By Permaculture Association member Phil Moore of Permaculture People
|Meet Phil Moore and Lauren Simpson at Green Gathering this year.
Permaculture means many things to many people. This is part of the genius of a systems approach to life rooted in an ethical framework that encompasses many ideas and skills not unique to it. As a design system what Permaculture brings, in Patrick Whitefield’s words, “[is] the element of design, a way of putting components together for their maximum benefit.”
Lauren, my partner and I, wanted to explore theseideas so in 2012 we decided to go to the Americas to escapeLondon, breakout of routines and begin to imagine new possibilities in our lives.
We spent a total of two years on the road: one year in Central America and one year in South America. Travelling overland we sought out permaculture projects and land based, ecological practices to learn, see, and participate in permaculture. You can read about our time here.
Nearing the end of our travels in the Americas we decided to continue our explorations to see what the scene was like back home. Returning home in the spring of 2014 we hitchhiked across the UK visiting over 40 sites. We were welcomed with warmth and open arms as we emailed people introducing ourselves as students of permaculture seeking to learn more.
“Observation is a form of intervention” said Chris Dixon, writer and permaculture practitioner, as we sat in the warm June breeze in Wales listening to him discuss regeneration, planning permission, and permaculture whilst sipping on our handpicked herbal tea.
We were given a five hour tour of Deano Martin’s site in Lincolnshire. Deano’s passion, understanding, and breadth of reading was apparent as we asked him question after question.His work ethic clearly apparent too. As he told us, “You learn by doing and when it’s done.”
In August we stayed a few nights with Graham and Nancy of the Red Shed in Coldstream, just over the border in Scotland. Marvelling at their abundant, productive forest garden we interviewed Graham for a short film about the UK’s oldest established forest garden which you can see here.
We met the unassuming and kind hearted Rod Everett at Backsbottom Farm, that was passed on toRod by his father. Set in a beautiful valley in North Lancashire, the river Roeburn runs through 250 acres of wild flower meadows, ancient semi-natural woodland, pasture fields and fell land with swales. We travelled to Ed Tyler’s smallholding on the south-westcoast of Scotland and discussed bioregioning; learnt about forest gardendesignat Martin Crawford’s 2.1 acre demonstration site on the beautiful Dartington Estate in Devon; we spent a week volunteering with Pat of Ourganics in Dorset, inspired by her humility and fearlessness; and learnt of the properties of Biochar at Ed Revill’s permaculture/agro-ecology based market garden in Swansea.
We documented our travels in our blog and soon realised that more and more people wanted to hear about our travels.
This is one of the main reasons why we’ll be at this year’s Green Gathering - the off-grid family renewable community sustainable festival in Chepstow from August 13th-16th.
We’ll be in the Permaculture Zone helping set up and tat down but also to regale wanderers and wonderers with tales of our UK permaculture peregrinations. Story and travelling go hand in hand and we want to share with others the ideas, places and projects we had the good fortune of visiting.
Permaculture people are Phil Moore and Lauren Simpson. They tweet at @permapeople. Any questions email [email protected]