Transition Palo Alto’s Spring Share Faire is March 15 at Lucie Stern Community Center, Fireside Room and Patio, Palo Alto, CA. Sunday, March 15, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Included here: Interview with Skill Share presenter Nick Turner of deep nature gardens by Willi Paul, Magazine.

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It's the Spring Share Faire!

Bring stuff to share - garden produce, books, clothes, crafts, toys, etc., AND learn new skills. Plus fun activities for kids!

We're excited to be holding our first Share Faire at Lucie Stern Community Center. The Fireside Room will give us some wonderful indoor space (and a place to hide from the rain, if only!). The Patio will allow us to spread out, holding many skill shares and sharing lots of goods, as usual.

We've had quite a few teachers approach us, some who've shared skills before and who have new things to offer, others who are first timers. You'll want to spend a little time visiting them all. And there's certainly room for a couple more: if you have a skill to share, let us know and we'll see if we can fit you in. Contact Peter Ruddock (PeterRuddock at if you are interested.

Confirmed Skill Shares so far -

Cecile Andrews, author of Living Room Revolution, will stir up a little Patio Revolution. She will lead a Conversation Circle about Conversation and Community!

Tom Kabat will help with bike maintenance, chain oil and adjustment etc. Bring any parts you want to install (e.g. new brake cable, brake pads, inner-tube etc.) Experienced bike fixer / ergonomic adjuster available to work with you.

Emily Rosen CMT, will facilitate massage, working with people in pairs. Sooooothe and connect. Partner up with a friend and learn some great techniques for 10 minute seated massage. We could all use some TLC!

Amanda Kovattana will demo simple shoe making skills using readily available hand tools and instructions. As a student shoe maker in her second year, she will speak to her successes and failures and show shoe samples of both.

Nick Turner of deep nature gardens ( see interview below) will offer pre-sprouted "eco-packs" - small pots containing a variety of interesting plants, many of them not available in nurseries, and he will demonstrate how to create them using planting mix, a pot, and the special "eco-mix" seed mixture. People can make up an eco-pack of their own and take it home for sprouting. There will also be eco-mix in small bottles, useful for boosting the diversity of any nature garden, plus more cool stuff as available.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) will be providing some give-a-ways and sharing information about their programs that benefit the community. NHN has a Backyard Program for Gardeners-Beekeepers-Coopsters. Come see their backyard garden program display, receive seeds and more.

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Interview with Nick by Willi -

Is ecosystem farming also called urban agriculture and/or permaculture?

You can call it that if you want to, but I don't.

Ecosystem farming can be done in an urban environment, but the urban-ness is not important. It is simply the idea of a farm as an ecosystem, meaning that nothing is wasted and everything gets recycled back into the system. This involves good composting, good soil management, proper lighting and microclimate, and a complete nutrient cycle. Nutrients are given to the world in the form of edible or useful products, and they are received from the world in the form of kitchen scraps for compost, along with other input nutrient streams.

Permaculture principles are applied in an ecosystem farm because they are valuable basic ideas that have great application in any ecosystem farm, but that does not make every ecosystem farm into a permaculture example. All proper permaculture farms are ecosystem farms, but not all ecosystem farms are permaculture farms. Ecosystem farming also applies to enclosed ecosystems such as bio-enclosed greenhouses where permaculture principles are less prominent.

How do you teach sustainability at the TPA Spring Share Faire?

I do not explicitly teach sustainability at the Share Faires. What I share are ways to introduce greater beauty, diversity, and abundance into suburban and rural gardens and farms, using the principles of deep nature gardening and ecosystem farming. Sustainability is a natural outgrowth of this teaching of beauty, diversity, and abundance.

Species extinction is a huge issue at this time in human history. Are you addressing it at deep nature gardens or other communities?

Deep nature gardening is all about preserving species diversity. In a deep nature garden we are much more interested in unknown sprouts and unidentified species than we are in any kind of "commercial" plants. In a deep nature garden there is no such thing as a "weed." We celebrate unidentified sprouts and nurture them until they can be identified. Many fascinating, unusual species continue to emerge as this wonderful adventure continues, and many of those unusual, sometimes rare plants end up in client gardens. Of course, all these rare plants attract their own kinds of rare insects and other critters, further increasing the diversity of all of the gardens. All of this helps to preserve the species diversity of Gaia here on Planet Earth.

Are there small or big rituals in your approach to a sacred or deep Nature garden?

I do not ever use the word "sacred" in connection with gardens or farms, because there are many people who have various emotional associations with highly colored words like that. Whether a garden is "sacred" is a judgment I leave to the garden's owner. As for rituals, I also leave that up to the garden's owner. What I am all about is preserving and enhancing Gaia's wonderful species diversity, beauty, and abundance. To me on a very personal level that work is definitely "sacred," but I do not force that view onto my clients, and there aren't any particular rituals involved, other than the practical working patterns I use to create and evolve these gardens.

What are the challenges when constructing an enclosed balcony garden?

The answer to this depends on the specifics of the balcony. Whether it is enclosed or open, there may be big issues around microclimate. Balcony gardens in general tend to have problems with light, humidity, wind, and temperature. But every balcony is different. Balcony and patio gardens, whether they are enclosed or not, require careful attention to these factors. Each situation is unique.

Having said that, any kind of container garden has some common issues, including rapid drying, nutrient depletion, and much more. Container gardening can be challenging, especially on a balcony or outdoor patio.

Can a vegetable patch be a Nature garden?

Of course! But most veggie patches are far from nature gardens. For it to be a nature garden, it must feature a full, complete ecosystem, including critters that eat the plants, and critters that eat those critters. Since most veggie gardeners prefer not to have aphids or caterpillars in their vegetable patches, they are not nature gardens.

Is a seed bomb like an eco-pack?

Seed bombs are tossed into vacant lots by "guerrilla gardeners.” A seed bomb is like an eco-pack in the sense that it is a way to introduce new diversity into an area of soil, but it's different in that an eco-pack is a carefully created collection of plants in one container, resulting from a months-long process of thinning and pruning. A seed bomb is a collection of seeds tossed into an area and then (probably!) forgotten, in the hope that some of those seeds might sprout and survive in the area where it is tossed.

Eco-packs are carefully evolved and specifically planted in owner-authorized places where their selected plant species have a good chance of growing and becoming naturalized. Seed bombs are far more haphazard, often illegal, and far more random.

You have many shovels in the ground, Nick! What is a “Local Resilience Ecosystem” vs. a deep Nature garden?

A Local Resilience Ecosystem is a collection of humans who bring various forms of produced abundance to gatherings where they share that abundance with each other without any form of "value accounting." It is a human activity designed to help all of us become more abundantly, sustainably, prosperous by sharing our produced goodness. There is much more here.

A deep nature garden is an area of the surface of our beloved planet Earth where one or more humans act to create, preserve, and enhance the beauty, diversity, and abundance of the local biological ecosystem.

Thanks for the good work you are doing.

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Nick Turner's Bio -

After more than three decades as a computer firmware engineer, Nick Turner returned to his deepest roots as an experimental and practical ecosystem gardener. Now he helps people turn ordinary lawns and shrubberies into beautiful, diverse, abundant nature gardens, and he helps to create productive food farms in suburban spaces. The work is called deep nature gardening and ecosystem farming. Nick's current calling as a garden and farm ecology consultant suits his personality far better than cubicle-based software design!

Connections -

Nick Turner / deep nature gardens
nick at
land line: 650-323-7864
cell: 650-380-0036

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