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Why did you become a permie?  RSS feed

 
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On the thread You know you are a Permie when... it was brought up that we need a thread for "Why did you become a Permie?" and I also add the question "At what point did you realize you were one?"

So, Why did you become a Permie? And how did you know you actually were one?
And let's keep this out of the cider press, folks... Be nice, avoid topics that start stuff. I know that's why I became one, lots of cider press stuff. I'll think on a good properly polite response.  

I knew I was one when I bought Mollison's big black Design Manual, and it was like coming home. YES!! THAT is what I have been looking for!! Whoo! Here I am!!

I got on Permies.com when I bought land, and needed an answer to a question. Googled my question, came up with a thread here that related to my question. Says something about me that my very first post here starts with hahah! My first Permies post  Oh lord, the property I bought has a sewer lagoon? WTF? Is that even LEGAL?
Oh my, the things I have learned....
 
garden master
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I mean, who doesn't want to live in a food forest???  The first time I ran across permaculture I was hooked.  

I was already heading down the edible landscaping path and the permies that came before me were so much further along than me.....love at first sight.  Nothing has ever been the same since.

That first glimpse came online, followed by me going to a talk by Dave Jacke, followed by me buying the Jacke/Toensmeyer 2 book set and pouring through it, followed by an explosion of me absorbing everything I could get my hands on.  Now I think I mainly learn in the gardens of myself and others, as well as in wild spaces of all types.
 
master pollinator
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"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.
 
Pearl Sutton
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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!
 
pollinator
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I feel like I always was one, but I didn't know the term.
 
pollinator
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My dad stumbled on the Permaculture Handbook years ago and as he often does with things - read a bit of it, made grand plans for implementing some parts and then tossed out the whole thing because it wasn't exciting enough and required too much work.  He bought one for me too because I was interested.  I started working my way through the handbook but it was painful to read because I knew land ownership was many years in the future and it felt bittersweet to plan and hope for someday.  I set it aside but kept coming back to it.  I lurked here for months at a time and then would go away when this future felt too far away.

When my mom died last year and it became clear that I was going to take over the homestead within the next few years, I came back here to stay.  I started watching videos by Geoff Lawton and others on youtube, getting books from the library and starting to sketch redesign plans - what to plant and where.  I asked questions and read lots of discussions.

I became a permie because it is a way to work with nature instead of against her.  It feels like something I can actually DO rather than watching helplessly while everything gets worse and falls apart.  It is a way to create abundance which creates some security for myself and allows me to share with others.  It gives me a reason to connect with others - something I sometimes struggle with as an introvert.  It is challenging and intellectually stimulating and endlessly fascinating.  I know if I spend the rest of my life on these forums and implementing everything I have time to implement, I will still not have tried everything there is to try.

I realized I was a permie the first time I walked in the woods and saw all the layers that Geoff had talked about in one of his videos.  I grew up in the woods and walked in them all the time and never saw it that way.  It was beautiful.  It has changed the way that I see fields too - nature is not stagnant and now I see it and where it is in that cycle in a way I didn't before.
 
Greg Martin
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Sonja Draven wrote:My dad stumbled on the Permaculture Handbook years ago and as he often does with things - read a bit of it, made grand plans for implementing some parts and then tossed out the whole thing because it wasn't exciting enough and required too much work.



Ahhh, he should have given it a real spin.  You plant a bunch of adventures when you plant a landscape full of foods you've never tried before.  Every year something I've never tried before ripens in my gardens and I get to experience new wonders.  How great is that?  There are 1000s of edibles to grow...I will die before I get to try them all, but I will go down fighting my way through as much of the list as I can manage while sharing with all who are willing to try something new.  So much fun.

Still, was great that he planted the seed in your mind Sonja!  
 
Sonja Draven
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I agree completely, Greg.  But he is not a very adventurous person and he has no intention of changing so....

I'm so excited about my planting adventures too.  I'm going to plant a bunch of seeds and pits I've collected this year and see if they come up and if they do, if they survive.  I also ordered a few bare root apple trees - most just based on the description and fit for my area - that looked fun.  I should be planting them next month - weather depending.  And some berry bushes to add to the blueberries I already have established.  I plan to plant some more stuff in the spring and see what comes up.  

I have lots of bad, not-to-scale sketches of current and (upcoming) future state plans.  The only down side of the excitement is that coming back to the city from my homestead gets more difficult every time.

What are your favorites?  What are you planning to try next?
 
master pollinator
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I always felt the same as Howard the Duck ever since I was a child. You know, trapped in a world I didn't create. Maybe I was just born a few centuries too late. Mother Nature has always been better than concrete. I have always preferred being as self reliant as possible. Animals won't lie to you or teach you wrong either. I never bought the Easter Bunny thing. Santa was highly questionable too. Then a few years later preparing for a third grade history test .. who discovered America? ... Columbus ... but teacher you read to us from his diary last week that he saw natives on the shores so it couldn't have been him ... that went around in circles a while ...then ... "Mike just answer Christopher Columbus or you'll get it wrong." So I intentionally got it wrong just because. From that point on I knew things were definitely screwed up. That was about same time as TV dinners were introduced to the world. They expect me to eat that? Add in all the horrible things I read in the newspaper & saw on TV news every single day. Then I started noticing all sorts of pollution everywhere. Everything was definitely going downhill fast. I knew I deserved something better. The entire world deserved something better. So here we are.

I still ask why do we lie to kids? (Fair warning this video is NOT for kids. The end is naughty.)

 
pollinator
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My brother told me about hugelkultur.  I had never heard of it. A search lead to here. I liked what i read. I stayed. I changed.

As a child, back to elementary days(1970's) i was fascinated with Mother Earth News. I think the issue was about making methane gas from cow manure. All of it fascinated me. Dome homes, passive solar, hot tubs heated with wood, raising worms. etc. I'd read it cover to cover. Not as many distractions back then.
 
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Great topic Pearl! I'm enjoying everyone's replies, too.

I became a permie because I want myself and the world to be healthier.

The seed was planted when I was 13 and discovered I felt better if I didn't sprinkle my Cheerios with white sugar, and when I didn't have to be around air pollution  (cigarette smoke from my parents, car exhaust, etc.).

It grew into a seedling or sapling as I became a young mom and started growing food, using herbal remedies, and reading Rodale's Organic Gardening or Mother Earth News every time I nursed my babes.

It went a bit winter-like, quiet, or putting down roots as I worked overs the years at varoius places. These included a Naturopathic clinic, Waldorf school, and a developer building an urban village designed community with lots of sustainable and community building elements. All places that informed me about the health of earth and people, sustainability, and design elements.

Then, it bloomed. I met Paul, who explained permaculture to me by showing me videos of Sepp Holzer's Krameterhof. And he showed me his articles on richsoil.com and the forums here on permies. OHHHH.


 
master pollinator
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I am an enigma: nearing 2200 posts on here and yet do not feel like I am a Permie nor will I ever consider myself one. Not that I am being disrespectful, I just am not sure that compared to some on here, I do enough, and certainly not all that I could do upon my farm.

To answer the question in part however (as in; "Why did I become a PART-time Permie"?) It was from observation of course!

I watched dairy farms in the area, year after year slowly go under, farms that were 100, 150, 200 years old suddenly die off, and realized they kept doing the same thing and hoping for drastic results...the epitome of craziness.

On the other side of the equation, I saw people come in to town who never spent a year here, much less a winter, tell us we were farming all wrong and that there was a new way to do it. They too are now long gone, a conceited spirit and lack of observation getting the best of them.

With my farm, some 280 years old and 9 generations: I wanted it to last, so I figured the answer lay somewhere between the two extremes. So I adopt principals of Permiculture that are known to work, and benefit from them.

How am I doing?

Seemingly well. I have been operating this farm as a manager since 1994, but introduced sheep in 2008, and despite being the toughest year we have yet have, look like we are going to continue farming despite some drastic measures to stay financially viable. That is the end-goal, as well as keeping with the long term farm plan and not deviating from it.

(This is a photo of a field self-fertilizing through nitrogen fixation, a Permie principal that has worked well)






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Greg Martin
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Sonja Draven wrote:What are your favorites?  What are you planning to try next?



Every year is different and this one is no exception.  Due to the weather changes we're experiencing we've had multiple heavy mast years from the oaks in our forests and the population of mice and squirrels has exploded.  I feel badly for them as they're running through everything that can be eaten.  For example they stripped the unripe hips from my beach roses and the unripe fruit from my cornelian cherry trees, tomato plants and autumn olives.  My apples are all gone and right now they're stripping the quince trees of their fruit...I've found half gnawed quinces on my woodpile.  Seems like they will eat anything to get something in their stomachs.  The roads are filled with dead squirrels who are searching for food.  Despite that I've been able to harvest lots of spring shoots (milkweed for the first time this year), squash, eggplants, hot peppers, herbs, elderberries, blueberries, hosta, schisandra, rhubarb, goumi, some peaches, some figs and all of my alliums (and whatever else that's slipping my mind).  This is the first year that my schisandra has fruited heavily and I'm really appreciating them for the way they seem to be helping me deal with stresses that crop up in life.  I'd been feeling run down and so I made a syrup of schisandra and honey and that perks me up wonderfully, so this year schisandra is my favorite (though I love everything I grow).  


I have 5 gallons of elderberry fruit heads in the freezer awaiting processing into pies (blueberry elderberry pie is a favorite of mine) and syrups (before virus season steps up too much) and so it may give the schisandra a run for it's top spot in 2018 when I get to them.  (Sometimes I feel a bit like the dog in the joke where everything is his favorite)


I just got back from a week visiting friends in North Dakota where I was able to try buffalo berries for the first time....yum!  I will be growing out seeds of them this spring and will be integrating those into my landscape in the coming years.  Next year I'll also be adding a few more figs into my landscape to see how these varieties handle my Maine winters (very high hopes for one).  I have a seedling bed of Citrus/Poncirus seedlings and fingers are crossed that maybe one or more of those might survive the winter.  I'll also hopefully move some seedling flowering quinces out from a nursery bed over to permanent homes and will plant some more goumi shrubs between my Chinese chestnut trees as they seem to do ok in semi-shade and the chestnuts will enjoy the nitrogen boost.  Speaking of shade, I got a volunteer pokeweed plant that has sized up in near full shade and I'll try those shoots next spring.
 
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I don't think I ever wasn't a permie, although I may have temporarily lost my way.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Mike Barkley wrote:I always felt the same as Howard the Duck ever since I was a child. You know, trapped in a world I didn't create. Maybe I was just born a few centuries too late. Mother Nature has always been better than concrete. I have always preferred being as self reliant as possible. Animals won't lie to you or teach you wrong either. I never bought the Easter Bunny thing. Santa was highly questionable too. Then a few years later preparing for a third grade history test .. who discovered America? ... Columbus ... but teacher you read to us from his diary last week that he saw natives on the shores so it couldn't have been him ... that went around in circles a while ...then ... "Mike just answer Christopher Columbus or you'll get it wrong." So I intentionally got it wrong just because. From that point on I knew things were definitely screwed up. That was about same time as TV dinners were introduced to the world. They expect me to eat that? Add in all the horrible things I read in the newspaper & saw on TV news every single day. Then I started noticing all sorts of pollution everywhere. Everything was definitely going downhill fast. I knew I deserved something better. The entire world deserved something better. So here we are.

I still ask why do we lie to kids? (Fair warning this video is NOT for kids. The end is naughty.)



Mike: I don't know whether to give you an apple for the words, or toss the video to the cider press... :) I went with apple. Because yes, we were almost all taught horribly at an early age, and are correcting it now. And anything else I say here, I'll have to send myself to the cider press! Suffice to say "I agree."
 
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I used to work at warehouse for a major grocery store chain. I unloaded the produce trucks. While working there I started to notice some things that didn't make sense, like why are transporting semi-truck trailer loads of apples from across the country (WA to NY) when there are two orchards literally 5 minutes down the road? Not to mention the hundreds of other orchards across the state. Other fruits like berries had to be fumigated to kill molds for their cross country trips. Those things started to bother me more and more. Around the same time I kept hearing about how corn is terrible for the cow and grass-feed is better, etc. That lead me to Joel Salatin somehow and the word permaculture. For a while I would just read about it, and try to change my buying habits with food to "better" sources. I didn't think the land I had at the time wasn't "big enough" to do any permaculture. It was probably 1/8th of an acre, all steep downhill. I eventually moved, started watching a lot of Justin Rhodes and started to spend a lot of time on here. Now I'm trying to put into practice everything I've been reading/watching.

Besides all that, nearly everything I learn on here and in other sources immediately make sense. I like anything that will help me be more self-sufficient, or any sort of "system" or process that will provide a lot of output for less and less work over time (at least it should work that way in theory).

Also what Greg said:

Greg Martin wrote: I mean, who doesn't want to live in a food forest???

 
pollinator
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I've read Fukuoka, Salatin, Holzer, Sheppard first.

I was growing food and making my own bread, kombucha, cheese, jam etc. but something was missing.

The DESIGN to tie the ends was missing and permaculture gave me that.

Also, I thought, I can save the world but I have to save myself first.
 
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When I had my first kid I started to look at the land we owned. It wasn't impressive. I wanted to do better for that little person. So I went down a Youtube hole that started with keyline and ended at permies.com. 2 small people in and I just call myself a weirdo hippy. At least for my area I am. Maybe not considered a hippy by other standards though. My kids do know how to find "band-aid plant"s so I'd say I'm doing a pretty darn good job.
 
Sonja Draven
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elle sagenev wrote:When I had my first kid I started to look at the land we owned. It wasn't impressive. I wanted to do better for that little person. So I went down a Youtube hole that started with keyline and ended at permies.com. 2 small people in and I just call myself a weirdo hippy. At least for my area I am. Maybe not considered a hippy by other standards though. My kids do know how to find "band-aid plant"s so I'd say I'm doing a pretty darn good job.


I checked out your blog.  Thanks for sharing!  I am enjoying reading it.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
So, Why did you become a Permie? And how did you know you actually were one?
And let's keep this out of the cider press, folks... Be nice, avoid topics that start stuff. I know that's why I became one, lots of cider press stuff. I'll think on a good properly polite response.  

I knew I was one when I bought Mollison's big black Design Manual, and it was like coming home. YES!! THAT is what I have been looking for!! Whoo! Here I am!!



A polite response thought up, finally. I was a kid with their nose in a book, and I read about things that scared me, like wars, and I think I was 8 or 10 when I first started thinking of where to hide if there were problems. But real fast I hit "and what do you eat?" Well, my dad gardened, he was a horticulture and English  major in college, and couldn't pass trigonometry, and had small children, so he dropped out and went back to being a mason. (I recall when I was 4 or so getting banned from the greenhouse without him in there with me. He had scented leaf geraniums he was hybridizing, and I climbed up on the table to rub and sniff them, and brought a bunch down with me when I fell.) So I knew about gardens, and I asked dad if I could have a row in the garden to plant. I always ate what grew in his garden, I think I was the only one of us kids who would just graze out there. So in my row I put swiss chard, and zinnias, and cherry tomatoes and marigolds with the tomatoes, because you HAVE to to keep bugs away! And I have had a garden ever since. I don't feel like a house is a home without plants and animals. I lived in a van for 2.5 years, bummed around the country, with a window box of herbs in it, and 1-4 cats. I lived in cheap college housing, and had a garden and cats. Every house I have had, always. It's just required in my life.

Fast forward many years, health stuff, immune system problems, very few things help, except eating REALLY clean, but I can't afford organic produce. At the worst of my health, when I could barely get out the door, I put in a garden every year, and kept it more or less alive as I could. I got good at drip irrigation, because in New Mexico that's the only way to grow stuff, especially if you can't walk out there to water so often. When I was so sick I dreamed of being someplace where it rained and I could grow things easier. But money got in the way. I can't afford to get out of where I am. I read things on the net, and dreamed and learned more. Then chaos, deaths of people I love, and I ended up with enough money to buy cheap land and move. My mom, who was suddenly a widow, has enough money we can build a house that works for us. She moved with me.

We read stuff, planned, and dreamed, decided where we'd like to be, and came to Missouri to find land. I was tasting the soil and looking at contours, she was figuring out if areas would work with our planned lifestyle. And our plan is to have a permaculture life, as much as possible with our health limitations. I'll never be the full on minimalist type, doesn't work for me. Or the person in a cob house, my health doesn't work with that. But I can easily do Beyond Organic food production, been doing it all my life. And there's rain here! Unlike the desert.

So why did I become a permie? Because it's been part of my soul for my whole life, and I am just now in a position to possibly live that part of me full time.
 
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I was a permie as a child complaining to my family about their litter, about the inefficiency of most everything around me. Sprays, the loss of steam to Diesel, et al. This in the 70's.

I went to a 'how to be a winner' conference once. They were trying to sell me a $1700 folder containing the 'secrets to financial literacy'. I loved every minute of it, the content was rubbish but the speaker was having so much fun. I didn't want to be the people in the stories buying sports cars et al, didn't care less. I wanted to be the guy having enormous fun dropping knowledge. What an amazing thing a good teacher is.

Then I found Bill Mollison online. I watched videos, I bought books, I was hooked. As another writer observed, it was like coming home.

I got a few science degrees, felt inadequately educated for what I want to do. Next year I'll do the local PDC. I thrive teaching. The content needs to be worth teaching. Microbiology, ecology, mycology, permaculture. I'd love an engineering degree too but my achilles heel is math/physics so decided to concentrate in areas I am intuitive.

Permaculture is my lifeline. There needs to be solutions to retain hope. Love, inclusion and understanding to retain community.

 
pollinator
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For me it was more just realizing there was a name for what I already was.

As a kid I was taught by my grandfather to look at native knowledge and nature to grow gardens. In my teens I absorbed a lot of knowledge from nature hiking around and observing. In my 20's I worked for a landscaping company that designed landscaping mimicking natural systems.

Finally living in a community in AZ I worked in the landscaping dept and was told of permaculture and introduced to the book. I found most of what I was already doing fit under this umbrella term.

So for me it is more discovering there was a name for what I was doing instinctively and taught as a youth.
 
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From infancy to 9 years old I was raised deep in the forest on the edge of a small rural town. Through my daily trips into the forests after school & on the weekends, I experienced a childhood that was immensely happy & I felt utterly fulfilled.

At 9 years old my family moved to the suburbs, where they name the streets after the forest features they bulldozed to build the 'burbs, & I experienced the personal loss of the daily dose of shinrin-yoku that I had been receiving since birth. I became depressed.

During my college years I pretty much got addicted to documentaries. Over the course of a decade, the hundreds of documentaries that I watched about the state of the environment, history, etc. sent me into a deep tailspin of despair about the state of the biosphere & humanity.

Then, one day I stumbled upon the documentary In Grave Danger of Falling Food which is part introduction to permaculture, part biography about Bill Mollison.
THIS DOCUMENTARY LITERALLY CHANGED MY LIFE! All of a sudden I could use a solutions-based lens to see & dream up all sorts of soil-utions to many of the world's interconnected problems. And, the best part about it is AFFORESTATION is one of the main key solutions! All of a sudden I rediscovered the happiness of my 9-year-old self by discovering that I could plant forests for others to enjoy!

I've now taken 4 PDCs, garden, work on a farm, teach permaculture in the summertime, go out on volunteer reforestation projects, & cover permaculture topics with my documentary-style podcast The Story Connective. I hope folks stumble upon my permaculture content & find permaculture like I did.

In fact, this has happened already! Lots of acreage has already been permaculture designed & is going into permaculture production because a member of these very forums listened to an interview I did with a permaculture designer & hired her to do a design on his large-acreage property after listening to her speak so knowledgeably about permaculture in the podcast! WIN!
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In Grave Danger of Falling Food - Bill Mollison, OrderOfEden.net
 
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Why did I become a permie?

I grew up believing in the Garden of Eden story. In the movie, "The Bible," the Garden was portrayed as a tropical rainforest. Then I began learning about real rainforests, and the human inhabitants thereof, and discovered them to be anything but Edenic. And in the end, I also learned that there never was a literal Garden of Eden, either. But through all this, and still today, I felt as if I unconsciously remembered Eden, and yearned to find it again. In my daydreams, I envision a home in the Beautiful Beyond, with an Edenic rainforest in back and the sea in front, where a pleasant daily stroll can meet all my day's nutritional needs.

Foolish? Selfish? Escapist? I wouldn't argue the point.

Permaculture looks to me about as close to that as one can hope to get in real life.
 
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It is dangerous for me to post when in a sleep-deprived state, luckily enough the sleeps deprivation also makes me stupid so I will post anyway!!!

Logic + Soul = Permaculture

:D

This is simply the smartest way of doing things that doesn't utterly crush my soul into misery soup, that I have found.
 
pollinator
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I haven't responded yet, because like Travis, I don't see myself as a permaculturist. I've incorporated a lot of permaculture principles in the running of my homestead farm, plus I've learned that many of the things I figured out on my own while creating this homestead (long before I ever heard the word permaculture) were actually part of the permaculture endorsed methods. For example, I was making "hugel" pits and mounds long before I knew they were anything special.

I like many of the ideas of permaculture, but I wouldn't use them in exclusion to other methods I'm currently using. What I'm doing has been successful for me. What I'm doing I foresee others after me could continue doing for generations to come.

I aim to be as self reliant as feasible. One goal is to have low input in regard to actual money. Thus I aim to not spend a lot on commercial anything, including food, fertilizer, gasoline, equipment, supplies, etc. But I'm not above using free stuff that comes my way, like bags of commercial feed I get for volunteering at local spay clinics. Free = low cash input.  With low cash input in mind, I make my own fertilizer (compost, manure, urine, grass clippings and ground green waste). I use small tools (mantis tiller, generator & hand power tools, weed walker, etc) instead of tractors, excavators, backhoes, etc. I grow my own wood for firewood, fence posts, garden trellises, livestock shelters. But I'm not such a purist to turn away clean wood pallets. And I'm quick to take handouts, like used fencing, lumber, pcv pipes in order to fashion them into garden and livestock items.

My other aim is to be low impact. I consider myself to be a land steward, so I don't wish to damage the land. While I move rocks and create rock walls, I don't devastate the land while doing it. While I remove trees, I am selective and repair damage done. I use little in the way of anything that would leave toxic chemicals behind. Yes, I use some, but I follow the code of low impact. Thus I use little.

I define permaculture as "permaculture agriculture", methods that could be perpetuated for generations without degradation of the overall environment. That is the type of permaculture I aim to practice....up to a degree. I'm not ready to give up my truck, powered hand tools, modern clothing, modern medicines, etc.
 
pollinator
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Location: Otway, Ohio, USA
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For me it all started when I was five. My great grandpa had planted an herb garden back in the sixties. It was still thriving long after he had gone to the next world. My grandma was trying to cheer me up and made me some fresh mint tea from the garden. That is when I decided gardens were awesome. The next phase was a few years later, in the third grade I was doing poorly in school, and my parents were very upset. They asked if I wanted to be a farmer because they thought it was the most boring thing. I said yes. I really wanted to be a chef. In trade school I missed my opportunity to take the culinary arts course. My parents got in the way. I ended up with my second option, Horticulture. We were taught to use chemicals and stuff, but I rejected it. At the 2007 Cents Show (an agricultural trade show) I got into it with monsanto reps about saving seed. More than a few farmers were very upset at the reps and I had to be extricated from an angry mob by my teacher. After school I moved to NC to go to college for culinary arts. I wasn't able to get in. I planted a garden. I didn't have enough dirt, so I used broken up branches as a filler. Since it worked out just fine, I started doing it as a standard to save money. I also started throwing compostables directly into the garden and growing potatoes in old tires. Eventually I moved back to Ohio and got a house with a yard and started gardening on a larger scale. And shortly after moving, I discovered Fukuoka and Holzer. While searching for more on their methods, I found this site. I lurked for years.
 
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
One million tiny ads for $25
https://permies.com/t/94684/million-tiny-ads
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