Listen to the podcast linked below: Critiquing Permaculture – A Deeper Look Into Permaculture – Part 2. The response that follows are my thoughts that were posted on the PermacultureVoices Podcast blog site.
Critiquing Permaculture – My Response
When I moved to my little farm 4 years ago I was just another city (suburban) kid that managed to realize the dream and buy some acreage. My farm (I like to call it a farm because it’s my vision of happiness) is 5.6 acres. Right away I started planting trees, some food producing and some not. I made mistakes in placement and many suffered my ignorance and perished. However a few of them lived. In particular I started a small orchard of mixed fruit trees. My knowledge at the time said “cut down all the existing trees and plant fruit trees”… so I did.
A couple years later (Spring of 2014) I took a PDC. This new idea had me dreaming big, but also upset that I had made the decision to cut the trees down to plant the orchard. I know that I have made lots of mistakes… but a year later looking at how my little orchard is shaping up I’m happy that I cleared that small part of land for this purpose. It is going to be attractive and will serve to educate others.
Another challenge I have is that my wife likes things “tidy”. Sometimes this frustrates me, but she represents most of how the general public looks at things. She forces me to stay realistic in how I approach my design. She is, after all, always right
I guess what I’m getting at is this… I was that NOOB that needed Permaculture to help me sort some things out, but I’m glad that I was able to get my land a few years before getting the PDC. This allowed me to make some mistakes and see how some things work. The mistakes aren’t over. I’m real good at making them.
Right away after achieving the PDC I knew there was a layer of BS that had to be cut through, but I also love to embrace what I believe Permaculture is. The 3 ethics are vital – “Care for the Earth, Care for People, Return surplus to regenerate the system”. Observing, Interacting and taking the time to observe again is also vital. There is no silver bullet. I do hang the banner of Permaculture on my humble blog site, but it is accompanied by 2 other ideas. “Permaculture, Homesteading, Real Life”. For me, just permaculture would be shallow, just homesteading would be very hard work so the real life (double meaning) is found in combining those two things.
This series of podcasts speaks very clearly to me because part of what has held (and still holds) me back is the idea of “not being permaculture enough”. I’ve even had some people tell me that the things that I’m doing aren’t Permaculture. Well, I can’t see how this is since I am practicing “Earth care, People care, and Return of Surplus to regenerate my system”. Give it any name you like (I like Permaculture), but when a person lives by these ethics always testing and trying different methods to solve the challenges of human existence in harmony with nature they are practicing Permaculture.
My wife and I are actively searching for ways to make our little farm profitable so someday I can practice and educate full time. Some of what we end up doing probably won’t look like Permaculture to some
Thanks Diego for having this discussion. Stay positive.