Alrie’s November message: Imagine an urban ecovillage, it’s not far off

Imagine a world where nature and food are at your doorstep, a world where you are an integral part of a local community of plants and people thriving, working and learning together. This is the city of tomorrow changing the world of today.

We are an urban eco-village where healthy land use comes first. As we honor and respect the land, we honor and respect those who share the land and its abundance with us.

Kousha Joubert, Executive Director of the Global Ecovillage Network said, “an ecovillage may be an urban community that is conscientiously designed through locally owned participatory processes in all four dimensions of sustainability, (social, culture, ecology and economy) to regenerate their social and natural environments.”

The eco village model is an ever-evolving model with dynamic processes reflecting how life cycles are constantly renewing in response to their environment and to each other.

What we’re doing

One factor that makes The Middlebrook Center a unique model for a global ecovillage is our focus on the native plant communities of California with an emphasis on helping folks in the Bay Area get to know local plant communities( or local ecology)and how they work together as systems to provide ecosystems services and promote biodiversity.

Once we have established this critical mass of understanding that teaches us how we can restore and protect these natural systems, especially in urban areas, then we can begin to develop an urban food system that works with nature, not against her.

Our current methods of growing food do not utilize nature’s intelligence to grow food sustainably. On the contrary, we are assuming that man can improve on evolution and the complexity of soil microbiology and microbial ecology by adding elements whose chemical organization and parings may be very primitive in their structure, compared to the systems that they are impacting.

Thus our current agriculture methods are disrupting and corrupting systems because they have not been understood or studied long enough.

In a teaspoon of soil there may be a billion microorganisms, with perhaps 10,000 species represented. It will take us several hundred years to understand how life itself is perpetuated on this planet.

Because each plant community is unique to its own region, soil profiles are unique as well. Out of this knowledge of local soil’s unique microbiology, we will learn how to create food systems that evolve from our local ecological networks.Our approach at The MB Center is to copy nature and grow intellectually to interpret its microbial complexities, as time will allow us to do. So, until we have more knowledge, we follow the principles of forest ecology to grow food. We copy a natural system that renews itself.

These are the principles of a growing movement, a global agricultural revolution called regenerative agriculture. Our work in San Jose, Africa, India, France and Chile is all based on these local ecological principles combined with regen ag methodology.

Never leave the soil exposed to the sun. Overplant. Plant many species. Establish polyculture. Always add organic matter from the top down. Disturb the soil as little as possible. Plant food plants in close proximity to native plants that are organized as local systems.

In addition, we harvest daily. We add other food systems that stack function and increase production, like vertical gardens or aquaponics. We grow many categories of plant foods like native edibles, nitrogen fixing plants, super foods, perennial foods, drought tolerant foods and comfort foods.

Join the ecovillage movement

Come, visit and join our community.

Come and see what a land use model looks like that protects the land, grows abundant food and keeps the people who live, eat and work here healthy and well.

Join us for our second annual Makers Faire and the grand opening of San Jose’s first eco village. Come and welcome all our partners in this local ecovillage.

Mindful Ways, Mindful Aging Project, Epic Coffee, MB Native plant nursery, Engineers Without Borders, SJSU, EPICs program students from SJSU, our student interns, Good News Wood Salvation, Miss Pat Art classes, Lisa Wong, acupuncturist, and of course, Middlebrook Gardens and The California Native Garden Foundation and Ameritrade, our new partner in financial contributions and investments.

And let’s not forget the many maker vendors who will be coming to our Makers Faire. To be a vendor you must have made or personally created what you will be selling.

You’ll be receiving regular email blasts, social media posts and watch for beautiful posters in the neighborhood. Tell your friends! Help us celebrate. And when you come, notice the yards and street scapes on your way to the Center. Do they look different than the gardens at our eco-village?

Think a minute. What will our future cities look like? Will they look productive? Will they (we) be able to sustain themselves (us) like a forest does? Do these neighborhood yards grow food? Protect natural systems? Protect biodiversity?

Or will we have to keep using fossil fuel energy to maintain them? Which landscape can endure? How will you describe what the city of the future looks like?

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