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Journey into Permaculture - Vinson Corbo EPISODE 4, 27th April 2020
Where Do I Start?

Where Do I Start?

I want to cover the question "Where do I start?" I've seen this question frequently on social media outlets. I'm going to use quotes from Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, the founders of permaculture, to help answer this question.

Permaculture means 'permenant-culture'. It's much more than 'permenant-agriculture', as many would otherwise define the word. There's much more to this movement than agriculture, it's a multi-layered and conscious design on methodologies of sustainability.

"The conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems that have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems" - Bill Mollison

"Traditional agriculture was labor intensive, modern industrial agriculture is energy intensive, and permaculture-designed systems are information and design intensive" - David Holmgren

"People frequently ask how much land they need for self-sufficiency. The answer is 'As much as you can control'. Any more and you lose self-sufficiency. Let alone the ability to produce an excess. If people ask 'Where do I start?' Then the answer is always, 'At your front doorstep.'" - Bill Mollison

What purpose do you want your land to serve? What will you be able to contribute to your land?

You will need to create a permaculture plan that will give an overall view of what the land could look like in the end of your journey. However, this will likely change as it goes because permaculture is a dynamic system. Create goals that you wish your land to provide for you. Above all, before doing anything, observe the functions of your land and how it will be able to make way to reach those goals. Don't make any major changes in the land, especially things such as permanent buildings or features. As you learn more about your land, it may have not been placed in the right place.

As you build your permaculture plan for your property, you will need to learn as much as you can about permaculture, other alternative agriculture methods, and environmental sustainability. You may consider a Permaculture Design Certification, which is at minimum a 72 hour class. Many of the best permaculture teachers are talking at in a world-wide conversation that will better create a curriculum that all share, and standardize the PDC moving forward with the movement.

Don't rule out animals to help establish your permaculture plan at your property. Chickens naturally scratch and till grass to eat bugs and other vegetation. Over time, they will scratch and till the vegetation to bare ground. As you give them tomatoes and other seed bearing fruits or vegetables, they will spread the desirable volunteer seeds for you. When you move the animals, the seeds will germinate and start your first garden. You could plant additional seeds after moving the animals as well. Goats will eat away overgrowth, and virtually any plant is on the menu, including poison ivy. Don't pet your goat after they go into a poison ivy patch, however! Goats are great for clearing the overgrowth for other animals to succeed their place and change the land according to your plan. Pigs are great for rooting plants and bugs in the soil. They will get rid of pesky plants that you wish to get rid of from the roots. Pigs will also wallow in the ground naturally in a hole where a future pond will be. This will create a natural compaction to keep water in the pond instead of it slowly seeping out quickly. There are many ways to use animals to help do the work for you.

Once you have studied permaculture thoroughly, created a plan that you will work towards on your property that will ultimately meet goals you've created, as well as identified the time commitment involved, you are well underway to starting out right from your doorstep. Think of starting out as a tree growing, the growth starts in the soil then occurs upward and outward, from the inside out. The first ring started in the middle (your home) and then outward from there. The last ring was the last year's growth, where you will expand from the inside of the home to the outskirts of the property. Good luck on your Journey into Permaculture. See you next time!