Incremental change is hard to see. Almost 2 years in and we are just starting to see the vision take shape of what we want to accomplish. There is still a ways to go, but to see how far we’ve come gives us the motivation to keep going. What is nice about small scale farming is the equal part vision and equal part execution (since it is small scale there is some relaxation too).
In a basic sense we really want to actively participate in our own local food systems, growing what we can, saving what we can, and learn what we can source responsibly. Our vision is to transform our small suburban plot into a diverse and functional ecological system that provides for us, and our community.
Our vision is predicated on fulfilling a greater vision for the planet. I know I wouldn’t be nearly as dedicated and passionate if I did not see our direct and immediate impact on the greater whole.
We see small scale farming as a very important part of our future, and the planets future. Where some things benefit from industrial efficiency and globalization such as manufacturing and technology. Food systems do not work in this way. Natural systems work because they are diverse and complex, and the interactions are vitally important.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development summed it up best in their 2013 Trade and Environment Review titled “Wake up before it’s too late”
“The world needs a paradigm shift in agricultural development: from a “green revolution” to an “ecological intensification” approach. This implies a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production towards mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers. We need to see a move from a linear to a holistic approach in agricultural management, which recognizes that a farmer is not only a producer of agricultural goods, but also a manager of an agro-ecological system that provides quite a number of public goods and services (water, soil, landscape, energy, biodiversity, and recreation.)”
Vision is the drive to get up and keep going every morning, but the hard part is knowing what to do, and then getting the work done. To start we’ve really focused on small projects. As the projects start adding up and coming to completion, we can start to see the changes on a large scale.
This year alone we’ve gone through two major changes, the addition of the chicken coop/blueberry hill, and the continued growth of the veggie garden and perennials. Take a look at the pictures below to see how far we’ve come just since last year.
If you’re interested in the practicalities about starting your own suburban permaculture project click the link.
Jim has a strong interest in the environment and natural systems. In 2014, he traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand for 7 months and studied permaculture, yoga, and the environment. During his Permaculture Design Course he and his team developed a permaculture plan for his grandfathers suburban home. After returning to Western Massachusetts he bought the home and started implementing permaculture principles.
His hope is to give an example of ways to transform the land in the suburbs away from resource intensive lawns to productive edible systems. Along with his girlfriend Jenny has been slowly growing the 1/3 acre property into production. You can read about their progress at www.fromthegroundblog.com. He has no formal training in growing food, but believes to change the world all you can change is yourself. He is an owner of Sustainable Comfort, Inc. a Massachusetts based green building consulting firm for affordable housing development.