Permaculture, Urban Gardening and the New Outdoors

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by WOW Talks on 03 October 2011
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By Sarah Coursey

There’s a movement brewing in back gardens and roof terraces across London.  Permaculture, or sustainable agriculture, is sweeping the nation’s capital, one turnip at a time.  A champion of its benefits is Kevin Mascarenas.

Kevin is living the green dream of promoting permaculture through courses, consulting and landscape design.  WOW Talks caught up with him in South Kensington at the Tea Garden of the Evolve Wellness Centre, one of his many projects.

A trained engineer, Kevin was always intrigued by system design.  He was working in a rather indoor environment for major corporations, in a completely different world.

Kevin explained, “When the pain of investment banking became too much, I got out.” He did his homework, traveling over the past two years to Latin America and Australia, sinking his teeth into regenerative planting and harvesting and the hardworking, innovative people behind these projects.  Kevin visited worm farms in Guatemala and citrus growers in the land down under, and has taken all of this knowledge back to England.

One of his recent projects is a forest garden at Occombe Farm in South Devon.  One of the key principles is to pack in useful species into a   small area thus the forest garden becomes an intensive and highly productive system.

The garden is created by mimicking the arboreal structure of a young open woodland, to produce useful crops at every height from the canopy down to the underground layer.

There is an eco-political tone in Kevin’s work, as well as an emphasis on sustainability that starts at home.  He explained,” We believe that creating abundance doesn’t have to be at the expense of the planet.”  He also noted,” growing your own organic food can be fun, inexpensive, not difficult, and for all the family.”  He effectively shatters the myth that people with limited time and resources, especially the poor, are excluded from the opportunity to grow healthy fruit and veg.

To read more about Kevin’s activities, visit his website: