Dear Permaculture Island,
My Introduction to permaculture was a slow, misinformed, misunderstood journey!! As a ‘youth’ on the Island i followed some not so environmentally friendly habits of course!! Growing up here introduced me to nature and it’s beauty.. but i had no appreciation for where our food came from? Or the complex eco systems which ultimately sustain our lives. As i grew up and embarked on university and mainland life, i started to meet a wider, more diverse, colourful population. University life unveiled wild conspiracy theories linked to climate change, peak oil, the elite and the way the in which the world operated. I did get lost in some of those theories for a while!! But that is ultimately where my curiosity began. I wanted so much to understand the connection i felt with nature.. the sun rise.. the sunset.. without becoming religious about it!! They were thought provoking years indeed..
Eleven years ago, i had my beautiful son and chose to relocate back to the Island. Determined not to fall back into old circles and old habits, i embarked on clearing out the old and embracing the future. This began with me clearing out my closet.. and ultimately creating a new business and self employment based on recycling and reusing the material life i had made!! A few years into my venture, i met Lucy and Gavin. In no uncertain terms, they changed my life. Although i had my vision.. my business.. it lacked a change within my self. I recognised something was missing.. i wasn’t pushing forward in the way i had hoped. Soon, it all came to a bit of a head, where i seemed to level out instead of continuing to grow. I was happy with this ultimately, as work life slowed down also and i was able to think again!
After meeting Lucy & Gavin, an allotment i had previously applied for.. became available. I had always wanted to be more self sufficient. It was part of my vision and my desire to change. Yet i had absolutely no clue where to begin!! I was/am a busy working mother. When on earth was i going to find the time to grow vegetables!!!! Que: Permaculture Island… Through our early years of friendship, i learnt a lot about permaculture, peak oil and sustainable living. More than just banded about university/flippant conversations. The reason I learnt more and paid more attention, was because i saw it in real life applied action. The values, the core beliefs, the actual science!! It resonated with me. I knew that although i may never end up with my own ‘permaculture island’, the concept fit in very nicely with where i was/am on my journey in this life. Not only morally, but practically. The no dig approach offered a ‘less work’ alternative.. akin to mimicking nature and replenishing the soil which i came to learn has been irrevocably depleted over years through ‘big ag’ (Agriculture.) The less work/time manageable approach appealed..
I began to use my resourcefulness to acquire a shed.. tools.. and indeed a few plants!! To begin on my own allotment adventure. With an untold amount of physical and mental support from Lucy & Gavin, we began to transform my overgrown plot and my mind haha!! I learned first hand, how to embrace nature for direct gains/food in return for restoring the balance of the soil and it’s nutritional value. Permaculture isn’t about reaping what you can sow, it is about finding a balance that is sustainable. Lucy & Gavin taught me a great deal about nutritional value, sustainable farming and the science of soil/mulching. They have ultimately allowed my journey to evolve, whilst supporting me along the way.
Permaculture Island not only offers amazing educational support, they offer a first hand insight into sustainable farming/living and proof that an alternative way of life/farming is achievable. They inspire change and self reflection.. They encourage small, gentle steps, by no means through preaching or lectures!!! One of their motto’s being ‘Think Global, Act Local.’ I find this can be applied to nearly every aspect of my life… Whilst i have no desire to completely change my life overnight.. i do have a desire for change. I have a desire to see a more sustainable future for my son and our planet. I am by no means a ‘hippy’ and have never attained that recognition, nor would i want to!! I am a somewhat normal part of our society with a simple recognition that the planet as it is, is not sustainable. Our way of life is not sustainable. The desire/connection i felt about this, was there long before i met Lucy & Gavin. They have simply offered an insight into the possibilities that lay before each and everyone of us with a desire/recognition for change. They have so eloquently enabled me to recognise, that change starts within.. they have offered me an insight into my own skill sets and inspired me to action with new found confidence!!
I believe more Lucy & Gavin’s in the world would be a treasure.. and i know there are many many others just as inspiring, who are following similar paths of leading by example. You only have to look across the globe to see a vast permaculture movement. As more and more of our systems are tested and stretched.. more and more of us are recognising climate and energy issues ahead…more and more of us are recognising the ‘need’ for change in order to maintain some form of sustainable civilisation in years to come.. we truly need more and more Lucy & Gavin’s to help educate us and inspire us to action. Change comes from within.. but it helps if you have a bloody good guide or two!!! I Thank You Lucy & Gavin.. I Love Permaculture Island.. Long may i continue to learn from you.. Long may my own desire fuel my journey.. “Think Global.. Act Local.”
Mrs Catherine McDonald
Dear Permaculture Island,