There’s lots of talk about crazy weather and Global Weather Weirding and world talks about what countries need to do, but can one individual do something that multiplied by lots of similarly minded people doing, that will make a difference?
That made me wonder if every Permie on permies.com planted a mini-guild on a friend/family member/local official/boulevard strip/needy family's front lawn for this Holiday Season, what would that do to spread the message that permaculture is an accessible, workable, yummy solution to helping our planet heal?
Could we do this?
1. Put out the word.
2. Could local permie experts make some suggestions of plant guilds for cities across the planet? (ie. what's going to work in Texas isn't going to be right for Ottawa.) Permies has lots of beginners on it that might feel better about having a starting point that's more precise than the general "have a central fruit tree, a nitrogen fixer and all 7 layers (the latter being quite impractical for a beginner small project unless you get it perfectly right - at the very least, vines are usually added a few years after the central tree has had time to establish itself).
3. Use this forum as a contact point for local people who are attempting this to share cuttings/raw materials/labor that would be useful. For example, I just started rooting cuttings of Kousa Dogwood which is pretty, unusual and yummy (in my opinion). If enough of them take, I would gladly donate 4 of them to local projects.
4. Encourage people to post their ideas/pictures/progress on this forum to help keep the momentum going.
5. Set a goal and keep score - with an organization like permies setting a goal like "1000 new tree guilds" in the US, and keeping score like crowd-sourcing does, it might encourage people and keep the momentum going.
Number one has already been given to the planet with:
- punky wood to hold water - chestnut as the central tree
- Seabuckthorn to fix nitrogen
- several small gooseberries at the edge to "hopefully" keep the deer at bay
- some comfrey and oregano as the herb layer
- 2 home-made olla pots so I can hopefully keep it alive if we have a bad drought next summer like we did this year.
This is a fairly small space in a steep rocky area that has mostly grown weeds for 10 years. It's in the Pacific North West just west of huge cedar and fir trees, so light is an issue. Suggestions are welcome.
I planted it for my friends Laurel and Mary who both *love* fresh roasted chestnuts, but don't have a place to plant chestnut trees. Happy New Year to both of them! (Yeah, yeah, it'll take a few years before they can collect on it, but isn't that what it's going to take to save humanity - decrease our desire for instant gratification and plan for the long haul!)
So Permies, are you up to the opportunity to save the planet one tree guild at a time?
Yes, John, I think it is. There are still many people who’ve never heard of “permaculture” and I think a tree guild on a boulevard or front yard in every community would communicate the message we want to the people we need to reach possibly better than words because they would see it growing, producing and prospering.
We had company for dinner last night and the visitors had never eaten celeriac or daicon before, but I had chopped some into a roasted vegetable casserole along with onion, potato, and purple topped turnip. I chopped the different veggies into different shapes so people would know what they were taste-testing. They all were happy with their new veggie friends. Yes, these were annuals – but annuals that grow locally and store reasonably well for the winter rather than being shipped “fresh from California”. My point is, if people have an opportunity to taste the “strange new fruit” like goumi or Kousa dogwood, from a front yard tree guild, they are going to be more willing to grow the plant themselves, and you can’t taste a book or a computer screen!!
To try to inspire people to my idea, I will try uploading a photo of my project when my cheap computer techie is available. Aren't children wonderful.....
I think checking the regional threads could help people where they are to see if guilds have been discussed. I think the synchronicities that develop even from just introducing people to a new food can start to build momentum. I've been doing that for a long time, and I still dig it.