... if you fall, even just generally into this mindset, then THIS blog post is for you. hopefully by the end of this post you may see that living even some elements of the permie lifestyle is not beyond your reach.
my husband and i have three gorgeous children (see my other blog, The Mum Thing, to learn more about that). but having three children means a busy life. 4 days a week include after school activities. the mountain of laundry and the lunches that need to be made is enough to drive anyone crazy. and the cleaning -- ugh! ok ... so i admit that isn't my best suit <g>. all i'm saying is that i get being busy -- truly i do!
so let's nip the green thumb thing in the bud straight away. remember that living a permie lifestyle isn't about gardening -- gardening is only a possible element of what you embrace ... there is much more to it. the three facets of permaculture are:
- care for the land. in relation to growing, it means to ensure that the techniques you use are sustainable, chemical free (e.g., non-GM), and that you are moving towards a closed loop system. it also means that in your day-to-day life you make every effort not to destroy the environment, but to be a wise steward and care for the resources and use them to the best of your ability (grey water recycling and going solar, for example).
- care for people. the example i heard was do you have a gate in the fence between you and your neighbor? do you care for your family and friends? for those people who's lives you are most involved with? practically it means that we support locally grown produce. by supporting our local growers (who we can identify!), buying at your local markets, etc. what about bartering .... does your neighbor grow or make something you would like? what do you have to offer in trade?
- shedding excess. well .... this one is pretty obvious! do you have way too much of stuff in your house? do you really need that extra indulgence? do you really need to keep up with the jones's? i don't think there is one person in the western world who doesn't struggle with wanting more than we actually need. what a waste! learn to do with less .... does it really do anyone any good?
so .... those are the three principles in big picture. but what does that mean to you in a truly practical way? here are just a few of the things that you could do with your family to begin the transformation to a sustainable, healthy and renewable lifestyle.
be a locavore! what is that??? it's someone who is passionately committed to buying locally. i hear the argument that the produce is more expensive at the markets, or buying organic costs so much, etc., etc. yeah. it is and it does. but you know what? it's also healthier. so you are putting healthy stuff into your body. which means that down the track you are cutting down on medical bills and costs because you have a better way of life. and isn't that the most important thing in the end?
recycle. guess what? it's ok to have second hand stuff! we built our new chook hilton out of 95% recycle goods. tomorrow we are going to the local mushroom growers and getting a truck load of free compost for the garden. what about ebay? the local op shops? all ways to get stuff that is pre-loved and a great value to boot!
have a garage sale! that's my challenge .... come our september spring we are having a HUGE garage sale and i want to get rid of heaps of stuff. if it hasn't been used in the past 6 months it will get chucked (sentimental hiccups will only be tolerated at a minimum!)
find out how your meat is raised. is it organic? is the beef at least grass fed rather than grain fed? are your chickens and eggs free range? what about your pork and lamb? ask your local butcher where they get their meat. i had a great conversation with our butcher the other week and apart from learning that all his beef is grass feed (yeah!), he learned about Joel Salatin and Polyface Farm. having that relationship with your butcher is invaluable.
so see, there is heaps that you can do that isn't about gardening .... it's about a way of life. i think that most people would admit that providing natural, healthy alternatives for their family would be a preference ... and that's the fire in your belly that you need to own to get you started. fan that flame just a little. we fanned that flame in our family it's become a slow and continuously burning fire of excitement and hope about what we can do to change our little corner of God's world and restore it to how He created it .... and feed our family well to boot!