Applied permaculture lifestyle question: I live in Fairfield, IA where you recently taught a weekend intensive. Now some of us who attended are planning to implement the technique as appropriate in our 100-acre broadscale permaculture design. As I get more involved in the permaculture world there are endless opportunities to be involved in awesome projects. How do you manage to stay balanced amidst the high demand for your time and being involved in everyone's projects? I.e. What defines your membrane or filter?
Excellent question and something that I am probably not the best person to answer as its a constant battle. The fact is that most farmers work at least 12 hour days and people like me who farm and consult and advocate etc. do even more and if you were to ask my kids and wife they'll tell you that getting me to not work is a constant challenge such is the breadth of the task and the increasing demands...Certainly looking at the work of the Salatin family shows us that you can do it, but they also have the workaholic gene that means switching off is difficult to do. Having a real winter as you do in the US certainly would help and its something that we Aussies don't have: with water, growth never stops except for the small time when soil temps drop below 10C and there is always something to occupy this life with. I would look to the work and life of people like Su Dennett & David Holmgren who I reckon have got it pretty sorted. They've always got stuff on but manage a landscape, business and life but have gradually reduced their workload overall: a prime example of a successful Permaculture succession. If you are looking at doing AGriculture and on a 100 acres and feeding all those people who are not feeding themselves then you'll be working hard, no two ways there!! Read 'You Can Farm' and 'Family-Friendly Farming' and you'll get a pretty good idea of what's in store otherwise go smaller scale Permaculture, don't do debt and live a great life close to home - ultimately what we'd like to see is the new normal and the outcome of the concentrated efforts of people like myself...
Thanks Luke. point is we are all doing our best and there are high demands when you are in the minority....the fusion of Holistic Management decision making, techniques and approaches, Permaculture techniques, ethics and design principles (along with other great ecological design principles) and placed into a Regen10/Keyline Scale of Permanence prioritisation framework pretty well sums up our world view and the actions we take. All the best, Darren
It’s so awesome to have a knowledgeable and inspirational guy like Darren responding to Q&A.. I'd just like to expand on this "balancing demands" post.
I'm very new to permaculture but it has literally changed my life, I'm a 24 year old male from the North East U.S. and I'm looking to get into a PDC course this year, but already know I want to go beyond and get an advanced PDC and then hopefully find a lengthy intern/apprenticeship to put some of these teaching to practice. From there I'd like to go on and help with projects globally or try and teach PDC's here in the U.S. Basically, I fell at this point in life, I want to make Permaculture "my job" and the earthworks aspect of it interests me the most.
So I'd like to ask Darren for any advice for burgeoning permaculturists/keyliners/regen agriculturists... I'd love any additional input or advice from a guy that’s "been there/done that"!