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Dripstone is the research blog for queer visual artist, researcher, writer and curator Venus Jasper.

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What You See Is What You Get

What crosses my body today is both excitement for how intimate I am getting to know Earth while at the same time I realize that the time to implement what is possible is getting more slim. Even here, in the Organic splendor of Atitlan Organics, talk of the US elections has been popping up amongst the dialogues about hemp-based glass solar panels, water-management and bamboo-timber framing.


The recent election of Trump urges me to share about the need of re-rooting our info-stream entirely - in other words, choose wisely what we talk and think about. We have to probably change our entire thought-diet. The main thing that seems similar in social evolution, political "progress" and permaculture is the feedback loops. Like the Echo Chambers on our Social Media.


What you see is what you get.


Information is a magical thing, it does not only set things in form -in•formation- it also functions as the main source of nutrition for our hope, creativity and vitality. It can distract, pollute, disempower and tear us apart like the World News on TV does as much as it can help formulate and implement visions for life. That which is focussed on grows, doesn't it? Certainly, working with my bare hands and feet in wet soil, clay and sand-mixes generates questions as much as it gives hope, answers and inspiration.


Seeking New Roads



Around me the green valley stretches upwards from the lake towards a waterfall in the north-west. Exactly opposite of the waterfall and across the lake stands an active volcano, Del Fuego, who spurts lines of orange, red and umber in the dark sky of life each night.


The developing village of Tzununa (which means Hummingbird in the local Mayan language) is a striking contrast with the crumbling of a global economic paradigm in the 'west', as new roads are being paved across the village and bits of land are being sold to new sustainable developers. In contrast to the slightly awkward and indulgent new-age town of San Marcos, Tzununa is a bare new beginning.Those that come here seek to find a more grounded way of life that would successfully mix the present indigenous cultures with their own influx – which can be quite a task (...see imperialism and colonialism). The farm I am working at right now is a great example of a successful weave.


The owner, an endearing and passionate teacher named Shad, spoke clearly about his experiences with NGO developmental work and the arrogance of the white man who 'knows what value and succes is' and which tries to force it upon 'underdeveloped' communities. The fracture that is born and perpetuated through such vain and projected ideas of 'help' damages communities. We -visitors from another world- simply can't see the whole tapestry of life by passing by with our western cerebro-centric ideologies – we have to shut up, observe, learn and spend as much energy as we can in preserving and honoring all that is still possible on our ransacked Earth.


At farms like these, a Holistic New Earth is being kindled through an intriguing collaboration between locals and foreigners. While the miraculous has already been achieved by becoming a fully functioning and financially stable Permaculture Farm at which both expat and local employees have same wage and hours, the true miracle lies not in the $$$ world. No - what is happening here is what is happening at each and every permaculture endeavor in the world: the creation of an incomprehensible harmony of abundance and collaboration between nature, mankind and the bigger elements of life on Earth.

School of Life


Soil, wind, water, sunlight and rudimentary forms of care are the root of the many magical realities that Permaculture brings forth. Like the Edible Food Forests at the heart of the farm, where in close proximity of one-another tall Papaya shrub, Mango Trees, Brazilian Bamboo, Banana plums, Mulberry trees and Tarra Roots grow while the rain waters slowly moves across the land via planned swales and waterways that lengthen the naturally occurring cycles from cloud to ocean. What becomes clear to me is that permaculture design is a way of being one and in collaboration with the whole in a way that makes my heart-chakra bloom.

Although according to Shad, permaculture is the development and maintenance of agriculturally productive eco-systems in which each element has a multitude of (by-)products and effects that support the whole organism of the farm and everyone who is (in)directly involved with it, I believe that permaculture actually does lots more than provide us with agricultural products."Permaculture is an approach that guides us to mimic the patterns and relationships we can find in nature and can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and even economics."



Without us all knowing, the time here will bring us all far beyond the curriculum of Natural Building & Permaculture only. Passion, politics, personal recovery and the cross-pollination of crops and visions go hand-in-hand in the pragmatic Garden of Eden of a Permaculture farm; which is always a School of Life for everyone involved... and by following what I've learned in the past few days, I'm beginning to realize that this kind of revival paradise is possible at nearly every geographic location on the globe.


But don’t be misguided by my idilic illustration here; places like this don't just pop our of the soil from no-where – they are the result of the wisdom of observation, patience and dedication. Looking at wildlife, mapping natural elements and endless testing of seeds, species and growth-techniques with the aim of setting up a systems whose produce feeds the system itself in an upscaling feed-back loop. Nothing less than a cell in support of it’s larger organism; ALIVE and GREEN and VIBRANT and in omnifarious support of the whole in a way that for most would seem improbable, belonging to a world of distant initiates; another person's hobby at best. While in my reality it seems to be one of the most pivotal means of maintaining and reanimating the tender and vital fabric of life that has taken us thousands (if not millions) of years to grow: our communities, our mycelium and intimacy with life.



With Love,
Your Peace Journalist


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