The Essential Practical Nature of Permaculture
I undertook my first Permaculture Design Certificate in 2005 and was blown away by the opening and revealing of new perspectives in my mind. There is literally a schism in the way I view the world that I can identify as pre-PDC and post-PDC. This is what Permaculture offers to those of us who are ready and willing to engage the way we live our lives in relation to nature and its ability to provide us with all that we need.
My life, at that moment, was not fully ready to undertake a full immersion into the practice of Permaculture as a way of being and I had to content myself with mulling over theory, reading books and the occasional stints at volunteer work when I could.
I do remember, however, being so fascinated with the design pictures that various Permaculture books would provide. So much complexity, intricacy and functional aesthetics seemed possible and I would daydream designs in my head all the time. I would walk through the world imagining gardens and food forests popping up everywhere. I would visit friends houses and I would see the designs emerging and I just knew that abundance was real, it was possible and we could all live it if only we would just get on with applying these beautiful designs.
It all seemed so easy, and in a way it is… and in a way there is also a lot more to it than merely daydreaming.
In 2015 I rearranged my entire life to engage Permaculture full-time and immerse myself in the discovery of what really was possible. I jumped at the possibility to intern at Zaytuna Farm and have been here ever since.
What I have discovered, however, is that the daydreaming and designing is just the start of the process. The reality is that implementing a design is often a lot of work. The work sometimes is repetitive and tedious, yet the beauty is in the unveiling of a fully functioning and harmonious landscape design. To see a diverse kitchen garden in all it’s glory, or a food forest emerging year-by-year through intentional and intelligent work, is a thing of incredible beauty and worth every-single-bit of the investment we give in our daily work.
For those of us new to the Permaculture journey, those of us who grew up in cities and were not blessed with the experience of managing animals and plants, of working with soil, of using garden tools, of thinking of yearly planting cycles and the entire myriad of subtle elements that goes into a Permaculture system, where to start can seem daunting.
Permaculture isn’t difficult and the skills necessary to implement Permaculture design can be learned by just about anyone, yet they are skills that need to be learnt.
Acknowledging that there is a need to learn, there is a need to find a practical starting point, that not everyone can drop everything and immerse their life into a full-time intensive practical training, and that it also just isn’t possible in a 72 hour design course to cover the practical elements us teachers often wish we could, we have sought to bridge that gap in as gentle and rapid a way as we can.
My teacher and mentor Geoff and I have designed a short course in true Permaculture fashion to provide a win-win-win scenario. Our five day hands-on training is a wonderful experience for those ready to engage Permaculture more fully and looking for a practical starting point, at the same time this experience is facilitated as a teacher-training opportunity for our hard-working interns who have lived these systems day in and day out for at least 6 months straight, and finally the input provided by students benefits the land as you will be fully interacting in a positive and functional way to continue the ongoing evolution, enhancement and refinement of Zaytuna Farm.
We all look forward eagerly to helping as many people as we can begin and continue their Permaculture journeys armed with a set of functional skills that will be invaluable in all of us being the change we wish to see on this beautiful planet.