Amelia Troyer ’19.Amelia Troyer ’19.

Last July, I passed two weeks wwoofing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) on a lovely, spiritual, communal campground, set amid a permaculture homestead created by Vincent Pastore, a wonderful, worldly permaculturist. During the week, on alternating days, we would maintain his twenty-year-old food forest. A dear crew of maybe ten or so young people would tend to all the mature fruit trees, plant in the beds, or work on new projects. All of our space was off-grid, powered by massive solar displays, though we hardly used electricity save for heating the shower set under the citrus trees and turning on some lights. Most nights we all gathered round the campfire for song singing and general joyfulness. We all camped so happily! I under a mulberry tree, others under avocados. Magical.

The view from Cosmic Dance.The view from Cosmic Dance.

Other days, we worked on a lovely, fire-ravaged property into which our host had dug out 37 terraces into which we planted an edible forest garden under the permaculture principles. I planted dozens of honey locust trees to fix nitrogen in the soil and we practiced closed-loop, solar water pumping from the mountain back into the mountain, and planted all kinds of medicinals and many things amongst the varied feast of trees.

The commute was dizzying redwood madrone and sunlight splattered while we’d ride in the back of the truck. Just so much merry-making and mountain-saving. And lots and lots of fresh-foraged salads and always fruit on the ground to eat. I tried my first white sapote here and our host took my dear friend and I sea kayaking in the bay (which we could see from the terraced property!). Oh so free and self-governed, truly it was a utopian experience of co-operative young people seeking to embody a new agrarianism together.

Amelia’s Internship Program: The Cosmic Dance Permaculture Forrest

The campground is set in a food forrest on a 20 acre south slope, 2000 feet up in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, with a small ocean view of the Monterrey Bay. Some participant activities include planting trees and crops, installing irrigation systems, and hunting.