Thursday, July 17, 2008

Olympia Village Building Convergence Schedule of Events

Olympia Village Building Convergence Schedule of Events

Friday July 25th

9am-4pm Earthen Plaster: GRuB
12:30-4:30pm Cob Bench Building: Olympia Salvage

Saturday July 26th

9am-4pm Earthen Plaster: GRuB
10:00-3:30pm Cob Bench Building: Olympia Salvage
11 am - 1pm Seed saving as an Activist Practice: Fertile Ground with Marisha Auerbach
11am-4pm Hydrogen Hybrid workshop: Grub with Ian Keith
4:30-5:30pm Introduction to Natural Building with Earthen Materials: GRuB with Joseph Becker
5:30pm Potluck picnic: GRuB
7-9pm Dana Lyons Concert: The Unitarian Church

Sunday July 27th

9am-4pm Earthen Plaster: GRuB
10-12am Appropriate heat: Solar Ovens, rocket stoves and building hay boxes: GRuB with Sam Fox
10am-4pm Cob Bench Building: Olympia Salvage
1-3pm Introduction to using Grey Water and Compost Toilets: Love Shack with Chriset Palenshus
3-4pm How to cook your own beer for cheap: GRuB with Jonah Hankin-Rappaport
7-9pm Grand opening of Veggie Cross Roads Community Garden Live Music and Potluck Located at Milroy and Scammel on the Westside. There will be opportunities to beautify the space.


GRuB - 2016 Elliott Ave NW, Olympia.

Earthen Plaster is made of a combination of clays, sand and a fiber (straw) mixed in a muddy pit with bare feet. The mixture will be smeared with our hands onto the walls on GRuB’s new Farmhouse/Education Center to provide a beautiful and durable interior wall finish. Join Joseph Becker, an ecological builder and educator, for 3 days of muddy fun.

Olympia Salvage - 415 Olympia Ave NE, Olympia.

Cob Couch, come learn the basics of building with sand, clay and straw. Cob is easy to use, fun for all ages and temperaments (except those who don't like getting dirty) and versatile. Meet great people and gain a new skill at this hands-on workshop with Larissa Podzaline.

Fertile Ground - 311 9th Ave SE, Olympia.

Seed saving as an Activist Practice Come join us to learn how you can take responsibility for your own food supply by saving your own seed from your garden. We will be discussing harvest of cultivated and native seeds as well as flowers and vegetable crops. Seed saving is a great localized buffer against the globalization of our food supply as it encourages diversity & increases the resilience in our gardens to pests and diseases. Bring your questions, leave with seeds!

Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation - 2200 E End St NW, Olympia.

Dana Lyons, Bringing together a mix of comedy, ballads and love songs, Dana's sharp wit and beautiful voice have him performing at concert halls, festivals, conventions, fundraisers and universities across the US and around the world. Dana's music style includes a bit of everything; his biggest radio hit "Cows with Guns," receives crossover radio play on country, rock, alternative, community, college and oldies radio stations worldwide.

The Love Shack - 225 Milroy St. NW, Olympia

Introduction to using Grey Water and Compost Toilets, this 2 hour class demonstrates how to rig up a system that saves money and valuable natural resources; systems in use at this site are created at almost no cost! We'll observe how it works and have a chance to use it too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

First Annual Olympia Village Building convergence

In the interest of promoting a more community-oriented and
ecologically sustainable society, we are organizing a hands-on
educational event to be called The Olympia Village Building
. Over the course of a long weekend, people will have the
opportunity to participate in numerous projects involving green and
natural building techniques and principles of permaculture and edible
landscaping, partnering experienced practitioners with volunteers.
The goal is to accomplish a small number of construction and planting
projects, giving people training in the basic methods involved and
fostering a sense of community as strangers come together to create
useful spaces for all to enjoy.
We have the sites chosen for this year, we are seeking partners to help support this event through monetary and in-kind donations. Some materials we need include sand, rebar, non-toxic paint and native plants.
Donations are tax-deductible thanks to our friends at Terra Commons, a
local non-profit devoted to the art of Edible Forest Gardening.
We appreciate any assistance you may provide and look forward to meeting you at the event!
More information will be available by the end of June such as calender of events and sponsoring organizations.
For further questions or if you would like to volunteer, email:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Group travels West stirring up environmental concern

Group travels West stirring up environmental concern

ASHLAND — A sense of personal despair and powerlessness is a major stage of environmental awareness — and something that must be overcome and turned into empowerment and action, a group of Ashlanders was told Tuesday night.

"Despair is a quagmire where all becomes hopeless, but luckily it is a signpost on the journey, not the destination," said Australian Kelly Tudhope, lecturing with the Climate Change Despair and Empowerment Roadshow, which is giving presentations up and down the West Coast.

Some 20 people, including Cat Gould of Ashland, shared tales of depression on their journey to environmental activism, up to the point when "a cork popped" and they found direction and hope. "My whole life I was depressed, disempowered and in despair," she told the crowd, "but something about climate change popped that cork and I realized I can't afford to feel depression. I released that and have felt a lot more optimism about the future, even though the news is worse."

Roadshow speaker Pat Rasmussen of Leavenworth, Wash., drew gasps when she told of finding vast stands of lodgepole pines in her native state turned reddish brown from the western spruce budworm, an effect increased by warming, she said, adding that the dead timber will release a "carbon bomb" into the atmosphere over coming decades.

However, said Tudhope, of the Rainforest Information Center, while large majorities of people report being concerned about warming, very small percentages are altering their lifestyle in response. As Al Gore says in his global warming presentations, despair, like denial, lets you off the hook about doing something positive, she noted.

Holly Del Sesto of Phoenix reported "deep sadness in my heart, with tears close to the surface, till I got to the point I needed to do something about it."

Louise Pare of Ashland said, as she moved out of despair into the phase of action, that she now speaks up freely, talking to strangers on the bus about global warming.

Tudhope said the sense of despair is actually compassion for species who are being treated as resources and driven out of existence.

For those not sure of what action to take personally, Tudhope said three courses of action are close at hand:

  • Buy locally grown food, which hasn't been transported far.
  • Avoid meat and dairy products, as they are energy intensive and are a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Eat and grow organic food, made without fossil fuel energy.

Some "low hanging fruit" in the battle against climate change would be to lower the speed limit back to 55 mph, which would cut oil demand by a billion gallons a year and "allow libraries to get money now being diverted to Iraq."

The Roadshow does 90-minute presentations and one-day workshops, trying to create grassroots climate action groups, as well as to "address the hopeless despair that many people feel about how to transform despair into empowerment and effective action," according to its Web site,

The Web site also said it hopes to "unveil the false 'business as usual' solutions being touted by the major political parties, such as nuclear power and so called clean coal."

Article from The Mail Tribune

Friday, August 17, 2007

Eco-Logical Living

Eco-Logical Living
A bike trip to check out our northern neighbors

Many people in Eugene have a growing concern about climate change, resource depletion, increasingly unruly international relations and economic instability. With those concerns in mind, Eugene can boast of a number of creative initiatives for "eco-logical" living.

But what is going on elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and what can we learn from others? With that question in mind, during July I traveled more than 1,500 miles to central Washington state, Bellingham, Snohomish/Everett, Seattle and Olympia. People I visited showed me local examples of ecological culture change. I also gave presentations that touched on economics, global trends and human potential and explained how they relate to ecological culture change.

Of places I visited, favorite projects include The Hub in Bellingham — an expansive, you-fix-it, down-to-earth community bicycle center. Also, Zippy's is an upbeat and casual java bar in Everett that is home to a wide diversity of meetings and community events focused on positive culture change. Tonasket can boast of a citizen based community culture center. Seattle has numerous creative efforts that advocate downsizing lifestyles, urban gardening and alternatives to the automobile. Snohomish and Okonagon have their own green movements.

Olympia seems to have the greatest density of ecological initiatives of the towns I visited. One can stay at a permaculture bed and breakfast. But my favorite community asset was GRuB, a well organized and funded nonprofit dedicated to local food production. One of GruB's programs is installing raised bed gardens where people live, along with providing skill support for the gardens to be successful. GRuB is also youth education and volunteer oriented, collaborates with its next door neighbors and manages an in-town Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.

Elsewhere in Washington, I was shocked to find dozens of suburban style developments in rural areas, far from town. The bucolic names of these places did nothing to mitigate this terrible land use. Distant from town, often in hilly areas, sometimes on islands, they are all highly dependent on cheap resources. I called my two-day bike ride on Whidbey Island the Tour of Driveways.

Perhaps the most instructive and revealing encounter for me was in the Methow Valley in central Washington near Twisp, where I had breakfast at the end of a 2-mile-long dirt road with 10 alternative locals. I asked everyone there to describe who they lived with, how far from town, their ideals and on-site resource potentials.

Individually, they were all lacking important elements of moving towards their ecological and social goals of taking care of more of their needs close to home. Difficulties included not enough people to collaborate with, not enough space, not enough financial resources, not all the skills needed and not enough time.

I suggested they consider doing an in-depth inventory of their personal and property assets and then consider discussing among themselves their respective pluses and minuses with the goal of creating a strategy that would generate the most benefits. I recommended selling the dead-end properties and creating an integrated cooperative venture among themselves at the best location.

Of course, such a strategy presents enormous challenges. The smartest choices we can make for the environment, peace on Earth and positive human potential are sharing our assets and resources in both urban and rural locations. Such strategies are the most contrary to our individualistic cultural upbringing. They are also contrary to an economy and way of life that depends on people being separate, competitive and disempowered. That economy is the source of our greatest challenges, local and global.

The tour was sobering. Sitting at Gas Works Park looking across Union Lake to downtown Seattle, with all the staggering urban elements in view — dozens of skyscrapers, elevated freeways packed with cars, sea planes landing and taking off, residences of all kinds, marinas crowded with boats — I reflected what an enormous task it is to transform the world we know into something at peace with itself. I don't think anyone really knows what sustainable is but any efforts in that direction must ultimately be honest and cooperative — and be judged not by human convenience but rather by Planet Earth.

Jan Spencer is a River Road area artist and activist involved in the Cascadia EcoFair, a "Culture Change weekend" coming up Aug. 23-26 in rural Coburg. For information and registration, visit or or email

Article Courtesy of the Eugene weekly

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Get 'r' done

Hey folks,

We got our first Grass to Garden Project off the ground, feel free to check it, 303 cushing street.

We got the lawn sheet mulched, the next step will be planting food plants.

We have also been working on revising our by-laws in order to finalize our 501(c)3 status.
Collecting members for the board still - if you are interested in being on the board, please contact us at or by calling 360-866-1331.

Still looking for more lawns to sheet mulch, if any one knows of anything...

check back soon for more updates.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jan Spencer, culture change advocate, at Traditions 7/28/07

Terra Commons presents,

A fascinating evening with

Eugene, OR ~ culture change advocate

Jan Spencer

July 28th, 2007 7pm

Traditions Fair Trade Cafe

300 5th AVE

Jan will weave together aspects of economics, urban land use, US foreign policy, global trends, Permaculture, and human potential in a unique analyses the concludes unprecedented eco logical culture change is highly recommended.

The presentation will show how many assets and allies of culture change already exist, some of them closer than we might think. Spencer will explain the term ‘culture of cohesion’ and how reinventing the urban landscape can be a catalyst for helping bring about this new paradigm.

Jan is currently writing a book about Eugene and Cascadia 30 years into the future and 15 years into recovery. Copies of Jan’s book ‘Global Trends - local Choices – towards an Eco Humanist New Culture’ will be for sale. To see Jan’s place and articles and essays Jan has written along with a YouTube video tour of his property, go to:


Sunday, July 29th

Permaculture Garden Bike Tour

Bring your bike and come see what amazing Permaculture gardens are growing right here in Olympia.

Please Call (360) 866-1331 for more information and to sign up to ride.


(360) 866-1331


Terra Commons is a non-profit network. We serve communities by researching, designing, and practicing habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture, and natural building. We believe that our patterns of land use and habitation are directly connected with the health of our biosphere and that of generations to come. Through our connections, we share in the responsibility of positively affecting the balance of economic, social, and ecological systems.