Sharon February 22nd, 2008

Voices from The Post Carbon World

Note: I’m expanding this page and will be adding new stuff and new columnists very soon.  So keep checking for updates!

  • Bat-Tzion Benjaminson
  • Bat-Tzion Benjaminson was born and raised in semi-rural Ohio. She studied Japanese art and culture at Tokyo University of Art and Japanese language at Columbia University. Her career as a Japanese to English technical and business translator has been paralleled by a hobby of organic gardening and later, permaculture. She first showed an interest in Judaism, into which she was born but not raised-in her mid-twenties. By mid-thirties she was fully immersed in Torah observant Jewish life. Now at 50, she is working to integrate and synthesise sustainable Jewish religious practices, especially those related to the land, with the best elements of permaculture practice.

    She is married to Rabbi Mordechai Benjaminson, former congregational rabbi and now pursuing a second career as a scribe. Their houseful of boys-Jacob, Israel, Abraham and Moses-keep Bat-Tzion on her toes as the sole female of the family-save for occasional hens, ponies, ducks, and so forth.

    Her keen interest in sustainable healthy living arose as she served her husband’s elderly congregation in New York City, helping the sick and noticing how much the lives of the people could improve if they had access to truly healthy food. She received her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2002 from the Ecovillage Training Center. Shortly thereafter, having moved to Israel with the whole family, she founded the Judean Permacutlure Center, an experimental micro-eco farm in the mountaintop settlement of Bat Ayin. Ultimately, the deep soil and mild climate of the southwest Negev offered more promise for true sustainability, so she established a permaculture site there at Moshav Shokeda, an agricultural cooperative village, where she is currently working on assembling the plants and animals that can eventually yield complete sustenance in a semi-arid climate, while providing the foundation for a vibrant, uniquely Jewish sustainable community, the first of its kind in Israel.

  • Melissa Norris
  • Hi everyone! I am Melissa Norris- 38 years old, mother, wife and homesteader. I have been married to my husband, Cale, for twenty years. We have four teenagers, Kadia (19), Megan (17), Lindsey (15), and Brady (13). We live on our 16 acre homestead in Southeastern Ohio. We built our house completely by ourselves trying to use natural and recycled materials. A lot of my life story is wrapped up in this house and I am sure I will be talking about it a lot more in my columns. I have always tried to live a simple, frugal lifestyle and over the years I think I have become quite an expert at it. I read money-saving books for fun, I think I have read practically every one ever written. Originally I was frugal out of necessity, but as I became more aware of the impact our collective consumptive lifestyle has on our planet, the more I was driven to be frugal by choice. I attended college to be a teacher, however after I had my second child, I decided I would rather be home. I often think that maybe, someday, I will go get a job out in the real world. Right now I am having so much fun here on the homestead, that I hate to leave. There is so much yet to be learned and new challenges to face everyday. Last year I threw away my watch, it rarely matters to me what time it is. I don’t have a lot of qualifications for writing here, I guess I do have a lot of passion though. I often think of an old proverb I have taped to my filing cabinet, “We have not inherited the Earth from our Fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.” If we don’t all try to make some little difference, the Earth they inherit may not be worth having. I hope I can help you make a difference…

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