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Welcome to the world of permaculture farming

Welcome to the world of permaculture farming


Welcome to the world of permaculture farming

Local woman wants residents to get out their green thumbs

AWest Memphis businesswoman is hoping to turn residents in Crittenden County onto the concepts of permaculture and urban farming.

Christine James, of Christine’s Emporium, who recently graduated from a holistic wellness practitioner program, told the Quorum Court that she is looking to start a program at area schools where children and young adults can learn how to grow clean food.

“We want to create an area where we can teach them how to grow food,” James said.

Permaculture is an agricultural technique and philosophy which brings food production closer to consumers, where people contribute toward production of their food and other needs.

James has been learning how to grow organic food at a small garden at her home on Barton Avenue and would like to expand her efforts.

“Right now people are able to come and see what I do,” James said. “But hopefully I would like to have a larger, self sustainable farm to offer programs and classes to be able to show how it is done.”

James, along with Shan- non Evans, a volunteer at Humble Bee Farm, were on hand at Art in the Park the Boys and Girls Club this past Saturday to talk to people about permaculture and urban agriculture.

“She (James) has the capability of teaching people sustainable living and how they can live off the land if our grocery stores were to close,” Evans said. “So we would love to bring a young adult, children, adult teaching program to the area to introduce Humble Bee Farm to Arts in the Park.”

James said she currently is giving the food she grows away, but would like to someday be able to see it at the local Farmers Market.

Learning how to grow organic food has not been easy. In order to be certified organic, food must be grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals.

“It has been difficult,” James said. “I have been introduced to every pest possible this year who came by my yard to feed. It is a continuous learning cycle for me to see what I can do to do it organically because it is tough. I don’t know how to do it on a large scale. But I thought why not let other people learn as I am to grow clean food. Right now we eat processed food and chemically treated food that aren’t good.”

Justice Stacey Allen asked if James was looking for county land to jump-start her efforts.

“What is it you are looking for from us,” Allen asked.

“Are you looking for land?”

James said she would like to see if West Memphis would let her use their land at the school near her home.

“Right now I am doing it in my yard on Barton across from the school,” James said. “I had visions of being able to go over there and have it be a class for children and show them how to do it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to teach our children how to grow clean food? I could be right over there and show them that.

If there were (county) land available, absolutely.”

Justice Ronnie Marconi suggested setting up a meeting with West Memphis Schools Superintendent Jon Collins.

“He might be able to help you with that,” Marconi said. “I think that would be something the kids would like to do.”

County Judge Woody Wheeless agreed.

“It might be something of interest for all our schools,” Wheeless said.

James said utilizing the schools would be ideal.

“I think it would be great for them to learn,” James said. “They have the perfect land right there. I could do permaculture. You’re not growing row crops. You are growing things that work together. I could come and show them how to do that. That would be wonderful.”

By Mark Randall

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