Suburban Permaculture: Neighborhood Watch as the Key to Resilient Community? (Video)

suburban permaculture photo

Image credit: Peak Moment TV

When Jan Spencer destroyed his suburban driveway, turning it upside down to create a water feature, and create room for a permaculture garden, it must have been hard to predict the chain reaction that would follow. Having now planted a (semi-successful) edible garden on his carport roof, established some serious rainwater harvesting infrastructure, and ripped out his laurel hedge in favor of a food forest, the man is moving on to create similar change in the rest of his neighborhood. We hear all too often about the problems with suburbia. From the lady who was banned from replacing her driveway with a garden, to the incredible oil-dependence caused by suburban living. It's easy to forget that there are many opportunities too.

Most suburban properties have a decent sized yard. They have neighbors living in relatively close proximity. And they often have some kind of neighborhood social infrastructure, be it a home owners' association, or a neighborhood watch scheme. And it's in Jan Spencer's involvement with his neighborhood association that the promise of wider change is really making itself manifest—he's putting on programs to build a resilient neighborhood, he's organizing panel discussions on community change, and he's encouraging his neighbors to grow their own food.

With thanks to Peak Moment TV, the folks who have brought us shows on everything from living simply as an alternative American dream, through legal gray water, to a DIY solar home.

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