Hey there, Kerry here, I am relatively new to permaculture and I am realising there are is a lot to learn!! My understanding of permaculture was that it is all about growing food in your own garden or on your balcony or in a community garden (and probably had to be a hippie with an “alternate” mind set). So a couple of years ago my husband and I joint Permaculture Sydney West to find out what it is really all about.
Well I am finding out it is much more than growing food. It is about a sustainable way of life that incorporates all areas of your life that is in harmony with nature. Yes, growing food plays a major part of permaculture particularly food without harmful chemicals and pesticide. One principle of permaculture I was unaware of is “everything generally has more than one use or purpose”.
Bill Mollison (the Australian “father” of permaculture”) describes permaculture to be “a harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.” This really resonates with me.
When I was a child, I lived in the Central West of NSW (the other side of the Blue Mountains). It was normal for people to have vegie gardens, chooks, a woodpile etc. It was our family’s practice to call into a farm and buy potatoes and other veggies, if we didn’t have them ourselves. I am giving away my age here but I can remember going to the dairy on the outskirts of town to get fresh milk and cream. We ate seasonally and the taste of everything was wonderful.
Now with everything being available in supermarkets all year round, I find the taste is just not there and question the freshness of the veggies I buy. So my husband and I decided to grow our own and for me it has been a steep learning curve. I have been surprised at how much I do know about growing veggies, things picked up over the years. Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t but there is nothing like going outside to select things from the garden for a meal or collect the eggs and all of this in a Sydney suburb. It is delightful.
This is really the beginning for us and we are learning about the importance of observing and planning, experimenting and appreciating every aspect of permaculture in and around our home.
The best things about being members of Permaculture Sydney West are the friendships, experience, skills, sharing resources, and willingness of everyone to help and learn from each other.
Stay tuned for some interesting topics or if you have something you would like to know more about let us know. The first topic will be on composting.
Article by Kerry van Beest – Assistant Secretary