Now scheduled for Thursday, October 13: a pre-conference field trip to Quail Springs Learning Oasis and Permaculture Farm. Located in the hills outside Maricopa, Quail Springs is a beautiful, serene spot in the Santa Barbara backcountry at the base of Mt. Pinyos and Mt. Abel. These “sister” mountains have been the center of the universe for the Chumash people for thousands of years. Quail Springs serves central California in the same way the Occidental Ecology Center in Sonoma serves the north coast.
Field trip participants will be picked up by van from the Vets Hall and taken to Quail Springs. A picnic lunch is included in the trip. Farm Manager Brenton Kelly will lead a tour of the grounds, showing and explaining the implementation of the center’s 200-year plan to restore the land and watershed. This includes a “food forest,” straw bale buildings, and cob construction. The centers commitment to natural building practices and avoidance of toxic building materials is noteworthy. Members of the Quail Springs community are currently re-invigorating the water spring that has nearly dried up and healing the severely abused land. With restoration efforts, vegetation is now slowly returning.
Founded in 2004 by Warren Brush and Cynthia Harvan, Quail Springs is a haven for multi-generational learning and land-based sustainability. The Center focuses on educational programs, green job preparation for youth, permaculture design application and training, soil building, tree planting, natural building research and development, service learning opportunities, and the development of a sustainable farm and nursery.
The field trip is a rare and unusual opportunity to see permaculture implemented on a large-scale and meet those learning skills to restore the land. Sign up soon as enrollment is limited and many have shown early interest. To find out more about this learning sanctuary, visit quailsprings.org.