Permaculture (it’s more than just gardening!) with Robyn Rosenfeldt

Permaculture (it’s more than just gardening!) with Robyn Rosenfeldt - Episode 189 of The Slow Home Podcast

Dixit Motiwala

If you’re anything like me, you probably have heard the term permaculture. And if you’re a little more like me, you may have heard it in terms of gardening, and in particular, growing food. You may understand that it has something to do with tapping in to the natural systems, strengths and partnerships in the plant (and animal) world, and that it’s a method of growing that results in better soil, a more seasonal approach to food production and higher yield. It’s also a bit of a buzz word these days too.

What I’d never really considered before is that the philosophy of permaculture doesn’t stop at food production. In fact, much like slow living, the permaculture philosophy extends to community, connection, family, relationships, business and how we view the world at large. It can impact on where we live and how we live there, as well as the things we own, the money we earn and the way we interact with those around us.

Permaculture hinges on 3 key ideas, all of which can be applied to pretty much every element of life:

  • earth care
  • people care
  • a fair share

In today’s episode I chat with Robyn Rosenfeldt, the founder and editor of Pip Magazine – a magazine dedicated to spreading the ideas of permaculture far and wide. Pip is released three times a year and is packed full of both inspirational articles that dive deep in to permaculture, as well as the super practical information that will help you turn that inspiration in to action.

We chat about the similarities between slow living and permaculture, how Robyn came to discover permaculture, and what led her to make the shift permanently. We also talk about the idea of self-sufficiency, and why permaculture isn’t necessarily going to allow us to be individually self-sufficient, but rather encourages the creation of self-sufficient communities.

This is an idea I really seize upon because so often we’re sold the idea that we should aim for total self-sufficiency, where permaculture admits that doing so would either be impossible, or very not fun. Instead, it encourages us to create connections within our community and begin to use those connections to work towards self-sufficiency.

We also look at what community means and why we sometimes may need to look beyond our neighbourhood to find a tribe of like-minded people.

Robyn has some fantastic suggestions for those of us who want to start on the path to permaculture but don’t have a lot of time, and one of those suggestions is to let go of perfection. Our gardens (or balconies or community plots) don’t need to be Instagram-worthy in order to be productive, and while there’s definitely inspiration to be found in pretty photos, it’s worth remembering that a pretty photo is not the entire picture.

One of her other suggestions is to begin to educate ourselves on our food – where it comes from, what time of year we should be seeing it in supermarkets (and what times of year we shouldn’t – AHEM, nectarines in July!). It’s from this basis of knowledge that we can begin making small, consistent changes and from there springs real and lasting change.

I consider myself so lucky to be able to speak to so many inspiring guests for the poggie, and Robyn is no exception. I love the work she’s doing to spread the ideas of permaculture across the globe, and just as excited to hear that readership of Pip is growing as more and more people jump on board.

Enjoy!

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