Lost Valley Week 8 – Appropriate Technology and Leadership

HSS Week 8 – Rest of the Week

It took time and reflection, but I got into a better head space for the rest of the week since miserable Monday.

Zones and SectorsWednesday started with presentations of our initial design concepts for our PDC projects. Bri and I went to Bethany’s the day before to make the initial design and overlay concept layers, which was a hand-drawn scaled sketch on white butcher paper and colored pencils, and Bethany taped transparency sheets to make large overlay mats which we drew the design layers on. These layers includes wind direction, summer and winter sun patterns, water flow, levels of elevation, human and animal foot traffic, as well as other considerations. And for our design, those considerations were client aesthetic preferences, existing infrastructure, resident mobility and the original goals of food production and outdoor interaction space.

Our permaculture instructor after the presentations was Simon Hanson, a former resident who helped with the past apprenticeship program. The topics for the day were appropriate technology and human nutrient cycling. Simon boiled down the use of appropriate technology to ‘levels’ and ‘context,’ for instance, if one entire neighborhood block bought a single lawnmower and shared it on a schedule, then it reduces consumption so everyone wouldn’t need to buy, refill and fix their own individual mowers.

Simon also helped with the evolution of the composting toilets and the humanure treatment system, which was the “number two” topic he discussed with us. We toured the toilets and he explained the initial design flaws they ran into like bug access to the catchment barrels and mobility issues. He also gave a thorough explanation of the on-site human nutrient compost cycle, which averages about two year per barrel with the added non-human organic materials and the average local temperature.

Image result for power and leadershipThe final classes of the week were with Oblio on ‘power’ and ‘leadership.’ In these classes, we talked about various forms of power, like ‘power over others’ and ‘power from within,’ as well as cultural power stereotypes related to gender, sex, ethnicity and privilege. Oblio had us do some ‘spectrum’ exercises to show us similarities and differences between everyone, which were ‘go to one side  of the room if you agree…’ and ‘stand further away from  the line is you’ve been…’ And these exercises really showed us various situations and beliefs that effected how power is seen and used. Our final activity was on leadership and we were tasked in groups to build the tallest marshmallow and spaghetti noodle tower.

Our group consisted of Matt Mcnall, Sarah Curran, Bri Hoffman, and myself. I had previously done this exercise, so I had some design experience and helped Matt build a stable structure that was above average height. However, Matt wanted to go higher which Sarah and I verbally objected to several times. He ignored our objections and went ahead and attempted to add more, and nearly brought the tower down twice! In the end, our team won but wound up frustrated at each other and Matt realizing he didn’t listen to half his team.

Oblio spoke to our team’s situation in relation to ‘leadership,’ and highlighted the fact we won, but there was a cost to it without some leadership

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Lost Valley Week 8 – Miserable Monday

HSS Week 8 – Miserable Monday, October 16th

I started the day feeling mentally a step behind my physical body, which affected how my day went – and it sure didn’t get any better from there!

I was feeling frustrated, irritated, angry, judgmental, pissed off and generally shut off from everyone. That was caused by/combined with classmates asking repetitive questions, delaying class, not being ‘mentally present,’ and bringing up tangential topics and ‘beating around the bush’ conversations. (That is THE recipe to royally piss me off when I’m trying to learn, and paying for the classes with my own hard-earned money.)

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Lost Valley Week 5 – Tree Day and Adventures Offsite

HSS Week 5

We started off the week with Justin, who explained the history of Lost Valley from its original land use to its current state, with plans for the future of the ecovillage. Having arrived at Lost Valley as an apprentice years ago and eventually took the position as executive director, Justin had great knowledge and context that we didn’t know about Lost Valley.

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Corvallis Weekend Day Trip

Corvallis Weekend Day Trip

In a last minute moment of synchronicity, a few of the students – Caitie Mathews, Sasha Bugler, Ashley Shenk and myself – went up to Corvallis, OR, for a weekend day trip. Ashley is a local to the area, so she was our ‘tour guide’ before we met up with another student, Tuula Perry, who spent time in Corvallis with her boyfriend Taylor, (A cool dude with an awesome name!), and reached out to famed permie, Andrew Millison, and just so happen to schedule a group outing with him and tour of his home!

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Lost Valley Week 4 – Cob and Ceremony

HSS Week 4

The week started off with Ravi, continuing our lessons on economics – specifically discussing local economies tied with social entrepreneurship to promote healthy trade and strengthen local communities. On that same vein, we also discussed cottage industries and the logistics of possible businesses to implement on-site at Lost Valley as a hypothetical exercise. The main obstacle we encountered was the high rate of transience within the community, which doesn’t promote longevity in terms of implementing and running a business – a factor that led most of the working residents to find sources of income outside of the community.

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