Permaculture is alive with possibilities of positive change.
While my husband and I have always dreamed of getting our permaculture certifications, our finances and inability to spend a month away from our children have prevented us from doing so. But that does not imply that we are incapable of bringing visions of permaculture into fruition in our own lives.
Anyone and everyone is capable of practicing permaculture techniques.
Listening to the stories of symbiotic relationships between people and people, plants and people and plants and the earth, helps to define the very essence of permaculture.
Here are our five simple ways of welcoming permaculture into your life:
1) Your permaculture goals
Make a detailed list of the aspects of permaculture you are truly interested in and want to practice more on a daily basis. Perhaps you want to be more self sufficient.
Determine the ways in which you can practically and in the present moment make slight alterations toward self sufficiency. Perhaps your goal is to grow 70% of your own produce this year. You would then research backyard permaculture gardens and start gathering the resources necessary to start your own. Perhaps you want to start a medicinal herb garden.
Figuring out how permaculture can assist you with your personal goals is a wonderful place to start. For example, this year, our goal is to integrate permaculture into the CSA Farm we manage. Our plan is to start with the orchard. With the help from Permaculture enthusiasts in our area, we will install a bio swale along the perimeter of the orchard to preserve and channel water, plant native flowers and shrubs to attract pollinators, mulch each tree with heavy compost to feed the soil, and integrate alliums to deter pests.
Bringing the basic concepts of permaculture into practice builds a strong foundation for the process as an ever evolving art form.
2) Read a book on Permaculture
There are several very well written books on the topic. Each of them are tailored to specific learning styles. Request them at your local library. Permaculture creates paths of inspiration. The reader will follow the path that is right for them. The Intro to Permaculture by Bill Mollison, Permaculture: Principle’s and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway, and The Permaculture Handbook by Peter Bane are all good books to start with.
3) Start in Your Kitchen
Make a pledge to eat only fair trade, organic, non-GMO. Support your local food economy by supporting local small scale farmers, and small green businesses in your community. Eliminating processed foods then becomes a form of direct action. Inspiring friends and family to eat healthy foods becomes a step toward positive change. Growing your own fruits and vegetables and reprogramming your brain to eat with the seasons becomes a way to reduce your carbon foot-print.
4) Start a Permaculture Network in your community
Get together often. Host workshops. Work on Projects together. Start a backyard revolution in your community. There are several free online permaculture courses available. Research them to find out what options are best for you.
5) Get the youth involved
Integrate local schools into Permaculture Projects. Teachers love new ideas and ways of engaging their students in the natural surroundings around the perimeter of their schools. Outdoor classrooms are more common. Planting trees, installing vegetable gardens, and landscaping with native plants are just a few ways to implement simple Permaculture concepts into local schools.
Crystal is the assistant head-farmer and communications specialist at La Vista CSA Farm where she manages the greenhouse, designs and updates the website, and writes for the newsletter. She and her husband and children live on a protected plot of land on the beautiful bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi, a major life vein of Mother Earth. Crystal documents farm life through journal entries, photography, and illustrations. She feels that the creative process of the mind, heart and spirit is a vital element to the human experience. She loves to integrate art and creativity into all of her endeavors: relationships, mothering, farming, writing and cooking; and believes that creativity is essential to happiness.
Crystal has written a book titled Grow.Create.Inspire. and hopes to have it published this year.
Find out more about La Vista CSA Farm at www.lavistacsa.org
Want to bring permaculture into schools? Why not take a look at Outdoor Classrooms: a handbook for school gardens
Want to learn more about permaculture? Read editor, Maddy Harland's series: What is Permaculture?