Member Spotlight: Towards self-sufficiency while working with wildlife

by Richard Fox

We asked new member Richard to introduce where he is growing. Richard has years of experience and is adding permaculture to his toolbox.

Brambles

I am fortunate enough to have a couple of acres of land, which had not been managed for a number of years and had reverted to wild meadow with a LOT of brambles.

About 5 years ago, I started to clear the brambles and in doing so realised that I could use the land to my benefit but needed to ensure I didn’t upset the wildlife that called it their home.

I have been a beekeeper for the past 10 years and have kept the hives in my back garden. However, I wished to increase my hive numbers and so about the same time I decided to move them to the land.

I planted an orchard for the bees to pollinate. I set to work creating allotment space to grow some vegetables, giving some space over to the local community to do the same. As I got into it and enjoyed the fruits of my labour, I set myself a 5 year plan to become as self-sufficient as I could. However, after about 12 months I realised I needed some guidance and support to make the most of my plan.

This is when permaculture came into my life. As soon as I read about the principles and ethics, I recognised myself and what I was trying to do.

Currently, I have a small allotment but am creating a larger one for this year, an orchard of apple, pear and cherry trees. I have begun a fruit cage (still in very early stages of construction), chickens, a worm farm and 3 homemade compost bins. I have also just finished planting a willow arch as an entrance way to the allotments.

This has been physical hard work at times but the results so far totally outweigh the sore muscles!

I am looking to get a polytunnel in the next year or so (finances permitting) and fencing the whole thing with natural English hedgerow.

I am just about to complete an Introduction to Permaculture course, and am looking to embark on the Permaculture Design Course some time in the next 6 months.

Designing for Resilience: The Foundatiosn of Permaculture