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Why did you become a permie?

 
pollinator
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Location: Green County, Kentucky
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I think for me it started with foraging for wild foods as a child -- not just cranberries and blueberries and wild currants and wild raspberries in the Interior of Alaska, but also the hunting and fishing, and having a garden; we raised or foraged/hunted/fished for most of our food.  Then we moved back to Oregon and my brothers and sisters and I and a whole bunch of cousins who were neighbors all ran wild all over the place, and we helped our mothers pick fruits from the old orchards planted by our great-grandparents, and we made applesauce, and canned apple pie filling, and froze some of it; we canned plums, and pears, and drove over to the Willamette Valley from the Coast where we lived, and bought boxes and boxes of peaches to can, and green beans.  We picked the little wild blackberries, enough to can fifty quarts of blackberry jam every summer.  We didn't have a cow anymore (we did have one in Alaska), but Mom bought raw milk from a neighbor who had a dairy, and what we didn't drink fresh was made into cottage cheese and butter.  We picked some salmonberries, too, and the wild huckleberries (which are not really huckleberries, but are in the vaccinium family along with blueberries).  My grandfather sometimes had venison for us, or steelhead from the river, and once in a while in the summer us kids would take some rotting meat and catch crawdads out of the river and we'd boil them up and have a crawdad feed. About once a year, too, we would go to the mud flats at the mouth of our river, where it emptied out into the main Siuslaw River, and dig clams, and make clam chowder and fried clams, and clam fritters.  Then we'd freeze the rest for the winter.

When I went to college (in Sitka, Alaska), my majors were forestry and fisheries; I met my husband there (he was majoring in forestry).  We picked up a copy of J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops early in our marriage, and agreed that we wanted a place where we could plant crop trees.  Along the way, whenever we found something useful, we used it.  The first house we bought was in downtown Tacoma (he had joined the Air Force and was stationed at McChord AFB) but it had a big old pear tree and an old plum tree in the back yard, and a quince at the corner of the front porch, and we used the fruit from those.  We planted a garden in the back yard, kept a few ducks, and raised meat rabbits in the garage.  Later we were back in the Willamette Valley (husband was stationed at a little radar site west of Dallas, OR), and again, we gardened, and foraged.  We picked up a bunch of acorns from some Oregon white oaks and made flour out of them, and baked with it (it was good, too).  

It wasn't too long after that that we found Bill Mollison's Permaculture: A Designer's Manual (and I just had to look that up to make sure I had the title right, and am wishing I'd kept our copy when my marriage broke up, LOL!  Wow!  That book has gotten expensive!).  We loved all the ideas in that book, and learned so much more than we already knew.  I've moved too many times since then, but just about every place we've lived, we've planted fruit trees and berries and other things, and tried to apply as much as we could from the permaculture principles.  It's getting harder as I get older and my back is a hard stop some days, but I still want to plant and grow as much as I can.  One reason I chose Kentucky to move to was because here we have soils and precipitation that help us rather than hindering.  

I have a theory that permaculture is an attempt to recreate the Garden of Eden.  Or at least that childhood of roaming and rambling, building forts, climbing trees, and feasting on both wild and domestic plants and their fruits as we found them.

 
Posts: 114
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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In 1975 the BBC in the UK aired a show called ‘The good life’  and at the age of 14 I was hooked...Since then it’s been a journey of learning and experimenting. I was clearly ahead of my friends and work colleagues in understanding about working with nature instead of against it...I was called a hippie a lot! Even though I wasn’t one. But finally it seems the world has worked it out.... you do less work, for more gain!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00732tl
 
gardener
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I was always into exploring nature, gardening, hiking, and bicycling, even though no one else in my family was.  I saw an orchard at someone's house when I was a kid and vowed to figure out how to do that when I was an adult.  Later, while doing that, I was doing research on growing fruit trees in a healthy way.  I noticed that all of the best orchardists that I respected the most,  all espoused permaculture ideas.  All of the ideas just made so much sense to me and fascinated me.  It was like I was meant to go in this direction. I found this site and never looked back.  I have learned a ton here and I love being part of a group of people who are discovering things together and sharing ideas.

John S
PDX OR
 
Posts: 202
Location: Málaga, Spain
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If you can call yourself a permie when you start advocating and practicing the techniques developed by Mollison and company, then I'm just into it since last year. But I've always had a long for 'permanence'. I'm more the technician, I intuitively understand mechanics and usually fix things around. Not exactly a geek, but I love to toy with computers and smartphones, and efficient long-lasting machines. I must say that I'm not really fond of animals or plants, and my major interest of them is for the food.
But I do care about ecosystems, precisely because I care about permanence, sustainability. And this led me to care about pollution and waste. So, I was trying to reduce my ecological footprint while living the urban life, step by step, maybe without much success. Whenever I could I purchased for durability and resilience and tried not to buy things I didn't reaally need.

I was introduced to permaculture after a discussion I had with a friend about soil erosion. The IPCC had released a document on soil erosion (Land report?) and I was commenting the report to friends, when they told me that there were no soil loss in the land, that for the major part it was completely flat and that the soil remains mostly there, so how could that be an issue at all?. So I researched. I learned that soil and dirt were different things. And I learned about some regenerative farming techiques, and finally got to Geoff Lawton's Greening the desert project. Common sense, low tech but scientifically sound practices. That opened a whole new world of hope and possibilities (not meant for me, of course, since I am too urbanite to get my hands dirty). But still... I missed the flavour of mature fruit and vegetables, not the plastic taste they seem to have now.
Then I took the step. I wanted to grow some food in my appartment terrace, but my wife was against it, she wanted just flowers, not bad smells or anything. I started slowly composting very small kitchen scraps in a small bucket. It turned out well. Then I tried some veggies in pots, and that worked bad, I killed pretty much everything I tried to grow (I suspect too much irrigation). Then I looked for some place to do this on a bigger scale and found that our local urban garden was already doing some compost and were very open to let me place a trash can to make my own tumbler composter. I saw lots of possibilities within this garden.

Suddenly all the pieces came together.

I had the need to make something meaningful with my life. I had the desire to bring some positive change to the ecosystem. I had the permaculture videos for inspiration. I had the semi-abandoned garden ten minutes from home. They needed help, so I joined as a gardener. Me, who had never bent over to get potatoes and who could barely help my family with an olive orchard due to allergy, I am now digging beds, planting seeds, foraging wilds and prunning trees as a hobby twice a week. Trying to bring back enthusiasm to the other gardeners. Changing their collectivistic organic farming into permaculture gardening. And they are coming back despite the restrictions and the pandemic fear to help me turn this into a lively dryland garden. That in turn brought me joy.

So I could say that now I am into permaculture.


 
Posts: 196
Location: Iron River MI
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:"Why did you become a permie?"

For me, permaculture presents a clear path to a positive future, for me, for humanity, and for the rest of the living world.



Awesome! We need shirts made that say that!



I’d buy one! Maybe even two haha.

That simple statement really embodies what got me into permaculture as well. I was overworked, depressed and stressed out several years ago. It led to a bit of a mental blowout/breakdown and as I came out of that state I had a vision of my wife and I in what I can only describe as the biblical Gadden of Eden. I realized that we can (re)create that place and in doing so, better our lives and the lives of everyone and everything around us. Shortly after, I came across the book Gaia’s Garden (very highly recommended!) and that book was my introduction to permaculture as an official concept and lifestyle. Now, literally everything I do is filtered through a sustainability lens and permaculture is always on my mind. I very honestly feel that embracing this lifestyle is why we are here on this planet as a species. To embody oneness with our friends, family, food and environment. To be one love!
 
Brody Ekberg
Posts: 196
Location: Iron River MI
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I have a theory that permaculture is an attempt to recreate the Garden of Eden.  Or at least that childhood of roaming and rambling, building forts, climbing trees, and feasting on both wild and domestic plants and their fruits as we found them.



Yes! My thoughts exactly! My dream is to recreate our own little zone 4 piece of Eden here in Michigan’s upper peninsula.
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