Member spotlight - Peter
Hi there! I’m Peter and I’m from Hungary, here’s my story:
I came across permaculture last autumn. I have heard the word before but never really knew what it was about, so I googled it.
Then my brain exploded. In a good way though, it exploded with this whole new world of knowledge that resonated with me and my values more than anything ever before.
I started watching and reading everything permaculture related. The more I learned the more interested I got in it, which was a whole new feeling.
I came across a Patrick Whitefield video about composting, which led me to his website and his courses, his legacy. There I found a part-time evening course held in a small town called Totnes I knew nothing about. Or so I thought, it turned out I have heard of Totnes in Rob Hopkins’ TED talk.
I figured it’d be a really cool way to learn more about permaculture and I can do the 3 month long course whilst WWOOFing around Totnes, thus keeping the costs down (and learning even more in-between classes). Still, I didn’t have enough money for the trip at the time, but luckily a friend recognised my enthusiasm and helped me out.
So, I had a month or so to arrange everything from Hungary (where I live), email with WWOOF hosts, book the course, the flight (I know...), the buses.
It also helped that I lived in the UK before, so I was quite comfortable doing my Permaculture Design Course in another country.
My plan worked amazingly well!
WWOOFing allowed me to learn even more than the course provided. The part-time nature of the course helped me to be able to absorb all the precious knowledge and in many cases I was able to apply what I learned right away.
I visited 4 places (5 if we count a short visit to a forest garden at the end) in total, ranging in scale from smallholdings to big farms.
The best part was that I only met nice people! Through the course, through WWOOFing, in the shops, on the streets, everywhere! I don’t know if it’s the fresh air of Devon or the water they drink, but I was very grateful for it.
The course was amazing too, I gained a lot of practical knowledge through actual design work and I was brimming with ideas for my own garden by the end of it.
After finishing the course I headed back to Hungary and jumped on the work of transforming my veggie garden right away.
I built a tiny garden pond, terraced the garden with a semi-raised (hugel)bed, upgraded my compost bay I built last year, covered the veggie patch with compost, built an experimental deadwood hedge as a wildlife habitat and started collecting water off of roofs. I planted the garden with more perennials and a variety of flowers.
I’m also planning to extend my veggie garden and add a small forest garden to it. I have a head start as the fruit trees are already there and I have plenty of time to set it all up.
But the transformative effect of permaculture doesn’t stop at gardening, I’m making the switch back to public transport and trying to use less water. On the 'people level' I’m starting a permaculture group in my hometown to meet like-minded people, share knowledge (and hopefully seeds and veggies) and spread the word!
I’m also planning to weave permaculture into my day job as a freelance illustrator and animator, maybe making little explanatory illustrations and animated videos of different aspects of permaculture.
We’ll see how it all comes together, but one thing’s for sure: permaculture had a profound effect on my life in a very short amount of time and I don’t mind it, not one bit!
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