Participant Forum: Strategies for Success

The importance of inclusion

Picture of Melinda Kelley
The importance of inclusion
by Melinda Kelley - Thursday, March 25, 2021, 1:45 PM

The assignment to interview my site "clients" has been a good reminder that I need to take the time to be inclusive when developing my plans. (I have received this feedback at work too...I often move very quickly to problem-solve, and haven't always taken the time that I should to step back, take a breath, and consider a wide variety of opinions.)  I do most of the work on my site, because I enjoy gardening and landscaping far more than my family does, however interviewing them from the client perspective was more valuable than I expected it to be.  At a minimum, my family's feedback and suggestions will help me to prioritize projects that can be completed this spring (in the context of my overarching plans).  I suspect that tackling a few immediate projects that are of particular interest to my family will help me to feel more successful, and will likely encourage them to make more use of my site - especially my daughter, who is headed to college in the fall.  

My daughter had a number of very specific priorities for the site, and my husband had more informed suggestions than I anticipated.  For example, he mentioned soil quality as our biggest issue; I've been trying to convince him for years that just because a weed can survive in soil, it doesn't mean that it's quality soil for growing plants on purpose.  Although I don't think I will be able to accommodate the stream that my daughter wants (!), I'm now thinking about many additional elements that I should and can easily incorporate into my plans, that will expand the aesthetic benefits of our site, as well as offer support for additional wildlife (including but not limited to bats!).  

I've also been giving a lot to my own next steps, and I'm still very interested in developing my property as a demonstration permaculture site.  Although this will mean a non-trivial amount of work for me (with the maintenance, etc.), it's something that I will be able to control from a time perspective (in terms of balancing permaculture activities with my day job).  In addition, helping others to improve their own properties will give me a great deal of personal satisfaction, and it will provide me with another layer of client perspectives, that I can tackle moving forward.

Picture of Deb Winther
Re: The importance of inclusion
by Deb Winther - Friday, March 26, 2021, 3:04 PM

Hi Melinda,

It sounds like including your family in completing the questionnaire was a very positive experience. I was also pleasantly surprised with the valuable input I received from my adult children. My son, who is a chef, was a great source of ideas for what to include in my new herb garden and vegetable beds. My daughter reminded me how much we both enjoy flowers and she made a case for continuing to dedicate space for cut flowers and my dahlias. Whenever she visits, we walk through the yard picking flowers so she can take home a bouquet. Everybody is excited about trying to grow blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, especially my grandson. He's also excited about growing his own carrots, but he thinks the rest of the vegetables are "yukky". All in all, I think it was worthwhile getting them all together to go through the questions.

By the way, I think your daughter's idea of adding a stream is wonderful. Maybe you could put in a dry stream bed with rocks, and then just leave the hose on! Hahaha.