How I am getting started with Permaculture
The most major part of self-sufficiency is being able to grow as much of your own food as possible. I learned this at an early age growing up on a small farm. At the end of the summer and early fall, the only trips to the grocery store were for items that we didn’t grow. With canning, freezing, and drying we were eating this produce for most of the next six months.
But that was just very small scale gardening, and the rest of our livelihood came from conventional mono-crop agriculture. I always wondered why we had to plant everything in rows and spend so much time weeding. Thankfully we didn’t spray chemicals on our garden. Perfect it was not, but I learned a lot about planting, weeding, seasons, watering, staggering plantings, collecting sends, harvesting, protecting from early/late frosts, bugs, blights, and composting.
What is this word “Permaculture”?
About two years ago I started listening to Jack Spirko’s podcast and kept hearing this word Permaculture. It sounded like such a hippy, tree-hugging term; but form a guy that most definitely is neither of those. Permanent agriculture – once I heard a bit more about it, sounded to me more like the merging or gardening and engineering. Maybe it’s my engineering brain at work here, but it sure seemed like applying permaculture principles was a lot like designing & engineering a garden system. Indeed this is the case, which was confirmed when I started a course in Permaculture – called a Permaculture Design Certification.
At a first glance – to me at least- Permaculture is the web-like systematic interaction of plants, animals, soils, water, sunlight, heat, elevation, and even the humans designing the system.
Permaculture Design Certification
So one month ago I was watching the promotional videos for Geoff Lawton’s online PDC course. Even just watching these videos is a great learning experience, especially is learning what exactly the possibilities are out there. And yes I signed up for the online course.
The stages of learning about permaculture are: Podcasts & Youtube videos, books, online design courses, and finally unperson design intensive courses.
Yes you can practice Permaculture without any formal training. Books and Youtube videos will get you well on your way. But the fastest way to this destination is to take a PDC course from a reputable school.
Why I decided to take a PDC
That’s a good question. Yes it does cost real money, but this is something that I’ve developed a passion for. I find myself trying to solve people’s garden problems and optimize the amour of food that they can grow for themselves.
Even though I am the ‘Sovereign Canadian’ I don’t yet own my of land or house – though this is something that I am hoping to change in the near future. I wanted to at least have an understanding of the fundamentals of Permaculture when I do start to look at houses and pieces of land. Hopefully this understanding will help me to choose a more optimal location for myself and future family.
Also, it is very likely that with some more knowledge and experience that I will become a consultant for others hoping to increase the amount of food that they produce at home and Permaculturalize their property. Once I have a portfolio of projects this is a very real possibility.
Resources to get started in Permaculture yourself
Ben Falk, The Resiliant Farm and Homestead – The best book that I have purchased on the topic of Permaculture. Ben’s farm is in Vermont, a northern climate; so most of the topics in the book are applicable to our own designs here in Canada.
Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture – the works of the guru of mountain permaculture systems. The man who grows lemons in the Austrian Alps.
Geoff Lawton – The global leader in Permaculture design. Geoff is the chosen successor of the godfather and creator of the Permaculture movement: Bill Mollison.
Paul Wheaton – Paul is a major voice in the world of Permaculture and Hugelkulture. Paul is a follower and proponent of Sepp Holzer.
Bill Wilson Midwest Permaculture – Another highly respected organization providing information and Permaculture training.
Are you also interested in Permaculture? Have you taken a PDC or even an in-person course? I’d love to talk to you about it! I will certainly be posting more as I progress through my own training.