Today is one of my favorite days of the year. The Autumnal Equinox is particularly special, even holy, to us. I am not an overly spiritual person, but September/October are fabulous times-the harvest is still in full swing-my sunchokes are cresting 8′-and while there is a nip in the air during my 5am commute I can still pick tomatoes and peppers. It is a beautiful, magical time.
Today was also the final installment of a 6 month long intermittent training program I was participating in at work. Together with another 40 execs from our region, we got together 3-4 times to discuss career development, give/receive feedback and network. This is real Fortune 500 stuff that I tend to isolate from my blog, but during the sessions I (being me) had worked enough permaculture stuff into some of the discussions that 2 of the members of my group were up from IL asked for an “eco-tour” of my property after we wrapped up.
We took the short version (under an hour) of the tour, and as I explained my permaculture guilds, rain barrels/gardens, bio-cisterns, and native plantings we grazed along the way. They were amazed that at almost every stop I was able to bend over and pluck a leaf off a plant, pop a tuber out of the ground, a berry from a bramble, or fruit from a vine. They commented on the simple elegance of the rubble rock walls and the frugality of the municipal wood chip mulches-and were then fascinated at the functionality of the rocks storing heat to serve as season extenders, and the mulch as a substrate for edible mushrooms and provide food for a complete soil ecosystem.
When I answered their question that I had harvested over 500# of produce this year and hoped for 2000# within 3 years they were stunned. They know I work the same jobs they do-they knew that they could do it too if they wanted to.
And that is what my HOA Permaculture is all about. Imagine if I hit my goal of 2000#. Imagine if my entire subdivision of 50 homes did the same (100,000#). Then take that out to my little village of 1200 with its 500 homes and you get darn near 1,000,000 pounds of food. All from homes that still have lawns and play systems and decks. From the street it would look like we all just have well landscaped homes. But a walk through that landscape and you realize that virtually everything is either edible, or supporting a plant that is.
David Holmgren has posited that we turn the problem of Suburbia into the potential solution for the feared food crunch of the coming century through Permaculture. In no other time have so many people owned land-cleared, arable, and irrigated land. The fact that we only farm Kentucky Bluegrass instead of apples and raspberries on our small holdings is only a matter of priorities and the luxury granted to us by cheap energy. The energy needed to completely revamp the infrastructure of our society may no longer exist-I believe we need to make lemons with our lemonade as we transition to a greener future. That Super Walmart looks alot less necesary if each hamlet is growing 1,000,000 pounds of real food…
Be the Change!