Just spent the last two days at Stepney City farm being introduced to the inspiring philosophy of Permaculture; it was so illuminating that I’m having trouble thinking of any other better reason to give up my weekend.
I’m not exactly Monty Don but I’ve had a fair acquaintance with food growing, what with working with the Transition Town Wandsworth at the Bramford Road Community Garden and getting the most out of my allotment near to where I live south west of London, yet I was still a bit fuzzy as to what Permaculture was all about.
So when I signed up for a two day intro to the subject I was hopeful that I’d get the clarity I wanted and, perhaps more importantly, get some pointers on how to implement the ideas in to the stuff I’m already doing.
If you’re not familiar with the whole idea here’s a succinct little line on it from the mouth of eminent permaculture practitioner Dan Hemenway: ‘Permaculture is Applied Science and Ecology; Ethical design of human systems for a sustainable future. It offers practical solutions to the global environmental and cultural crises we now face’.
Sounds good doesn’t it – but how do you make it work?
Obviously it’s too large an area to cover in two days but our instructor, Kevin – a true green wizard with a wealth of experience (and a few spells too I wouldn’t wonder) – did an amazing job of laying out the principles, detailing the ethics and explaining the what, how, where and why of the whole business. It was fantastic. He sparked so much conversation during the sessions that we all benefited not only from the course material but from each other.
That was icing on the cake for me. The people I met on the course were all fabulous – all friendly, interesting and overflowing with a desire to do things a bit differently. They were also amazing cooks: on both days we all shared the food we bought and the food was every bit as good as the conversation.
I’m not going to give a rundown of what we learned here – go to Kevin if you want that, or check out the Permaculture Association to find a course near you – but I can tell you I left there feeling renewed and re-energised. I’ve resolved to follow the permaculture path to find out where it might lead. Hopefully you’ll join me?