Participant Forum: Permaculture?

Week 1 Discussion on Reactions to Articles and Permaculture Videos

 
 
Picture of Christopher Schmitt
Week 1 Discussion on Reactions to Articles and Permaculture Videos
by Christopher Schmitt - Monday, October 26, 2020, 10:07 PM
 

I really enjoyed reading Steve Gabriel’s article and viewing and discussing with my family several videos featuring Bill Mollison that we found on YouTube. The article and the videos prompted some fantastic discussions in my family, and it gave us some new perspectives as we all went out to survey our farmland in advance of creating our base map. It is interesting to point out that as we wandered our 60-acre farm (as we do every day!) it was very eye-opening to us to specifically not include on our base map many features (our vegetable garden, our apple trees, 27 rows of four-to-six-foot Christmas trees, our hillside of berry bushes, our pumpkin patch, our walking paths). We did not include these features on our base map because all of these are subject to change based on what we are learning with respect to permaculture philosophies. Here are some of my family’s discussion points from the article and videos:

The takeaway from the readings and the videos from my teenage daughter, Zoë, was that permaculture is part of a harmonious process where there is a lot of letting go of what we typically think of as being “orderly”. I find my daughter’s thoughts to be very interesting, especially as they relate to the concept of “work” being a design flaw that often leads to “pollution”. All of this is making me look at the water systems on our farm very differently; it forces me to look for a more appropriate way to bring water to the young trees on our farm.

From my teenage son, Zach, his afterthoughts following the video viewings reflected his fascination with permaculture’s philosophy and how it embraces the individual impressions and opinions that people create when discovering permaculture for the first time. He particularly loved how everyone can have their own say in the process, and that that creates the unique driving force for it to reach societies “permanently”. My son’s thoughts remind me that permaculture is as much of an attitude as it is an action and that the attitude that I have to take to embrace permaculture is one of commitment to my family and my farm, in addition to the ecosystem. Essentially, they all are one in the same.

My wife, Ande, related to the “multiple functions” aspects of the applied principles, and can see how homeschooling and working from home is a fundamental permaculture principle for us and our family and our farm—by simplifying as many functions as we can, it allows systems to happen naturally. I hear my wife’s thoughts and I am excited to learn how to apply permaculture philosophies to the multiple, interlocking, and interrelated needs of our family. I am inspired to parallel my wife’s philosophies and results of home education by taking permaculture actions with respect to the ecosystem of our farm. It is all about an interdependent ecosystem of people and all the lifeforms that live on the land.

My own reflections can be summarized in the making of permaculture design a priority on our farm and in our family culture. These designs will require a lot of changes to existing systems, and these, in turn, will require time, energy, and money. I believe that our farm needs to be redesigned properly with permaculture philosophies to maximize natural ecosystem performance and to maximize my family’s health, well-being, and our enjoyment of our land. I am making a commitment to a new philosophy of truth and consciousness applied to our human occupation.  


Picture of Sandy Zhang
Re: Week 1 Discussion on Reactions to Articles and Permaculture Videos
by Sandy Zhang - Monday, October 26, 2020, 11:26 PM
 

Dear Christopher, 

Thank you so much for such a wonderful sharing! I'm inspired by your family's reflection on how the idea of caring for the planets and for all the living creatures become part of your family's tradition and heritage. I'm still watching Bill Mollison's Global Gardeners in the seemingly impossible situation. I'm also start to think about what heritage I'll be leaving to our next generation. I have a teenager daughter myself but she is not into gardening and agriculture that much. I'll learn from you and  try to influence her in getting her to also think more about sustainability. thank you for your sharing (and the beautiful picture of the farm!) 

Sandy 

Picture of Susan Sand
Re: Week 1 Discussion on Reactions to Articles and Permaculture Videos
by Susan Sand - Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 10:18 PM
 

Hello, Schmitt family!  I very much enjoyed reading, and reflecting, on your observations and perspectives.  Zoe, I particularly reflected on your observation about permaculture being part of a harmonious process where there is a lot of letting go of what we typically think of as “orderly.”  I have been a gardener for many years, and recently, gardening practices have been trending away from orderly.  Thank goodness!  So many practices meant to make the garden productive, beautiful and orderly – rototilling veggies plots, applying herbicides for weed control, to name a couple – are harmful to soil, water, insects, etc.  I am starting to see a “letting go” of some of these practices not just in gardening magazines, but in home & public gardens, much to the benefit of our environment.  Sue PS Enjoyed the photo - looks like you had a beautiful day in central NY!

Picture of Christopher Schmitt
Re: Week 1 Discussion on Reactions to Articles and Permaculture Videos
by Christopher Schmitt - Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12:21 PM
 

Hi Susan,

Thank you for your reply--it got us all thinking about the assumed need for "order", in everything from our garden, to our rows of trees, to even our mental outlook. We are discovering the need and the benefits of just being within the disorder--especially being a teenage family :) Thanks for the feedback as a nice concept to reflect upon!

Picture of Christopher Schmitt
Re: Week 1 Discussion on Reactions to Articles and Permaculture Videos
by Christopher Schmitt - Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12:14 PM
 

Hi Sandy!

My family and I really appreciated your comments--thank you! We are wondering if there is a lot that can be learned from the traditional farming that is going on at your site, and how you see permaculture principles being applied there. As for your teenage daughter, my teenage daughter suggests from her perspective that, instead of trying to make your daughter like agriculture and gardening, go with what she does like, and find the permaculture principles within that! For example, my daughter loves history, culture, cooking, sewing, and fluffy cats :) and her interests and talents are so important and completely align with the permaculture principles we are trying to directly apply to our farm. Specifically, one thing that she really likes to do is research the history of our 160-year-old farm and farmhouse. In her research, she is discovering what's worked and what's failed for the families who lived here from past generations. For instance, the agricultural history of our farm was unsuccessful because of the monocrop culture of corn, cows, turkeys, pigs, and finally trees, which all failed as a monocrop and were unsustainable. Her interests in history are invaluable to our permaculture design process, and we now know that we have to rethink the entire construction of our farm, all because of her passionate interests! My daughter likes dance, rock music, cars and trucks, all of which have led her to wonder what teens did here on the farm in the 1800s and beyond. These interests led us to understand the effects of families leaving their farms, in search of entertainment and jobs, which furthermore has led to the climate crisis of today! In other words, rest assured that whatever your daughter likes is perfect for your permaculture plan!

We look forward to hearing more from you--my daughter would love to hear what your daughter is interested in!

Best, Chris and family    

Picture of Debbie Sexsmith
Re: Week 1 Discussion on Reactions to Articles and Permaculture Videos
by Debbie Sexsmith - Thursday, October 29, 2020, 7:58 PM
 

Hi Christopher

I love how your whole family is involved in learning and designing together.  And especially how you include your family 'system' as a model. Thanks for sharing pictures and the beautiful landscape.  I look forward to hearing more from all of you :)