This led me to books on hobby farming, self-sufficiency, and home gardening. My growing love of cooking dovetailed nicely with the growing options for superior tasting organic foods. And the food was better! I had seen a few book titles for Permaculture during this time, but the covers of the books looked a bit odd. There seemed to be an almost religious aura around these books that turned off my more logical mind.
They also seemed to be dealing more with Australian agriculture, which it turns out they were since that is where Permaculture was developed. This was truly the first Permaculture book that I read, although that term was rarely used in the book.
The basic premise was designing a forest of plants trees, shrubs, vines, etc. It was a simple concept, but it was, and still is, revolutionary to me. I finally realized what Permaculture was not. It was not a tree-hugger, hippy, pseudo-religious idea. It was not about a militant, eco-fanatic approach to conservation. However regrettable, you will find many who treat Permaculture in this way. Permaculture is truly a scientific approach to land, plant, and animal management that treats the natural world with a sense of awe and respect.
Permaculture is about practical sustainability on an individual as well as societal basis. The science of Permaculture has a lot of breadth and depth, but basically, I think it is how I expected God wanted us to treat the land back in the Garden of Eden.
After working as a graphic designer and then going back to school for another eleven years to become a physician and then traveling with the Air Force for another seven years, I have had little time to do more than plant small gardens between studying, working, and moving. Hope you can visit… seriously. Hey, I like the new website! Oh gag me! Paul Wheaton of permies. Looking forward to it! There is no hippie stuff there. Check it out. My sentiments exactly. Are you still living in Kentucky?
I have visited Polyface farms several times now and Joel S is one of my food heroes. It was good to read your thoughts on his approaches. We have severe winters and I also felt the PDC curriculum, was more of a global orientation.
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Accordingly i have been developing and presenting a workshop on Fire, heating,cooking and related topics, as they represent a critical life skill not addressed in typical PDC regards, Tom. Like the site so far. I just joined. I live surrounded by lawns but my neighbors have gotten used to it. My mission in life is to help the bumblebee and other wild bees flourish, how my lot is transforming partly by me, mostly by itself is secondary but one helps the other. Birds are also a great help since somehow shrubs and plants are showing up on their own, and I suspect birds are the reason.
John, good job.
Great site, and very useful resources for those of us in cooler areas. We need all kinds of design to inform our ways of improving and sustaining our food sources. I think the spiritual side has its place for some, as does the aspect of commerce — but we need more people to see the benefits of a permaculture approach to the environment. Thanks for sharing what you have.
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John, Scottish Highlands. I really love your site John, I live here in Northern Utah and and am equally inspired with Permaculture.
My PDC was great and I have learned a ton and am very excited as you are to really get to know temperate climate stuff. Thanks for all your work here man.
I am really glad to find you blog and to have met you on Permise… I love you goals and outlook on things. Please let me know if I can ever answer any of your question directly, or just act as a sounding board for you ideas. I think if you present you case in the correct context to just about any building department in TN, you will be successful. If not, we will just get my bulldog of a PE after them, and there will not be much they can do about that except grant you a variance. Jay — Permies is a great site.
Hello John, I spent a lot of time on your old site, and it looks like I will be doing the same here. I am with you all the way, and have the land to slowly implement permaculture now. He is into permaculture as survival and he inspired me to buy some acres and give it a shot and I love it. I am still learning, but if I ever discover something new, or get a great guild going I will document it and let you know.
Until then I will be homesteading with permaculture as my guide and self sufficiency as my goal. For instance, our very own USDA has recently asked Geoff Lawton to teach his new online permaculture course to their entire institution.
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Do you know if this is still in the works, or if it has happened already? Thanks, Patty Parks-Wasserman. Love the new website—and all of your great reference material! Regarding the PDC—the experience of taking a course is life changing. Thanks for all you do John! These are some of the best mushroom and polypore pictures I have ever seen. What did you use for a camera and lens? Brian — I wish I could take credit for them!
They are beautiful! I take quite a bit of time and scour the net for good photos. All the photos I use are referenced at the end of each article.
Hi John, really like your site. I too am interested in permaculture and want to apply it now in real life. We bought some land west of Chicago 13 acre cornfield basically and wish to transform it into a permaculture paradise. Any advice where to start? My plan is to develop it into a restaurant supply forest or something like that. Permaculture is great but where do you actually start? This will give you a firm foundation to design and develop your land. Thanks John for such an excellent website on Temperate Climate Permaculture! I have enjoyed many of the things you have presented, especially the trees and fungi series and yes, the photos are excellent!
The PDC was an excellent way of connecting the dots of Permaculture for me, plus since it was given in the bioregion that I was currently farming in, it helped me to create a reference of sorts for guild plantings for my land even during the course. I would advise you to attend a course that will reflect the types of plants that are growing in your chosen land region. Fast forward almost 10 years and I find myself in a completely different bioregion, North Central Washington about 20 miles from the Canadian border, in fact it is -3 degrees F outside right now!
I was fortunate to take another PDC this past August, here in this bioregion, it was very valuable because the instructors emphasized the trees and plants which live around here. It was also valuable because I could compare and contrast the two courses and I can see I have certainly come a long way since my first PDC in ! Again, thank you for your excellent website, I have really enjoyed it and learned a lot! Joined today and am enthused.
I know that Kentucky practices will be important to learn about, as they include the understanding.
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Do we identify ourselves by ZONE to get the best information distributed? Just learning about Xanthoceras Sorbifolium Yellowhorn.
Looks like J. Hudson seedbank is best source for bulk seed. Any thoughts on this multipurpose shrub? So looking forward to planting a perennial veggie garden a la Paradise Lot and already have found good info in your content towards that end. Bill Mollison started in Melbourne, and there are many great permaculture farms and courses over here, but they are all in the south.
Several fantastic ones in Tasmania. However, it never snows where I am, and all the info about seasonal gardening, and how to manage frosts etc is pointless. Hi John. A couple of years ago we bought with the housband a land at the lakes and the forests, but in the middle of the village. I want it to be my heaven on the Earth.