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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Permaculture Takes Shape at Sustainable Kashi

Mar 27, 2013 07:54PM

“At the core of permaculture is design. Design is a connection between things. It’s not water or a chicken or a tree. It is how the water, the chicken and the tree are connected.”

One of the most ambitious concepts in the sustainability movement is that of permaculture: a carefully designed community with systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable. Because the permaculture provides for its own needs without exploiting or polluting, it is sustainable in the long term.

That concept is now taking shape in Sebastian, at Sustainable Kashi, where people interested in permaculture, organic gardening and community sustainability are celebrating the possibilities of sustained healthy living on a flourishing earth.

Founded in April 2012, Sustainable Kashi is the work of four young adults who were raised at Kashi Ashram, an 80-acre intentional faith community in Sebastian. “The children raised in this community want to build upon their parents’ 30 years of life’s work,” explains Soo Se Cho of Sustainable Kashi. “They believe the permaculture principles will keep their families’ and friends’ unique culture alive and thriving for generations to come.”

Kashi Ashram was founded in 1976 by spiritual teacher Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, whose vision was to serve humanity, “feed everyone” and bring joy even to those on the margins of society. The communal living and common purpose behind the community created deep bonds among all the residents, Cho says.

“Sadly, Ma Jaya passed away in April 2012,” he says. “But her death fueled the passion of the next generation, as well as many others, to bring the extended family back together and share with others what they have learned about community. We believe that permaculture can help this community thrive in a new way, creating a more sustainable future for generations to come.”

Permaculture is guided by a set of ethics: caring for the earth, caring for people, and reinvesting the surplus that this care creates. “This logic fits perfectly with the communal living and spiritual path that Kashi has offered for the past 36 years,” he says.

Over the past year the founders of Sustainable Kashi have individually been drawn to the idea of sustainability and developed an interest in giving back to the community of Kashi, Cho says. “After the loss of Ma Jaya, who was so important to each of us, we found healing in working together and with the many people who have supported us in developing Sustainable Kashi,” he says.

The permaculture project, located on Kashi Ashram, is intended to enhance the culture and life of those who live, visit and support the ashram by hosting workshops, tours and work-study programs, Cho says. In March, Sustainable Kashi hosted the first of what its founders hope will be many full permaculture design certification courses.

“At the core of permaculture is design,” he notes. “Design is a connection between things. It’s not water or a chicken or a tree. It is how the water, the chicken and the tree are connected. Sustainable Kashi is a project that is designed in a way that builds community along with additional food sources and educational outlets.”

To learn more about Sustainable Kashi and to see photos, visit or visit the community on Facebook @SustainableKashi.

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