A few months ago, as we began to struggle with this ongoing pandemic and crisis, I started a series that I called UK Prepper Mom. But that never felt just right. That word – prepper.
And it certainly did not feel right when people began to contact me about ‘food security’ – which to them meant protecting what was ‘yours.’ Even if that meant guns.
That was not what I meant. Not what I stood for. Not part of my values.
My intent was to share knowledge, encourage others to grow their own, and reconnect with nature. My belief was that while this crisis was uncomfortable, it was an opportunity for growth and change. A wake-up call more than the apocalypse. I was more an optimist than a pessimist. And while my faith in the basic goodness of humanity has been shaken in these months, I still believe all that.
So, why use that term?
That answer is simple. Ignorance. I did not have a better word for my beliefs. I had not heard the word…
But what is that, you ask? And how is it different than prepping?
Permaculture stands for permanent culture (originally agriculture). It goes beyond the idea of sustainability and recognizing that before we can get to that point we must first rehabilitate, regenerate, and restore this planet. It is not enough to simply stop damaging Mother Earth. We have passed the tipping point where that would be sufficient. We have to go beyond that to heal Her.
Permaculture is heavily focused on thoughtful design, observing and mimicking Nature, Herself. It requires conscious, reflective, and proactive decision-making.
At its core, permaculture has three core values:
- Earth Care
- People Care
- Fair Share
This illustrates how those things work together and overlap:
It may look complicated…and trust me this diagram is simpler than many of the books on the subject. But at its core, it all boils down to one thing:
Do no harm.
Respect the planet, other people and species, and think more about the future than the present.
Those are some pretty radical and revolutionary ideas in the world in which we live. And one of the things that it requires is a paradigm shift, a switch in the way we see ourselves and things.
Most of us in the Western world have been trained from even before we are aware to be ‘Consumers.’ Pause for a moment and think about that word. What it means and implies. To use up. And that is exactly what we have done to this planet, Her natural resources, and sadly to other people. And ultimately even ourselves.
Permaculture is about shifting that mindset to stewards. It’s not a word or a mindset that is common these days. Merriam-Websters define stewardship as:
the conducting, supervising, or managing of something especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care
Dictionary.com goes even further:
the position and duties of a steward, a person who acts as the surrogate of another or others, especially by managing property, financial affairs, an estate, etc.
the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.
How very different those two philosophies are. To consume without thought of the needs of others, present or future. Or to manage responsibly something of value on behalf of others, including future generations.
I know which path I want to take, what legacy I want to leave.
But, of course, after a lifetime of conditioning to consume, it is not that easy. It means re-learning ways of thinking, being, and living. That does not happen magically. It takes thoughtful reflection, hard work, and many, many failures along the path.
A path that I have been stumbling upon over and over again without recognizing where it led. It is like being lost. Having the map turned the wrong way. Then suddenly, you recognize a landmark. You know where you are. And how to get there. Of course, you aren’t there yet. You might not even be close. But at least, you finally know where you are and how to get where you want to be.
That is what discovering permaculture has been for me. I welcome you to share my journey of discovery, not as an expert on the subject, but as a simple pilgrim. I hope many of you will, like me, find this is the right path to your future.
Oh, and next time…I’ll do a bit more contrasting that prepper vs. permaculture mentality. Until then…
Goddess bless, protect & heal you and yours,
P.S. Speaking of which…our tests came back negative. But as we learned there are an incredibly high number of false negatives. So, we may never know if what we had was Covid or something. But it certainly quacked like a duck. Both Alan and I are on the mend finally. And as you can tell, I am looking to a brighter future for our @HomeCrazzyHome, yours, and this planet.