I’m really excited to be working with Rhonda Baird and William Faith on this one day workshop! As always it’s a chance to expand awareness of permaculture and to think critically about the problems we collectively face. I come away from these experiences feeling energised about what we’re able to do together.
You can register for the workshop here.
Permaculture is a way of being in the world often thought of as a gardening system. This is
The next rocket stove design to test, a box rocket! Luckily consumer culture has just the thing to make a stovetop, a cast iron casserole pan. It burned reasonably well when the wind wasn’t knocking over the chimney. It burnt much better when we converted it to a standard J tube (sorry no pictures). It burnt well enough and had enough functionality that I would like to test this in situ. The next steps are to build the infrastructure to set this up in a hoop, we need a concrete and a chimney. Then, we can test out some designs and zero in on a design to build!
Always, always, always, we work in context with what is before us. When we design we work from the midst of someone else’s decisions as our starting point. We enter into the scale of permanence rather than defining it.
Permaculture will not be given to us by our parents. You can’t buy it at the garden store. It won’t be shipped in from California or Chile. We need to build its systems from scratch with our own two hands.
Permaculture can only grow where we are, from that which surrounds us.
I want to take a moment to address the idea that permaculture is only a kind of “gardening”. Nothing can be further from the truth! We create our world from the things around us, permaculture helps us arrange and optimize them. Sometimes, for any number of reasons, a garden is just not possible. Permaculture still has much to offer in how we arrange those things that are not a garden.
That being said there is a great amount of leverage to be gained by interacting more closely with food. We all eat and it’s going come from somewhere. So, I’ll just throw out some guidelines that you can start with. Of course they are loosely drawn from permaculture’s principles.
Give yourself some time to find the right place for your garden. Limit your work and perhaps be ready to move it until you’ve had a couple of seasons under your belt.
Generally work in the smallest complete chunk you can. That way you get to keep whatever you pull off.
Bigger is not necessarily better. A small garden is a fine place to start!
Be on the lookout for natural patterns that you can take advantage of or need to guard against.
Allow your garden to evolve. It will be what effort you are able to put into it and that’s OK.
How much effort will it actually take? Multiply the time it takes by three.
Always be ready to roll with what happens. Sometimes your ability to work in the garden just stops or an explosion of growth can seemingly happen overnight.
Consider a few perennials. I’ve got two kinds of strawberries, gooseberries, lovage, chinese lanterns, hops, mint, lemon balm, bee balm, lavender, mushrooms, and rhubarb growing in the few square feet I have around my home, in addition to the ornamental plants that were already there. And some potatoes, all with less than an hours work this year.
Alternatives? Support farmers and farmer’s markets first, local coops and stores next, before shopping at any supermarket.
It’s also it’s good to keep something growing even if it’s just one plant.
It’s pretty certain that someday people are going to have to be much more in tune with their food and where it comes from. But that someday is somewhere in the future. For now we just have to be ahead of any change that’s coming. In the meantime there are many other things that also need our attention. If gardening is not something you can really do, find a placeholder and then work on the aspects of your life you can change.