NW Permaculture Institute

Earth Care, People Care, Future Care

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2016 Salem free film series starts February 25th! The history of fruit walls may change your gardening plans…

NWPI 2016 Salem free film series starts February 25th!

The NWPI offers a free film series in Salem, Oregon on the 4th Thursday of the month, February-October in 2016.  We are lining up films and speakers on transition towns, natural building, worms, and other permaculture topics. We are also considering repeating key films that have gotten many repeat requests. So, as we finalize the series for 2016, we’d like feedback from you. Please send an email letting us know which films you’d like to see again, and what topics interest you for future films? If you are not already on our mailing list, keep up to date on our events by sending an email with “subscribe” in the subject line to, nwperma at gmail.com.

NWPI will be offering our 36 hour, Permaculture Essentials for the Pacific NW, class again starting in September. If we have enough interest in a Saturday morning summer series, we may offer it then as well. Please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested in taking classes, as seats fill up fast. NWPI will also be offering our two 12 hour follow up classes that complete the PDC, Permaculture Solutions for Recharging Landscapes with Water and Earth, and, Permaculture Strategies for Community Building and Global Repair, 2016 dates TBD.

We were impressed with this article on the history of fruit walls and wanted to share the link with you below. Happy 2016 from NW Permaculture Institute!


Fruit walls in Montreuil, a suburb of Paris

Fruit Walls: Urban Farming in the 1600s, by Kris De Decker

We are being told to eat local and seasonal food, either because other crops have been transported over long distances, or because they are grown in energy-intensive greenhouses. But it wasn’t always like that. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far north as England and the Netherlands, using only renewable energy.

These crops were grown surrounded by massive “fruit walls”, which stored the heat from the sun and released it at night, creating a microclimate that could increase the temperature by more than 10°C (18°F).

Later, greenhouses built against the fruit walls further improved yields from solar energy alone. It was only at the very end of the nineteenth century that the greenhouse turned into a fully glazed and artificially heated building where heat is lost almost instantaneously — the complete opposite of the technology it evolved from….
To read more, visit lowtechmagazine.com


An English fruit wall. Wikipedia Commons


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Solar Power 4 Me: Harnessing Free Energy from the Sun, Free Film and Potluck in Salem May 28th @ 6:30


Make your own free power from the sun! Solar panels are easy to install and have no moving parts. You can even SELL power back to the power company and make money every time the sun is shining. Markus Rothkranz takes you through his creative solar powered home and shows you how to make your own power from the sun, with lots of energy saving tips.
Film 54 minutes.

After the film we will be joined by Brian Zoeller, a Sr. Energy Consultant with SolarCity. He will speak briefly on who SolarCity is, how it changed the business model for solar, how folks can participate in making a choice about where their power comes from, and answer questions.

SolarCity is the nations largest solar provider operating in 17 states currently with over 200,000 customers. It has deep technological roots tied to its founder, Elon Musk, of Tesla, Space X and PayPal. SolarCity provides qualified homeowners a choice of having a large portion of their power come from the sun, feeding their home directly, and with no up-front cost; its solar as a service and people pay monthly for cleaner, cheaper power. SolarCity handles the entire project, process, system, warranties and repairs for decades.

Brian has worked in two particular sectors: Energy and International Development. Brian spent 7 years working with the US Peace Corps as an Agroforestry Volunteer in Niger, W. Africa, NW Recruiter and Associate Director for Business and IT in Mauritania, W. Africa. He has also worked his way through different energy organizations in Portland for the past 12 years and across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Specifically, he has worked as an analyst for Portland General Electric during the Enron years. He also worked on multiple projects as an Energy Efficiency Program Manager at Bonneville Power Administration and Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. For the last two years, Brian has been with SolarCity as a Senior Energy Consultant where most of his work is focused on educating on how solar is now an affordable choice for homeowners…even here in Oregon. Brian has an MBA from Willamette University and a BA in International Studies from the University of Dayton

Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share: Free Film and Lecture Series
Held in Salem every 4th Thursday @ 6:30pm (except November and December)

Salem 4th Thursday events include potluck & discussion
@ Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, 5090 Center Street. NE, Salem
For more information: 503-449-8077

This event is made possible by support from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, Life Source Natural Foods, and private donations from people in our community.  Thank you for your support!