Name: Pat Rasmussen
Occupation: Coordinator, Edible Forest Gardens (local nonprofit in Olympia, WA)
Place of Residence: Olympia, Washington
Background: Pat has hope for our future. She believes we can save the planet and ourselves by making changes that observe and mimic Nature — doing it the way Nature does and it not only works but saves a lot of toil and hardship.
On the Education Committee of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, Olympia Chapter, Pat encourages natural building, especially using hemp as a building material. In 1994, she realized that hemp could be used instead of old growth trees, saving the forests she loves. She vowed to get legislation passed to allow farmers to grow hemp again.
In 2016, the Washington State Legislature did legalize farmers growing hemp - seeds go in the ground May of 2017. Thus was born her dream “Helping Seniors Build Hemp Tiny Homes – with Solar Panels on the Roof.” Building a prototype, then ten more hemp insulated tiny homes for seniors, will set off a new green, affordable revolution: hemp tiny homes for seniors!
Adopting the permaculture techniques of Geoff Lawton and Toby Hemenway, Pat’s nonprofit plants Edible Forest Gardens of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and perennial vegetables. In the past 10 years, Pat has planted more than 70 edible forest gardens in yards, community gardens, churches, businesses, and neighborhood pathways in Olympia, using volunteers and Evergreen State College interns.
Her method is observing and mimicking Nature, growing food the way the forest does. She gardens with mushrooms, recreating the mycelial network that farms for and carries nutrients to the plants. Her “fruit tree guild” around central fruit trees, as companion plants, boosts soil fertility, plant health and nutrient density.
She knows that minerals are the key to life — plants filled with minerals provide the nutrient density that humans and animals need to live and thrive. The food forests provide local, healthy, nutrient dense food to homes, neighborhoods and the community. The no-till, organic gardens regenerate soils and create a carbon sink.
Pat demonstrates natural water harvesting techniques: fruit tree guilds, woodchip gardening, a hugelkultur hoophouse, and swales on contour to establish food forests or perennial polycultures that show how we can reverse climate change by changing our agricultural methods to restoration agriculture.
On the Board of the Northwest Permaculture Convergence, Pat helps to plan yearly gatherings of permaculturists in Washington and Oregon.
Fun facts: From 1990 to 2007, Pat traveled the planet saving old growth forests, first as the Executive Director of the Alliance to Save the Russian Taiga Forest, then from 1997 as the Coordinator of the World Temperate Rainforest Network, helping to save millions of acres of temperate rainforests in Chile, New Zealand, Australia and from Alaska to California. Closer to her Leavenworth, Wash., home at the time, she was President of the local nonprofit Leavenworth Audubon Adopt-a-Forest where she helped save the old-growth forests of the Icicle Canyon and the Wenatchee National Forest.
Pat taught French, Russian, and English as a Second Language at Wenatchee Valley College until 1990 when she realized humans needed to change paths to create a healthy future for all life on Earth.
Websites, Gofundme and Facebook:Edible Forest Gardens