Permaculture: More Than Growing a Sustainable Future

Nature is thought to be one of life’s greatest teachers and a bedrock tenet of our existence as human beings. This certainly is true with Sean Walsh, principal and lead designer at AppleSeed Permaculture.

“My best memories of growing up are of daily forays to climb up trees and through shrubs, catch frogs and lizards, and free toads from grandma’s window well. I have always been mesmerized by the beauty of natural forms and the diversity of life,” Sean said.

Although Sean has a knack for the sciences, his college education took another path. In business school, he learned a lot about the power of economics — but he wondered about how to apply business for eco-social good. Walsh’s curiosity led him to discover the art and science of permaculture.

Permaculture and Identity

Why permaculture, and how can it be an idea worth spreading–or be intrinsically engaging or relevant to us, for that matter?

“Permaculture offers a hopeful positivist outlook on how our interactions with the world can have not only reduced negative impacts, but have demonstrably positive impacts. Instead of shrinking ourselves smaller until we lack footprints, we can make huge beneficial impacts for ourselves and the greater web of ecology as a whole,” Sean replies, “We are a keystone species. We have a role. We belong here if we can self-manage. This idea was a major paradigm-shift for me: empowering, liberating, purpose-giving. I have aligned this outlook with my career, and now I take on work that I find meaningful.”

Walsh came across permaculture first as a business application, i.e. financial permaculture, accounting for multiple forms of capital, creating organizational resilience through diversity in portfolios, and moving beyond a triple bottom line towards investments in projects that regenerate communities and landscapes.

“I came to see designing landscapes as a potential leverage point to alter so many things as it is a physical interaction between people and place. A well-designed landscape can be low or self-maintaining, reduce energy consumption of nearby buildings, produce food and fuel and other products, provide ecosystems services like stormwater management and carbon sequestration, enhance biodiversity, be beautiful and entertaining, and most importantly, landscape can alter the consciousness of the people who interact with it,” Sean said.

Two River Theater

Walsh went on to earn a Masters degree in Sustainable Land-Use Planning and Design from The Conway School of Landscape Design. With formal and informal training in both business and landscape design, he decided to use skill sets from each field to start a permaculture design business, which specializes in edible landscaping and regenerative design. After a little work on his own, Walsh joined the well-established AppleSeed Permaculture, operating an independent but highly-integrated AppleSeed office in Red Bank. He credits the team at AppleSeed as some of his earliest inspiration in permaculture.

Conversation + Play Event

For the past several years, The Navesink (producers of the TEDxNavesink conference) and Two River Theater Company have established a strong partnership to bring audiences curated evenings of entertainment with Conversation + Play.

For the 2016-2017 season’s salon-like event, guest speaker Sean Walsh will touch upon ecological design and how to install and manage a holistic, beautiful, functional, and productive landscape of your own in his talk titled “Permaculture: A Worldview of Nature Connection.” He will elaborate on how to redesign ourselves and reinvent our relationship with the world through permaculture.

Following the talk, the world-premiere comedic play “Hurricane Diane” by Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine George will give a glimpse into permaculture gardening while asking larger questions about how we live today, both in our connections with each other and our connection to nature. The play is directed by two-time Obie Award winner and Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman, and it features choreography by Emmy Award nominee Sonya Tayeh (Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance”).

Tickets for the Conversation + Play package are $75, which includes the salon-like reception — exclusive pre-show talk with discussion and Q&A, plus light dinner fare provided by Kitch Organic, LLC — and the evening performance of “Hurricane Diane” on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. The event begins at 6:30 PM.

To purchase tickets online, patrons must insert NAVESINK75 (regular event ticket price) or NAVESINK30 ($30 for those 30 years-old and under) in the Pre-Sale Access Code bar at the top of the ticket purchase page. Tickets for the Conversation + Play package, using either code, are also available from the Two River Theater box office in-person at 21 Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, NJ or via phone at 732-345-1400.

Tickets and information for the TEDxNavesink 2017: Identity conference at the historic Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ on Saturday, May 20, 2017, are available at Purchase tickets now to reserve the best seats currently possible.