Column 1 in Home Grown, weekend magazine, Sunshine Coast Daily, by Zaia Kendall.
Design for resilience
We have lived on our farm for 15 years now. In that time we have worked with a very low budget to make the farm (and ourselves) as resilient as possible. We can now supply for our own needs from the farm. As we have noticed in the Covid-19 crisis, there may be a time when you can no longer rely on the government, your job, the supermarkets or the food supply chain.
I would love to help you feel empowered as you achieve resilience in your own space! This may mean re-thinking some of your lifestyle choices.
Changing your lifestyle is not an easy thing to do. I grew up very privileged, and it was a challenge for me initially to adapt to a lifestyle so different from what I was used to. Now I wouldn’t change it for anything! I love our fresh food, fresh air, clean water, simple shelter (still unfinished) and our community!
We practice permaculture on our farm. Permaculture is not just gardening, it is a design system for sustainable living. In order to start living sustainably and becoming more resilient, we need to start by designing our space to suit our needs. We need shelter, clean food, clean water and clean air, and community.
If you are in an urban or suburban situation, you may want to see whether you can become part of (or even start) a community garden. You can ask your local council to allow verge gardening. You can start talking with your neighbours about food growing and do food exchanges.
Do not hesitate to design your gardens to grow vertically in smaller spaces. Use pots and other containers to garden indoors or outdoors.
Good permaculture design requires 100 hours of thought and 1 hour of implementation. To design your space, ask yourself the following questions:
What are your needs within your space? What do you eat? How much food do you need? What about water, can you harvest water? How much light comes into your space (indoors and outdoors). What is the sun angle? What are the hotspots or cold spots? How much space do you have? Note that this includes vertical space as well eg. walls, fences etc. Does the sun hit those spaces and if it does, when? What spaces can be used indoors to produce food? Do you have a bathtub for aquaponics? Do you want to include small animals (guinea pigs, pigeons, fish, rabbits if allowed, chickens, ducks etc) or larger animals (goats, sheep, cows, pigs etc)? How much time do you have? Will you be doing it on your own or will you have help? How can you incorporate everything to fulfil your needs and still be sustainable or even better, be regenerative?
Give these questions some thought to enable you to start creating a sustainable and resilient design for your space.
Forum for questions: www.permeco.org/forums/