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Confessions of an imperfect permaculturist - coming down to earth  RSS feed

 
Destiny Hagest
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I wanted to start a thread here on a topic that I hope won't rub people the wrong way, about how we interact with friends, family and peers, on subjects that we're passionate about.

So let's be honest here, I know I'm definitely not a perfect permie, I have some vices, some weaknesses, and while I'm aware of how bad they are, I never try to hide them.

I think a big part of what steers people away from communities and discussions on topics like sustainability and permaculture is simply that they're intimidated and sick of hearing the holier than thou rhetoric from the people on the other side of it. If we ever want to reach people on a large scale, we have to learn to turn down our judgement and censor ourselves a bit.

Now, don't get me wrong, being blunt is my favorite thing in the world, I'm just so super good at it, but it really pisses people off I've learned that people are a lot more likely to hear what I have to say if I turn off my inner sanctimonious hippie for a moment and just have a conversation with them - I ask questions, admit my own bumbles, and then mention things that I know have worked.

While there is a time and place to just cut the crap and say what needs to be said, in our daily interactions with people, it truly pays to just be respectfully inquisitive, and ask more questions than suggestions. I find myself rattling off information all the time, and I feel like I sound like a teacher, when really, some people just want to talk.

So let's become better listeners, let's humble ourselves and laugh about our crazy mishaps, sheepishly admit the things we can't live without, and remember that nobody is perfect, and that in the end, if we can just show more people that it doesn't have to be all or nothing with permaculture, that you can save the world one little garden bed at a time, and we won't hate you for eating fast food and shopping at Wal Mart

So what's your biggest vice? Confession time!

I bleach my hair and binge watch Grey's Anatomy reruns. Yep. I'm that girl.

Also, I have heaps of big, ridiculously expensive tattoos. And despite how completely impractical they are, if I had all the time and money to spare, I'd probably be working on another right now.

 
Casie Becker
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How about this one, I don't consider myself a permaculturist. I just keep stumbling into permaculture practices in my search for a combination of the most efficient, most productive, longest returning methods for my favorite hobbies.

Improving soil health, digging swales and using polycultures gives me far better returns for my efforts than any more chemically intensive approach. More than conventional organic methods, also. I spend less money, ingest lest chemicals, waste less water, and spend less time applying expensive amendments. It's not moral superiority, it's informed laziness.

On the other hand, despite growing good foods, I have a horrible diet. If I weren't gluttonous enough to eat both all the junk and all the vegetables, I'd have far worse health than just being overweight. I try to buy organic and shop responsibly for my family, but I'm just as likely to grab something from a burger chain for myself.

I do expect to continually increase how much permaculture I practice (next on the list is finding and harvesting local soap berries), but most new things I take on are done for selfish reasons. It can be laziness. It can be stinginess (why would I want to spend money when something free is better). It can just be fun. (sometimes learning new ways to do things is better than a game) So long as I move in a less exploitative direction, I don't even feel guilty about it.
 
Dan Boone
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Casie Becker wrote:How about this one, I don't consider myself a permaculturist. I just keep stumbling into permaculture practices in my search for a combination of the most efficient, most productive, longest returning methods for my favorite hobbies.


LOL, this is me too. I don't mind admitting a lot of the higher theory of permaculture I can take or leave -- admitting forthrightly that at best, I just don't understand it sufficiently yet.

But I'm physically lazy and rather broke, see. And I want stuff. So growing stuff is really appealing, especially if I can grow it for free or "dirt" cheap, with no purchased inputs. Our land is not so great, and our rainfall regime has terrible timing, and there are a zillion critters that want to eat my stuff. And for years now, every time I do a Google search on the specifics of how to grow awesome stuff with minimum effort on indifferent dirt with unreliable rainfall under massive bug and browse pressure without buying any sort of inputs, all I get is permaculture in my search results. I dunno if that makes me a permaculturalist? Or maybe I'm just a hillbilly with mad Google skillz, not sure if different.

When it comes to communicating with people, I have been known to cheerfully throw y'all under the bus. My sister is a traditional gardener, sympathetic to "organic" growing in theory but with very limited patience for bugs or disorder. She's horrified by my forest garden area ... stuff growing hither and yon, but all mixed with weeds and the brush I'm still clearing out. If she asks "what's that?" she doesn't want to hear "Oh, I dunno, mustard I think, some kind of brassica anyway, I've been throwing seeds under that tree for years and something finally took." When I think I've got a better way to do a thing, my shit's pretty weak with her because I don't fertilize and my weeding is indifferent and I may not have a planting map or a plant tag that encompasses everything I've ever allowed to grow. So if she asks me a question about something and my answer is from the realm of permaculture, I'm likely to say "well I haven't done that, but those hippies on my forum say..." and then give whatever answer. She knows what permaculture is and she knows I know some stuff about it, but she's not interested in permaculture for its own sake. But if, like me, she's got a practical problem, she'll listen to a practical answer. Saying "permaculture teaches us that..." cuts no onions whatsoever with her, but she can "hear" the answer if it sounds practical. So I do a lot better with her when I focus on the "what" rather than on permacultural theory and practitioners.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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OMG I LOVE THIS..

My vice: CHIPS. Like, the shittiest non organic kind too. I'm talkin' doritos. I'm talkin' ruffles. The whole damn lot of them. I love them with all my little greasy heart. I can and do eat so healthy on the reg, but it's SO hard for me to resist buying chips.. They are SO unhealthy and overpriced.. But that's typical vice shit..

 
Matu Collins
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I drink coffee every day. No coffee grows in Rhode Island! Mmmmmmmm, coffee...

And I drive my car to the supermarket and buy lots of food wrapped in too much plastic. I homestead and grow a lot of food and preserve food and press apple cider and make vinegar with it etc etc... but it's not enough.

I agree that the permaculture crowd can seem zealous enough to be offputting.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Matu Collins wrote:
I agree that the permaculture crowd can seem zealous enough to be offputting.


How does one gauge the appropriate degree of enthusiasm? I guess what I'm asking is, how do I avoid appearing overzealous? Because I'm pretty darn enthusiastic.
 
Su Ba
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I've become fairly passionate about food independence, but I can see that people I talk to are not. So rather than becoming a food growing missionary seeking converts, I just back off and let people come to me if they have any interest in the concept. By nature, I'm not a pushy person. In truth, I've even managed to surprise myself with the fact that I'm blogging about what I've done and am doing. I'm not one to blow my own horn, usually. Truthfully, pushy people turn me off. When I was in business, I declined talking with pushy company reps. With the election season in process right now, I back away from people trying to shove their candidate down my throat. And I won't even begin to discuss those religious zealots who try to enter upon my farm. If I'm pushed, I tend to disappear or become unavailable.

But I have discovered ways to make information available in a way that people perk up their ears and initiate the conversation. I run a small community garden where we grow food to take home and give away, and at the same time explore various growing systems. I oversee a local seed exchange from time to time where food growing can be discussed and information exchanged among area growers. I've met many people through the senior center, community center, and food programs where I get some folks interested in growing some of their own foods. I produce excess compost on my farm and will deliver it to start-up gardeners, using it in the creation process of pallet grow boxes, raised beds, large container gardens, and routine garden plots. (First truckload free if the person wants to grow food.) And I supply vegetables to my local farmers market. So by doing, I have ample opportunity to "talk story" about food growing.

I'm not a passionate permaculturist, such as in the exclusion of all other systems. But I am a passionate grower seeking self reliance and working along with Mother Nature. I do some things occasionally that would make Paul's toes curl. Like....I use wood pallets, cardboard, and roundup on my fence lines. I incorporate ideas from several growing systems on my homestead, using whatever works for me. Before I even heard the word permaculture, I was already using permie principles in many of my projects. Thus....I'm not a perfect permiculturist and make no apologies.

Faults? You betcha! Got lots. My biggest weakness by far is Girl Scout cookies, specifically the mint thins. I can wrap myself around one of those boxes and devour the whole thing at one sitting. I don't dare bring them into my house, ever! Oh yes, I buy them to support our local troop, but I give them away. Thank heaven those cookies are only on sale once a year. By the way, one box managed to land in my kitchen whereupon it didn't last the day. So much for the promise of only eating three cookies per day. Ha! Gone in one sitting.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Su Ba wrote:My biggest weakness by far is Girl Scout cookies, specifically the mint thins. I can wrap myself around one of those boxes and devour the whole thing at one sitting. I don't dare bring them into my house, ever! Oh yes, I buy them to support our local troop, but I give them away. Thank heaven those cookies are only on sale once a year. By the way, one box managed to land in my kitchen whereupon it didn't last the day. So much for the promise of only eating three cookies per day. Ha! Gone in one sitting.


Oh man. Get me around some Samoas? FORGET it. They don't last the day.

I'm loving this thread - I think just admitting that hey, yea, we're all human, and sometimes impulses, cravings, and such win out over logic and reason is going to help us all seem a bit more approachable to those outside our little tribe here. I've found that I get so much more reciprocity when I just stop trying to teach people something and let them see things for themselves.

Example - I'm going to be dying some of our duck's eggs (which are GIANT) this Easter with beet juice, turmeric, and blueberries. When people ask me how I got such big beautiful easter eggs, I'll have a great story to tell them, and they may just get inspired to try something a little different themselves
 
Charli Wilson
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Hmm.. I work a 9-5 job for 'the-man' and quite enjoy it, I drive to the grocery store to buy food wrapped in plastic (and non of it is organic- they don't sell anything organic). I've wrapped my house in plastic insulation and put up gypsum drywall everywhere.

As much as I'd like to homestead I don't have space, as much as I'd like a better diet- I'm lazy and busy, as much as I'd like to grow my own food- I'm not very good at it and my space is in almost permanent shade!

So I'd say that I find permaculture interesting.. but don't actually practice it very well. Can't find a way to integrate the bits I would like to do into the live and land that I have. I live in the wrong country for being able to actually buy land, and I don't want to move!
 
Casie Becker
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One of the nicest things about these forums is the constructive support when we try out new improvements, but no 'constructive criticism' unless we ask for it. We can safely put out attention to good use, instead of defending ourselves for being real people.
 
Tyler Ludens
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The main unpermacultural flaw that I'm trying to rectify in my life is the way I earn $$. My current business is silly and wasteful (showbiz), it generates too much trash. So I'm phasing it out. But I have not yet replaced it with something more appropriate. There's only so far I can pare expenses before I need some $$.

The two other things that bug me the most: Internal combustion car, grid electricity. I don't see being able to replace those with better options.

 
Ian Rule
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Casie Becker wrote: It's not moral superiority, it's informed laziness.
Har! Ill be firing that one off every chance I get!

This post is awesome. I suffer from a glib-tongue as well, and constantly come to the wall of "well if youd have said it nicer Id have listened". Eh. The truth has edges!
However, I value success and progress more than 'being right/an asshole', so this thread is very relevant to me. Always work to do upstairs! ~. ~

Eeeevil confession: I love Psychedelics. Even certain synthetic compounds.... They are largely responsible for shaking off the wool that western culture stapled to my eyes. Obviously not a general recommendation, but I believe very much so that the Mushrooms (spooky ones!) are trying to communicate with us, not 'get us high so we can party gooder'. I may never have realized my former awful, drunken, digitally nature without a magical friend named... uh, 'Ellis D'. Only then was I able to hear what the plants/land had always been saying. I was a reeeeal crass-hole until I experienced entheogens and empathogens... The best therapy I can imagine, and it cost me what a single night at the bar cost me years past.

While its certainly a dark-siders interest (and I hope I don't make anyone uncomfortable by talking about it!) - I believe shamanism (or some new-age, western bastardization) is alive and well in our society, and it should be accepted and embraced - lest the world continues to operate under the anti-intellectual-query prejudices that have produced the War on Drugs and ensured that being a 'weirdo' in any culture is.... dangerous.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ian Rule wrote: it should be accepted and embraced


Careful, that might be treading into the "holier than thou rhetoric" territory.

Or is holy-man-er-than-thou rhetoric ok?

Actually, I'm kind of serious. Because this thread is in the communication forum, and because I have a lot of trouble communicating, I need to ask a question: When is it ok to use the word "should" and when is it not ok, and how do you know?

A couple examples:

A. "I should stop being such a pushy asshole."

B. "We should stop being such pushy assholes."

I'm thinking Choice A is the acceptable choice for permies publishing standards, but not Choice B. What do you-all think?
 
Ian Rule
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Careful, that might be treading into the "holier than thou rhetoric" territory.

Or is holy-man-er-than-thou rhetoric ok?


You wouldn't be the first to call my horse... "High" ;}
Bad jokes aside - Bingo! Exactly why I like this thread/thought process. In the game of moral superiority, everyone loses.

Sometimes my frustrations get the best of me - one of which is the common knee-jerk accusation of "stoned ne'er-do-well" that comes with such a lifestyle, but I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. Venn-diagram at worst. I can be a fringe-weirdo AND an upstanding member of the community.... watch me!

As far as the 'To Should or Not to Should' thought goes - I find my internal dialogue frequently attempts to direct my behavior with "shoulds", and they work about as well internally on myself as they do externally on others. Aka, not well.

I lovelovelove Pauls theory/fact: Obligation is poison. Now THAT is some edgy truth.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you, Ian.

 
Destiny Hagest
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It's hard to communicate, knowing what a lot of us know, and being in the society that we are today. It's hard for me NOT to be a jerk sometimes, I have to actively try every day

But I think threads like this are nice, we can just get it all out in the open, yea, it's hard, but hey, I've got my weaknesses too I guess. And in the end, I think we all just do what we can, when we can.

I may be a vain, hair bleachin' phoney, but I sleep on the floor, a straw mattress before that, and spend every morning tractoring chickens and nursing my son. I feel like we all fight battles all the time, sometimes, it's kind of nice to just let a few things go. It's saved my sanity more than once.
 
Tristan Vitali
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Confessions?

I'm a stingy, penny pinching, dirty clothes wearing, smelly, cigarette smoking, bearded libertarian bastard (most days). You could say that I give "permaculture" a bad name in the super-clean, brightly-lit, sanitary and politically correct world surrounding us. Put me in a situation one-on-one with someone and within moments, the conversation will be turned to some juicy tidbit of information gleaned from these forums or my personal experience in practicing permie techniques. Then, without warning, I'm going off the rails ranting away about BPAs in the plastics, GMOs in everything we eat, HOAs, governmental departments of making life miserable, etc etc etc. This coming from a slim, 5'6, stinky bearded guy wearing dirty clothes, muddy boots and crooked glasses is just BAD, but I can't help myself! I'm addicted to ranting

...I guess I'm a bit like communism in that way - works way better on paper

If there's purple permaculture and brown permaculture, and a whole spectrum between, I'm way far to the brown side...so brown I think it turns people off. Maybe that's not even the right scale to be using. Point is, I'm probably a danger to the "message".

We all have good days of course, and on some of those rare occasions, I have found myself receiving smiles and "that's neat"/"that's a good idea" comments from the generic "people you meet" when out and about running errands. Those are usually on the beautiful, sunny/blue sky days when I've had myself a decent bath and shave. They're rare around these parts, especially considering those are the best days to get dirty "doing" permaculture stuffs


Oh - I use too many smileys in my posts on here...I know it's a bad habit but I'm not going to stop
 
Tyler Ludens
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Destiny Hagest wrote: hair bleachin' phoney


If it's any consolation, grooming and personal appearance aka "vanity" seem to be some of the most primal of human behaviors, seen in all cultures. I hope our permacultural standards don't require us to be superhuman!
 
Destiny Hagest
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Saw this and it reminded me of this thread



The struggle is real.
 
Tyler Ludens
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One thing I like about permaculture, at least as I understand it, is that it is an incremental process - that one can practice permaculture and yet not be living a 100% permacultural life, or "really doing permaculture." http://www.permies.com/t/16557/permaculture/permaculture I'm not saying we should water down our goals or lower our standards, just that, in my opinion, not everyone is capable of being 100% permaculture (whatever that might be), but virtually anyone can practice permaculture to some extent. Not all or nothing.

For instance lately I've been spending a few hours a day doing what I consider permaculture stuff, but by some (harsh) standards, I'm not really doing permaculture. Kinda can't win that war.
 
Ian Rule
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I live by "brown permaculture", but always keep enough space in my closet for a sequined purple suit.

However, for the sake of keeping things PC (you know, Permaculture?) I aim to wear but one suit at a time. Wear your overalls to work, and yo finest threads to da cluuuub.

As far as bleaching phonies go... I think PC would do well with more ~sexy. Or at least, we shouldn't lose what we got!
If one takes the PETA route of berating and throwing paint (especially under a fog of patchouli), potential newcomers walk away grumbling about hippies and communes.

If we're suspiciously inclusive and keep our butts somewhat clean, we've got two tickets to laid town!
In this case, laid town is permaculture. Er... is PC laid town? Eh, got lost in the metaphor.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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And for all the reasons posted here, I love you all the more.
"I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together." - Red Green
 
Destiny Hagest
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I think that's the best thing we can do - obviously advocate for what we believe in, but be accepting and welcoming of others, regardless of the different choices we make.

I won't change my opinions about something to suit someone's choices, but I definitely won't throw stones in a glass house either. The glass in my house is ever so thin
 
Todd Parr
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This is my favorite thread on permies.
 
Robyn Holmes
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:My vice: CHIPS. Like, the shittiest non organic kind too. I'm talkin' doritos. I'm talkin' ruffles. The whole damn lot of them. I love them with all my little greasy heart. I can and do eat so healthy on the reg, but it's SO hard for me to resist buying chips.. They are SO unhealthy and overpriced.. But that's typical vice shit..


Me too! Me too! Me too!

Matu Collins wrote:I drink coffee every day. No coffee grows in Rhode Island! Mmmmmmmm, coffee...


Oooooohhhhhh, the magic juice the allows me to make thru each and every day.

Also, sitting in pure laziness playing mindless match-3 games while devouring the above.


As for the "holier than thou rhetoric", it's something that I wish could make go away, but I suspect that it comes from people who feel they have something to prove and are just insecure. I try to empathize with those people, but there are so many out there that just make it soooooo hard.

As Destiny so wisely said, "it truly pays to just be respectfully inquisitive, and ask more questions than suggestions".

I guess my last vice is that I want to send this thread directly to one specific person to make a point.

 
Tyler Ludens
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I have a stupid number of pet cats (6).

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Destiny Hagest wrote:I think a big part of what steers people away from communities and discussions on topics like sustainability and permaculture is simply that they're intimidated and sick of hearing the holier than thou rhetoric from the people on the other side of it.


That pretty much describes me... It seems to me, like people are constantly telling me that I'm less than perfect because I till my fields. So I tend to gloss over the fact that I till my fields. I use euphemisms for tilling. I just plain skip describing how I actually prepare my fields for planting. My farm was purposefully designed 155 years ago. Seems to me like it is part of a 10,000 year old agricultural system that has functioned well all these years. That's about as purposeful and designed as I can imagine. On part of my farm I choose to mimic a food forest. On part of my farm I choose to mimic a plain that is flooded annually and returned to bare soil by the floods. Both systems are intentional. Both systems are designed. So if I ever leave permies, it'll likely to be because I'm tired of the constant "no-till" undertones on the forum.

Also, I grew up in a deeply religious community. I know what proselytizing looks like. I can spot it from across the street. It really doesn't work for me any more... So when I see someone on permies that seems to me to be proselytizing, I stop reading the posts by that author, or I stop participating in particular threads, usually both. Out of respect to the deeply held tenets of members of the forum, I avoid participation in topics regarding tilling, soil health, companion planting, guilds, raised beds, fungal vs bacterial soil, and related topics. I do things differently, and for me to even mention it, seems like I would be implying that permies are less than perfect. I usually avoid participation in discussions about mulch, compost, and etc... Other than offering calculations about how much it would cost to purchase that much compost for a large farm, and how much labor it would take to install it.

I know something about growing plants, and about plant breeding, and some permies like to discuss those topics, so I'm on the forum because I like discussing those things too, but my systems were designed by my great-great-great-grandmother and her peers, and they are still working for me, so I don't feel motivated to change them.

So like others have said, I don't claim to be a permaculturist. Although I share some common ground with some people who say they are permaculturists, or who hang out with them. However, my haphazard food forest and mish-mashed helter-skelter wildlands will give any purposefully designed permacultural system a run for it's money.

 
Su Ba
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I till. I till between each crop. My homestead soil cannot be plowed due to shallow soil and rocks, but I do use a shovel and rototiller.

I don't see where no-till is a requirement for permaculture.

I've tried several no-till experiments and they were dismal failures when it came to crop yields. Frankly, I'd starve on my homestead if I couldn't own a shovel.

I use whatever method works while still not destroying my land. While I won't live to see it, I believe that the methods I'm using could sustain this farm for generations to come. That's the whole idea behind permaculture, no?
 
Josh Noland
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Mmmmm Chocolate!
 
Destiny Hagest
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Destiny Hagest wrote:I think a big part of what steers people away from communities and discussions on topics like sustainability and permaculture is simply that they're intimidated and sick of hearing the holier than thou rhetoric from the people on the other side of it.


That pretty much describes me... It seems to me, like people are constantly telling me that I'm less than perfect because I till my fields. So I tend to gloss over the fact that I till my fields. I use euphemisms for tilling. I just plain skip describing how I actually prepare my fields for planting. My farm was purposefully designed 155 years ago. Seems to me like it is part of a 10,000 year old agricultural system that has functioned well all these years. That's about as purposeful and designed as I can imagine. On part of my farm I choose to mimic a food forest. On part of my farm I choose to mimic a plain that is flooded annually and returned to bare soil by the floods. Both systems are intentional. Both systems are designed. So if I ever leave permies, it'll likely to be because I'm tired of the constant "no-till" undertones on the forum.



Oh my, and here in the PDC thread my comment to gauge traffic was 'Give this post the thumbs up if you'd rather build a hugelkultur bed than till a garden."

I honestly never thought about the tilling discussion in the context that it might be making others feel excluded. I agree with what a previous commenter said, my prejudice against tilling is purely due to my own laziness. That's one particular tenant of permaculture I love, I can work with nature, and just do less work overall.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I love my food forest. It doesn't get tilled or weeded. It provides certain types of crops: Nuts, berries, tree fruits, and a few perennial herbs like onions, mints, and medicinals. It would sustain a flock of chickens in excellent health. At my place, it can't provide staples like corn, squash, beans, wheat, tomatoes, carrots, or potatoes in large enough quantities to be worth the effort. In a warmer climate, I could focus less on staples, and more on seasonal eating, but in the cold north, staples that can be easily stored all winter seem more critical to feeding my community.



 
John Weiland
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Mmmmmm.....potato chips! Good thing is that they are nutritionally grounded in the triune base of the food pyramid: fat, salt, and starch.
I'm pretty sure that is also why Doritos are triangular shaped is in homage to that pyramid. Somewhere at the apex of that pyramid is protein and vitamins.

But also to agree that, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, for many reasons the winning of others over to a more permie outlook seems best done incrementally.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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They say you are what you eat...I LOVE mixed nuts!
 
Todd Parr
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
... but in the cold north, staples that can be easily stored all winter seem more critical to feeding my community.


I'm with you. I am building various guilds on my property because I think they are beautiful, they pretty much take care of themselves, and they produce food, but I'm in 4b as well. I am building large annual gardens for the same reasons you list. I like eating in the winter as well as the summer, so storage crops are a must. I don't want to eat apples all winter.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I hope folks don't get too hung up over things like tilling of annual crops. Tilling of annual crops is a traditional practice which may be nearly harmless* if practiced mindfully as part of a larger sustainable system. Almost any practice can be abused, that doesn't mean the practice itself is inherently evil, in my opinion.

* some little critters will be harmed
 
Destiny Hagest
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I totally agree Tyler - generally speaking, my motto is everything in moderation. I had a lovely green salad last night for dinner, with a side of Nature's Path chocolate poptarts. So I'm taking that motto to the bank

But on a more serious note, really, I think that just getting people onto sites like these and thinking conscientiously about how they're doing things is a great start, it's where I began, and it seems you just wind up going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole
 
Tristan Vitali
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Tilling *is* natural, though it's usually done in pockets. Uprooted trees, burrowing animals like rabbits, etc. Tilling is part of nature's bag of tricks and there's no reason for us to not use it in intentional ways. Granted, there's tons of "disturbance" taking place during tillage and less frequent is better for fungal communities and for retaining the relatively fragile humus in the soil, but when you're necessarily focused on annual plants, the fungal dominance is not what you're after anyway and there's smart ways to ensure there's plenty of organic matter continually entering the soil that do not depend on the "no till"/hands-off approach. Like everything in this world, the determination of the right methods to care for and maintain food systems comes down a series of questions about existing situations and goals. Tillage is a viable conclusion given the right set of answers.

Heck, enter "the master" sepp holzer and his pea-eating tillage pigs

In essence, the no-till stuff applies most significantly to establishing perennial based food systems - you don't till a tree or shrub every year and if you do, frankly, you're an idjit Kidding there, but still - application of appropriate technologies and all that. You don't till a food forest, or a flood plain, or a swamp, or a firewood stand, or an orchard. You do till annual vegetable beds, in certain circumstances and with certain conditions. Sometimes, tillage is a bad idea for reasons *other than* the fungal damage and organic matter loss taboos - for example, tillage for me would be a huge mistake because I have heavy clay soil and a very high water table. The frost heaving makes enough pudding every season and I don't need to add to that

Confession: I saw the whole "feel excluded" remark and cringed. It reminded me of the whole political correctness "because it's the right thing to do" thing. I mean, I get it - that was probably not how it was meant at all, and I understand the need to not exclude important people (like Joseph, who's knowledge and experience is truly invaluable here on the forums). Not saying something for the reason of potential "exclusion" would mean there's no discussion of it, no exploration of the topic, and therefore, no knowledge gained. That seems like a dangerous thing, especially considering that the whole idea of permaculture itself is set against a the standard, modern, conventional practices, and by its very nature is exclusionary in the same way.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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And who doesn't love P.I.E. ?
 
Destiny Hagest
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Tristan Vitali wrote:
Confession: I saw the whole "feel excluded" remark and cringed. It reminded me of the whole political correctness "because it's the right thing to do" thing. I mean, I get it - that was probably not how it was meant at all, and I understand the need to not exclude important people (like Joseph, who's knowledge and experience is truly invaluable here on the forums). Not saying something for the reason of potential "exclusion" would mean there's no discussion of it, no exploration of the topic, and therefore, no knowledge gained. That seems like a dangerous thing, especially considering that the whole idea of permaculture itself is set against a the standard, modern, conventional practices, and by its very nature is exclusionary in the same way.


Oh no not at all, this is precisely the kind of line I want to toe - being open and encouraging, but not mincing words about truths. I think it's important to have these discussions, and definitely not to mince words about the importance of core concepts and practices, but I suppose what I'm going for here is an emphasis on tact. We don't have to pretend to condone other practices, or silence ourselves for the benefit of the sensitivities of others, but rather, acknowledge our own inherent shortcomings and say hey, no worries mate, we're just going to have to agree to disagree, but you're still swell

I'm not a happy go lucky skim over the truth kind of person, so this one is hard for me. I have a hard time not bringing down the iron fist of logic and truth. But I've also been wrong. And being as stubborn as I am, and wrong, well that's just damned humiliating

So I think what we can do is just to be more easygoing and light hearted, and have more discussions like these about our guilty pleasures, make it well known that we're just regular ole human beings too, and resist the urge to continue shoving our thoughts down the throats of our peers. I've learned that once I've made my point, I need to just back off and let it go - they have information, they know how I feel, and there's just no sense in backing them into a corner over it.

It's a fine line, and totally not in my nature to not be overbearing I'm forever working on chilling the fuck out
 
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