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2012 SYSTEM-Redesign: Rhubarb, Urban Garden Farming and LLOOFing

Beginning now, I’m working to allow for the rewiring of the past fat-pie and o’k art farming years (officially, beginning in 2008, on this blog) to re-emerge and trying, trying, trying to tend to weekly entries on this blog, for the sake of creating an organizational structure that will keep me moving steady on, focused, and allow me to learn a little more about myself and my connection to the blessed, world all around.  

In the past wild and wooly year, along with meeting some VERY wonderful folks and feeling energized by on-going, loving friendships, I’m going through yet another epic chapter of general life-system re-design, age-related growing-up and down issues.  I keep telling my 20 something year old “grown-up” children that it seems the adventure never ends, it just changes direction and we make choices to navigate or ride along.  Sounds simple, right?


Spurring the delving deeper in my permaculture studies, I found solace in the advice of Donella Meadows, a left-brain thinker and author of Thinking in Systems: A Primer.…with threads and pathways to the answers of basic and general questions like:  If the filthy rotten system sucks, why are we still a part of it?  I’ve also had the pleasure of conjuring up in real life a living, breathing, dear friendship with yet another left-brainer and science guy who has an insider view, having spent most of his life directly, dallying in the “system”,  putting the brakes on, attempting to come to a schreeching halt, and continues to do the rest of his life-work naming, calling out and throwing off the shackles, one by one. I’ve had good company.

May harvest of mighty, lovely Rhubarb

As I begin a garden-farming season, I’m humbled to realize the absolute importance of stepping around obstacles in my path way AND to the dire need to compost, letting go of that which can not be integrated, and for nature to do the work I can not.  I concoct certain practices, or take advantage of a few basic and favorite, meditative daily chores to keep me company as this stepping aside and letting go occurs…because the gaps between this and that, the switching out or leaving are definitely challenging at times.  It means not knowing and losing control, which for a maker and doer like me causes a bit of concern and perhaps panic.

So this rewiring includes my need to re-dedicate myself to pie-baking therapy and find ways to re-work  and re-design my longtime life-on-earth career of art, gardening and environmental education. I continue to try to create a system with  less emphasis and need of a steady source of greenbacks from a filthy rotten capitalistic, economic system,  and much more on a valuable, and worthwhile exchange of my time and energy so that I can do something with all the wonderful rhubarb that is ready to harvest and be made into pies.

To begin my summer of storytelling/recording my urban garden-farming work and thoughts on community gardening, etc., with an explanation of  a system called LLOOFing and how it works into a grow your own urban farm project.

Heard of WWOOF? Well, hereʼs an opportunity to get a whiff of an exciting new opportunity to LLOOF!

What is LLOOFing? LLOOFing is: Learning Local on Organic Farms. LLOOF is organizational framework creating an educational and cultural exchange in our home-towns. And, it is debuting in Traverse City. The LLOOF project is an exciting new opportunity taking place this summer, for 16 year olds through adult aged-folks, to take part in a local, urban farming project.
What is the origin and inspiration of LLOOF?
LLOOF is inspired by the principle of exchange, and in particular by WWOOF which is a worldwide network of organizations connecting individuals with the desire to gain a first-hand experience of organic farming to hosts willing to share insights into sustainable ways of living.
Founded in England in 1971, the early organization was the initiative of Sue Coppard, a London secretary who recognized the need for city-dwellers to get away from their desks and the demand for a more practical understanding of organic farming. Originally called ʻWorking Weekends on Organic Farmsʼ, large numbers immediately responded to the concept of skills trade.
The name was later changed to ʻWilling Workers on Organic Farmsʼ, in recognition of the demand for longer stays; and more recently, to ʻWorldwide Opportunities on Organic Farmsʼ, which acknowledges the international nature of the organization as WWOOF has gradually been adopted by countries world- over, in climates as diverse as Scotland and Sierra Leone.
An early spring peek inside the “Hobbit Greenhouse”

 The difference between LLOOFing and WWOOFing is bringing the focus of experience back to “zone 0”, or to re-wire some of the broken down systems in our home-places before trekking out across the beautiful planet. We still encourage learning and experiencing world-wide adventures, but, most of us return home, and wish for it to be welcome return. LLOOFing is focused on LEARNING and applying what we learn to local exchange, right where our roots are, and where we come from.

LLOOF will begin offering exchange opportunities with the 2012 Market Garden and Oʼk CSA program. In this first-time exchange program, volunteers willing to work an agreed number of hours (Generally, five-four hour days…work hours for newly skilled workers are valued @ $9 per hour…. five days a week).
Although LLOOFers do not have housing provided for them, in exchange for their work hours they will receive:
1.) A 5 week Introduction to Urban Permaculture training, valued at $650.00, with an opportunity to continue in a full Permaculture Design Course in 2013, at a discounted rate. (See more info below)
2.) A full share in the Market Garden and CSA, valued at $350.00, which includes fresh veggies, herbs, and flowers.
3.) An opportunity to take produce, flowers and herbs that the LLOOFing crew has grown in our urban garden farms to a weekly market for sale (after costs are covered).
4.) A friendly and welcome invitation into the urban garden farming community in the Traverse City region, with wonderful opportunities to meet like-minded and brilliantly ordinary people who are making great change in their lives and with the benefit of growing their own good food.
ABOUT The Urban Permaculture Design training: The Introduction to Urban Permaculture Design is a prerequisite to earning a Permaculture Design Certificate through Little Artshram
To earn a PDC requires no less than 72 hours of class time plus a group design project, field practice and a final test. (See attached brochure on the Intro to UPD)
After the 2012 growing season, and pilot of LLOOF with a Market Garden and CSA program in Traverse City, our vision is to expand and offer LLOOF throughout Michigan, dividing into regions. Each regionʼs organization will exist independently within the LLOOF network and charge a low annual membership fee from LLOOFers in exchange for host contact details, from which LLOOFers can organize their stay directly.
LLOOF is founded/created by Penny O’Krebiehl, who continues to develop art and permaculture projects and programs for children, youth and families in Michigan, recognizing the continued need for city and town-folks to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of practicing urban gardening, farming. LLOOF is also a means by which to share permaculture education directly linking to developing food security plans, as we learn to live a lower energy lifestyle.
CONTACT: Penny Krebiehl
[email protected]


Updates on the LLOOF program and Urban Farm Project will also be posted weekly, at:

Likewise, for a Market Garden and CSA share membership or sponsorship, contact me at the email and phone above.  Information will also be available at each of the urban garden-farm sites for interested neighborhood folks.