Thursday, April 21, 2011

Primrose Earth Awareness Trust - Quantity and Quality

Steve and I visited PEAT with friends from the Llandrindod course and it turned out to be a really inspiring morning. You can read books and look at websites all you want but there's no substitute for the impact of seeing ideas put into practice out there in a field. PEAT represents 25 years of work by Dr Paul and Jan Benham and apart from anything else is the most productive one and a half acre plot in the UK. The garden produces between £25,000 and £30,000 worth of fruit and vegetables a year. As well as quantity they have top quality too, PEAT has received no less than six True Taste of Wales awards for its produce and supplies the top end local hotel and restaurant trade, especially with salad crops. The centre is on the edge of the village of Felindre, just five miles from Hay on Wye.
That's the friendly figure of Paul front-right wearing the white shirt and green scarf

It might look a bit ramshackle here and there...

...but Paul is a master of re-using stuff and getting a lot out of a small budget. The garden plot at PEAT is the most productive 1.5 acres in the UK.
Densely packed beds in between abundant poly-tunnels
Ingenuity: cast-off fridge feezers used as plant propagators with incandescent 40w bulbs as heat sources.

One of several polytunnels - well stocked for April
 The beds are a densely packed system developed over the last 25 years and the polytunnels were in full production even in April. The plot has mostly been worked just by Paul and his wife Jan with the help of two WOOFERS in the growing and hearvesting seasons and without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It was really good to see so much space given over to forest gardening methods, some of it established over 25 years. There's different densities of forest gardening at PEAT and its very interesting to see how the forest areas fit in with the beds and polytunnels. I'm convinced that Forest Gardening has the potential to help many people in cities as well as out in the countryside so have started a separate page for that: Forest Gardening Page.

Roundhouse at PEAT with beautiful thatched roof.
There's lots of interesting buildings at PEAT including the roundhouse above and the earth-sheletered building below which is the regular home for two wwoofers. I didn't get a photo of another building, the "Sound Peace Chamber", which is built on an ancient sacred site and where Paul holds meetings timed with other similar buildings in different parts of the world. I hope to find out more about this work as it ties in with what I have been thinking and practising myself in the area of global communication and consciousness - learning to live with the Earth rather than on the Earth, learning to be part of a regenisis of bio-diversity rather than trampling out all life on the planet by continuing on our mad chemico-agrico path towards mass extinction.
Earth-sheltered woofer home

A pear tree with its fruit just set.
I loved this area for the variety it has on the go - well possible on the home gardening or allotment scale.
There's many areas of  forest garden at PEAT, this is the longest established one.
 As well as exploring Sound Healing for people, another area I'd like to explore more, Paul has been experimenting with treating plants with precise frequencies from tuning forks and has found that this can help to keep them healthy. Much more on the PEAT website, including details of courses and guided tours as well as many ideas about making the transition to sustainable food supply - do visit PEAT if you're in the area, I bet you'll find it inspiring too.
Sunday 8th May 2011 - Seasonal Sounds: connecting with the energy of Spring time with sound.
15th - 17th July - Sound Healing with Nature: experiencing sound healing and the healing sense of belonging in nature.

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