Resources

Below is a list of practical resources useful for permaculture students and practitioners here in the Lower Rio Grande Watershed (Hidalgo, Cameron, Starr, and Willacy counties of Texas, and northern Tamulipas state in Mexico).

INTRODUCING PERMACULTURE

Permaculture design principles are used to create productive landscape systems, that continually improve the soil, and that provide to people a self-renewing abundance of food, medicine, and utility, using a minimum of water, fertilizer, labor, and other inputs. This is accomplished by imitating the diversity of elements and functional interconnections that is found in natural ecosystems.

Never heard of permaculture? Or are you looking for resources to help newcomers? Here are some introductory resources that explain what permaculture is and how it works:

What is permaculture?

Permaculture ethics and principles

Greening the Desert
This inspiring 30 minute video shows permaculture at work at a site in Jordan, near the Dead Sea, in a climate similar to, but harsher than, ours in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

An Introduction to Permaculture
Produced by Permaculture Activist magazine.

The Permaculture Movement Grows From Underground
An article in the New York Times.

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, by Toby Hemenway.
This book provides entertaining, inspiring, and highly practical instruction in how to use permaculture design in your own back yard.

STAYING IN THE LOOP LOCALLY

Radical Sustainability in the Rio Grande Valley
All local permaculture events are announced here. Join this group to be alerted to permaculture scholarship opportunities, workshops, films, local study meetings, and opportunities to volunteer helping local people and organizations with their gardens and permaculture projects, and to discuss all aspects of establishing just and sustainable ways in our bioregion, including permaculture, intentional community projects, environmental issues and activism, economic democracy, local economy, gift economy, etc.

Radical Grande Valley Natural Building
Natural building is the part of permaculture that pertains to the built environment. It uses local earth and recycled materials to build healthy, low-impact dwellings and other structures, in a way that promotes care of earth and care of people. Join this group to discuss natural building techniques and be informed of local workshops and volunteer opportunities in natural building.

STX-Permaculture Bulletin Board
Started by Mario Garza, Jr. Uses ProBoards format.

BOOKS, MAGAZINES, AND WEB SITES

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, by Toby Hemenway.

Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, by Bill Mollison.

Permaculture Activist Magazine

Permaculture Magazine

PLANTS AND SEEDS

Edible Valley Map
This map, initiated by Michael Chavez, shows the location of fruit trees, vegetables, medicinals, and other useful plants in our area. Ask permission of property owners to harvest or take cuttings to propagate. Let’s all collaborate to add to this map!

Rivers End Nursery
27510 Ted Hunt Rd. Los Fresnos, TX
Tel: 956 233 ­4792
Toll free: 800-788-8798
Wide variety of tropical and subtropical fruit trees. Permacultural heaven.

Seed Savers Exchange

Native Seeds / Tucson, AZ

Betty Perez
Native Plants Nursery – Texas Parks and Wildlife
Tel: (956) 581­2149
Email: PerezRanchNatives@gmail.com

Heep’s LRGV Native Plant Nursery
1714 S. Palm Court Drive, Harlingen, Texas 78552
Michael Heep
Tel: 956-423-4513
Cell: 956-457-6834

Waugh’s Nursery Center
5012 N. Jackson, Pharr
Tel: 956 686 ­5591

Valley Garden Center
801 E. Business 83 and McColl, McAllen, TX 78501
Tel: 956 682 9411

PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS

Barbara Storz
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Hidalgo County
Email: b-storz@tamu.edu
Tel: 956 383 1026
Gardening classes, workshops, local farmers markets, master gardeners program, a gardening consulting bank of master gardeners, and more.

Dr. Alex Racelis
Director, Agroecology Program
Department of Biology
University of Texas Panamerican
Email: agroecology@utpa.edu
Tel: (956) 665-3656
This program is strategic for training biologists/agroecologists to advise and help implement sustainable agriculture proejects in our region.

George Bennack
Associate Director for Rural and Business Development
Email: bennack@utpa.edu
This organization provides training and practical assistance to new farms, community gardens, etc. in which local food is grown and sold.

Juan Raygoza
Terra Preta Farm
7769 East Canton Rd, Edinburg, Texas 78539
Email: juanraygoza@gmail.com
Cell: 956 355 0698
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Terra-Preta-Farm/139333406172043
Mr. Raygoza also works with UTPA’s Rural and Business Development program.

Environmental Awareness Club
This student club at the University of Texas Panamerican meets weekly, conducts nature outings, and participates in volunteer activities. The link above goes to their Facebook group.

The Office for Sustainability at UTPA
1201 W. University Dr. Edinburg, TX 78539
Tel: 956 665­ 3030

COMMUNITY GARDENS

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley
Christopher Bueno
Community Garden Manager
Physical Address: 724 North Cage Blvd., Pharr, Texas
Email: chbueno@foodbankrgv.com

McAllen Community Garden
Harvey and Main, McAllen, TX
John Goolsby
956 369 8125

Trinity Community Garden
Alice Lee Penrod
Email: aliceinpharr@yahoo.com
Cell: 210-364-0530
Location: Across the street from Trinity Episcopal Church at 210 W. Caffery in Pharr.
This project under development has been a focus of volunteer efforts of the RGV Permaculture Study-Action Group, students of various departments at UTPA, and students in the Permaculture Design Certificate Training (Oct 2014 – Jan 2014) of UTPA’s Office for Sustainability. Implementation of a permaculture master plan design is projected for Spring 2015.

Campus Garden at UTPA
Several UTPA student organizations are active in maintaining this garden.

NUTRITION AND FOOD SYSTEM ISSUES

Lebby Salinas
The Fooducator
Email: lebby@thefooducator.com

RGV Vegans

INSPIRATION

RGV Drum and Dance Circle

Watershed Discipleship is a radical Christian movement that explores permaculture in the light of biblical concerns for social and environmental justice.

PERMACULTURE AND THE TRANSITION TO A SUSTAINABLE AND JUST WORLD

Permaculture is a design approach, and, as such, it is not itself defined by, or limited to, any particular social or political vision. And yet it forms an integral part of the varied larger visions of its practitioners. It is considered by the vast majority of practitioners to be an essential tool to use in the transition to a more just and sustainable world, as we seek to make our communities more resilient in the face of environmental and resource crises.

Bill Mollison, co-founder of the permaculture movement, discussed his own understanding of the social, political, and economic implications of permaculture in the last chapter of Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual.

Permaculture is discussed in relation to strategies for social change and planetary rescue at the Simpler Way web site of Ted Trainer, and the Ecological Commonwealth web site of Steven Johnson.

OTHER USEFUL LINKS

Links re native plants

Arborists, ISA Certified – Search Here 

Please suggest any other helpful resources, or provide updated information about the resource above, by leaving a reply below. Thank you!

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