YERTpod28: An Agri-Culture of Permanence in New Mexico

SAVE THESE DATES! YERT will be celebrating the end of its travels with two rockinÂ’ events. The first is in San Francisco on July 11 at the Temple Nightclub. The second is in Pittsburgh on August 9 at the Rachel Carson Homestead. RSVP on Facebook (SF)(P’burgh) or eVite (SF)(P’burgh) and bring your friends!

Dear YERTians,

We traveled to New Mexico, Land of Enchantment, to get enchanted – and enchanted we got! Sustainability is a catchword that gets bandied about quite a bit these days, but nothing is actually more "sustainable" than the Native American peoples who thrived on this continent for literally thousands of years.

Indigenous cultures all over the world have, in the deepest sense, embraced real sustainability as a way of life for eons, and we found ourselves inspired and awed by the simple yet profound wisdom of living rightly with the land. In the 1970’s, many of the best lessons on how to live effectively and ethically within nature were collected and re-codified from the world’s most "permanent cultures" by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren into an ecologically enlightened holistic agricultural system called, appropriately enough, permaculture.

We were lucky enough to spend some quality time with Scott Pittman, founder of the Permaculture Institute near Santa Fe, who was trained by and then taught along side Dr. Mollison himself for years – we even got to sit in on one of his very cool permaculture classes. In Albuquerque, we met with Clayton BrascoupĂ©, whose group, the Traditional Native American Farmers Association, melds permaculture design courses with Native American agricultural traditions and is working hard to reverse the decline in farming as well as preserve the biodiversity of indigenous seed varieties. We also had the pleasure of visiting with the iconic Larry Littlebird, who shared with us his incredible vision for HAMAATSA – an indigenous continuum learning center on recently returned ancient lands that will serve as a model for simple, sustainable living for all people. Finally, noted musician, master craftsman, and Native American "Renaissance man," Robert Mirabal, waxed poetic for us in Taos and shared with us some of his invaluable seeds of knowledge. He also kindly provided us with the incredible music in our New Mexico video, for which we are deeply grateful.

Thoroughly enchanted by the people of New Mexico, we now know the wisdom of the past has much to teach us in the future.

Permaculturally Yours,

Ben, Julie, and Mark (your YERT team)

P.S. Breadcrumbs…yummy! Here are some links for more in-depth information about the topics in this video…

  • For all things permaculture, check out The Permaculture Institute’s incredible website at Here’s a quick definition of permaculture from the website: "Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more." If this sounds good to you, take a course. They’re offered throughout the country and you can find one near you at Happy planting!
  • Clayton and The Traditional Native American Farmers Association (TNAFA) are working hard to get indigenous farmers back on the land. There are numerous social benefits to a strong agricultural ethic in almost all communities on the planet, and America is no exception. The group focuses on family oriented farming and provides training, seeds, and support toward that endeavor. To learn more visit
  • HAMAATSA is an incredible project that just might help save the world. Their mission? "To provide servant leadership models for living simply and sustainably on the land; to integrate healing systems from traditional cultures; and to restore indigenous life-ways and land stewardship principles through experiential land-based learning." You can find out all about it at
  • Robert Mirabal is a one-man wonder. His flutes are renowned, as is his musicianship. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can check out and for Robert’s music and the complete scoop on his many hats.

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