An OP Summer Intern's Perspective of 2018

We are pleased to introduce another guest writer for our Blog, our summer intern from Doane University, Jared Foote.

“The goal is to exist on Earth by using energy that is naturally in flux and relatively harmless.”

First of all I would like to say that this is the first time I have ever written a blog! Thanks to Omaha Permaculture I’ve been able to learn the concepts of the permaculture philosophy throughout this enchanted experience of growth. My own growth, the area of North Omaha’s growth, and the growth of this wonderful non-profit organization. I’ve learned that the overall design of permaculture is to harmoniously integrate landscape and people. Well, I’d like to tell you a little about the geological and social impacts OP has been making to the Northwest Omaha and Benson community this summer (and some of the future possibilities too)!

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Let’s talk about the people I was blessed to work with this summer. The most exciting days out on the lots were definitely with the ILC groups. In the picture above Heath, Nikko, Katie and their two advisors helped us start the construction of Tiffany’s “OURS” garden on 24th and Fort St.

 

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Here is a picture of Gus, myself, and Dan from left to right. This was my first week on the job and I couldn’t of been happier with how these two introduced me to permaculture and sustainable agriculture.

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Chris, Dan, Megan and I were the main crew everyday and we all got along great! I loved learning the names of grasses, plants, insects, and much more from Chris and Dan.  They each have such interesting and astonishing backgrounds where they’ve learned all about botany, sustainable agriculture, basic gardening techniques, and much more. It was also great having a student from Stanford on the team, Megan! 

As a team, our main job was to tend to the 4-5 main OP lots that have food growing in them. I also got to work with an amazing young man named Myo, who is a Burmese refugee that has been living in the Benson area since he came to America four years ago. Myo and I worked on the Benson Business Improvement District together for a few weeks. Our main goal was to pull all the bad weeds out of the mulch beds in downtown Benson and to put new plants in.

 

Caring for people is one of the two big concepts of Permaculture that I have picked up in the past weeks while working for Omaha Permaculture. The basic needs of society include food, shelter, education, employment, and an enjoyable atmosphere. On our lots we typically work with 2 different types of social service groups: Integrated Life Choices and an Omaha Re-Entry program for young adults on probation.  Throughout working with these groups I’ve realized that it is important to instill the little things in the mind of the community. Whether it is to pull a certain weed or to leave it, or how to successfully grow a squash plant that produces food for families. Or like the time that Dan gave an awesome crash course lesson on soil microbiology. He helped these so-called “thugs” understand that a cover crop such as clover has the ability to break up soil and replenish it with its root system. Here is a picture of my first time with a re-entry group!

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Since this summer began I have widened my diet, enhanced the lives of hundreds of plants, and been able to enhance the lives of a few people along the way. The best part about growing food in these community gardens is that the end result is putting a smile on a neighbor’s face and food in their gut. A few times this summer I’ve had the chance to walk up to a neighbor’s door with squash and tomatoes. They are always so pleased to see you, even in this rough of an area. This kind of work has inspired me to study news techniques of sustainable agriculture, such as plant fermentation and water recycling. I’m very excited to keep on walking down this path that has begun with Omaha Permaculture.

Jared Foote