     
Local Permaculture Farmer and teacher Andy Shewe teaches his daughter the real way to build a house
Local Food Production and Sales
As a collective we all aim to produce a certain percentage of our sustenance from the land that surrounds us.  Some of us do this in part as a living whether it is a rural farm in Indiana or land the city bequeathed us to contribute to local food security.  This scale of production lands at our local farmers markets which are quite healthy and growing in number here in Cincinnati.  The other great part about this space is they are community events, a time and place for us to gather like the one in Northside where several people from the guild reside.  The rest of us that are just doing it for subsistence farming, enjoy our fruits from the brambles and our cucumbers to pickle.  We often exchange produce and food is one of the core elements of our tight knit community of Permaculturalists.  

Micro-Enterprise Endeavors

While some of us earn an income directly from food production many of us are testing our feet in other entrepreneurial activities.  One of those that directly affects the guild is design for farms and community gardens.  We often collaborate to enhance the design and spread the love around so to speak to draw from the collective genius of the group.  Others are apart of the food processing scene and take mundane cabbage and turn it into delightful ferments that give us some much needed biology in our guts.  Some have taken more of the spiritual route with teaching yoga while others are involved in children's education.  More and more ideas are branching out like mushrooms farms, aquaponics, and rainwater harvesting companies.  It is all geared towards contributing to the overall sustainability movement in Cincinnati all the while earning a right livelihood.  
The cascading of Nutrients to form Micro-enterprises described in Gunter Pauli's fabulous book The Blue Economy