Just outside of Bridport in Dorset is a location which not just feels, but I believe actually is, quite spiritual in its engagement of those fortunate to have been able to wander around. Its the site of Ourganics Evolving Systems.
Ourganics Evolving Systems is a market garden and from where Pat Bowcock runs a debt-free business growing salad, vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers for the local community. Pat has been living and working here for 16 years. It was originally a pony paddock. There are now raised beds, a 27 metre polytunnel, a forest garden, and other woodland planted for future generations. To water the garden, Pat has reinstated an irrigation system which had been used in the surrounding water meadows for a hundred years utilising a system of ponds and sluice gates.
Its also where Pat lives. She has a self-built timber ‘shed’ in which she eats and sleeps, and which is off grid for water and electricity – wind and sun give her all the energy she needs. Indeed in the summer, the hot water is heated directly by the sun without the need for electricity generation through solar panels. There is also compost loo and reed bed water purification system.
The project and Pat’s life revolve around the three Permaculture ethics of people care, earth care, fair share. She is a living and working example of the power of such priorities. She herself became ‘converted’ to the principles when she ‘happened’ to met and talk with a traveller getting on for some 20 years earlier. At that time she was a school teacher, just living a ‘normal’ life. She gave up that life and started to build Ourganics. Now, not surprisingly she is designated as a Permaculture Association LAND Centre, and her house, affectionately known as ‘Our Shed’, is also used as the venue for the permaculture courses, visits and tours which she runs.
I was fortunate and honoured to stay at Ourganics for a weekend. (Indeed I slept in the 64 year old caravan that Pat lived in whilst setting up the site.). As such I was able to freely wander around at all times of the day. And what glorious feeling it is. With Pat’s hospitality and cooking, and with Bee Laughton taking a few days off growing and living in the yurt (such is the aura of this place that Bee had just moved a couple of miles down the road for her holiday!!), it was a quite magical experience. One of those highlights of a lifetime. Thank you so much Pat for having me around.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC]