Since returning from the Sustainable Living Tour I keep getting asked about my trip! “How was it? Where was it? What did you do?” It’s been a bit difficult to answer those questions, we did so much! Each day was a new place, new topic, & new discoveries. There are so many things I want to share from my time on the tour, I figured it’d be best to give you an overview of the trip first!
Organized by Earth Journeys, The Sustainable Living Tour is a 12 day traveling bus tour around the top Southern California permaculture farms, eco-education centers, intentional communities, & eco-villages. Jam packed with learning, bonding, & inspiration at each stop!
Prior to leaving, I didn’t really know what any of that meant… I just knew that I was interested in making my life a bit greener, more sustainable, & as connected with nature as possible. I quickly realized the tour would involve a lot more self-reflection & growth than I anticipated.
Listed below are all the stops we made & what we did there! Since we covered so much, I’ll be doing additional posts about the various bold topics for new blog series I’m calling #SustainableSundays. Once a month (or more) I’ll be sharing a detailed glimpse into what I learned & how I am applying it in my own life.
My hope is that by spacing out the subjects, you will learn more from them, be inspired to join me in making positive changes, & start to share your own #SustainableSunday journey. Even if it’s just going to your local farmers market each week!
The tour started off with a bit of an emotional wake up call. At least for me anyway! I think it was a mixture of excitement & nerves, but I was “over flowing with passion” from day one. Moonlight Ranch was not a permaculture or sustainable farm (yet!) but it was great to start of the trip getting to know everyone & connecting with nature. While there, we discussed our core values & various crisis’ going on in our world. & To start the tour off with a bang, we had a surprise musical performance by Gaea Soul!
The Ecology Center
Day 3 we packed up camp & took our first day trip to The Ecology Center! There, we learned some of the Permaculture basics & how to implement them in our own homes! We also learned about various plants medicinal properties & how to use them for Tinctures!
Emerald Village was the first Intentional Community I have ever been to. If you are unfamiliar with Intentional Communities, they are planned residential communities where the members share some degree of resources & common values. This was a totally new concept for me, so it was super interesting to speak with the owners panel about their experience. My favorite quote, amongst the many polygamy jokes, was that it is an “investment in myself, something I can stand behind, & a version of the world I want to see.” All of the residents were so wonderful. It was inspiring to see an how each of them follow their passions while co-exist in a modern society.
We also had a lesson on Eco-Villages from the woman who wrote the book on it, Diana Leafe Christian! I could have listened to her tell stories about the different Eco-Villages around the world for days.
The time we spent at Emerald Village was the hardest part of the trip for me. I was surrounded by such inspiring people & learning about some amazing things. But we also did a few exercises to help us cope with any feelings or fears we had that could be holding us back.
Keep an eye out for #SustainableSunday posts about our Empowerment Circle, Composting & Bokashi lesson, & how we can all be a bit more like the Humanitarian Rob Greenfield.
Wild Willow Farms
Located just 15 minuets south of Downtown San Diego, Wild Willow Farms was the first “Farm” we went to! I loved this place because their focus is on helping you grow healthier food in your climate! They teach various farming & gardening classes applicable to all levels of interest! While there, I harvested & made Amaranth Popcorn, my new favorite superfood!Cal-Earth Institute
I may actually move to Cal-Earth it was so cool. That & they have workshops & an apprenticeship program I want to do. Cal-Earth Institute is an earth art & architecture non profit organization that teaches how every person can build their own safe & sustainable home. Cal-Earth’s founder, Nader Khalili, developed a Natural Building technique called SuperAdobe that uses the earth under our feet to create lasting environmentally friendly structures. They have been studied by NASA, used by the United Nations, & will one day be seen in my future backyard!
“Earth turns to gold in the hands of the wise.” -Rumi
LA Eco Village
LA Eco Village was the most urban stop on our tour. A vision that began before I was born, has since become a two block neighborhood in East Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA. Although I do not see myself in a place like this, it was interesting talking to the founder Lois & seeing another way to achieve lower environmental impacts while raising the quality of community life.
East End Eden
Located in Ojai, CA East End Eden is a small Permaculture farm. Still wondering what Permaculture is? I’ll be doing a #SustainableSunday post on the topic, but basically it “is about creating permanent culture. The lifespan of a culture is dependant upon consistent availability of natural resources. The permaculture approach seeks to achieve such consistency through the creation of human-centric cultivated eco-systems & the preservation of existing ecologies.”
While at East End Eden, permaculture designer & teacher, Connor Jones, led a property tour! He gave us a more in depth lesson on permaculture in Ojai & the watershed restoration he had done. Ray Cirino taught about resource upcycling & rocket stoves too. Then, we got to ride the upcycled radar dish across the pond!
Surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest, Quail Springs is located in the Cuyama Valley. It is a collective of educators, farmers, ecologists, natural builders, chefs, artists & other team members who empower students with knowledge & skills essential to cultivating ecological and social health. They were the largest permaculture institute we went to & offer various courses & programs on site! While there, I got to take 16 goats on a walk (a day in the life of a fiber farmer perhaps?) & face my fear of bees!
Connecting with Changemakers
We ended the trip in the same place it started, but returned as slightly different people. Maybe different is the wrong word, but definitely more grounded. A few of last year’s tour attendees joined us at Moonlight Ranch. Together we focused on how this experience has & will impact our lifestyle design & business development.
I went on this trip to learn what it would be like to have a Sustainable Fiber Farm, to decide if it was really something I wanted to do. I still don’t have every detail figured out, but I can’t wait to discover more! I have a clear mission & vision now. I am a part of a growing community that will help keep me accountable & I’ve made some amazing friends along the way. You can too!
Earth Journeys has monthly meet ups in Southern California & you can bet I’ll be there! They say community is the foundation for change, but it’s also on of mine for happiness. So if any of these topics sparked your interest join me at the next meet up! Let me know what you are excited to hear more about, & start to share your own #SustainableSunday journey!
Peace & Love,
Megan Nicole Boyd
If this post made you happy, please help me make other people happy too! Share this post & pin a photo for them to see!