I am a mum of 2 young boys and work in health promotion in the Mountains. My passion is the environment and so everything I do has an element of that in it. I studied bush regeneration for a year and worked in that field for a year after my PDC course. They systems knowledge of water flow etc in PDC help me understand more deeply what happens in disturbed bushland. The PDC and my bush regeneration indirectly led to my work as a contractor with WWF International where my main task is answering peoples questions as they flow in from the www.panda.org webpage. It’s amazing how many of practical queries about “green living” can be answered using permaculture principles.
I use elements of the PDC in every aspect of my personal and professional life. Of most benefit to me is the question “how many solutions can a single answer to a problem provide?” I discard almost any solution that doesn’t solve at least 3 problems (or in positive terms provide 3 opportunities). This principle holds out whether I am applying for a grant, designing a project for work, growing food or trying to teach my kids about the world.
More practically, we built my mother a studio out of poured earth and straw bales utilising passive solar design where possible. We are slowly retrofitting our own home – finance and time permitting and our latest achievement is the set of 6 solar panels that now proudly adorns our roof. Our garden has evolved (rather than been strictly designed) over time and in between having children. It loosely resembles permaculture zones complete with chooks (and an odd kind of chook tractoring system), worms, an endemic native section and a kind of orchard. I belong to diggers and love the concept of heritage seeds. We manage to save and plant snap peas each year which is a start at least. We are also seriously considering guinea pigs to mow our front yard. The debate is whether we should use rabbits instead and then consume them instead of buying meat. My boys (young and old) are definitely NOT vegetarian! We are able to pick something from the garden throughout the year and in summer we would have bounteous fruit crops if only we could work out a safe way to protect our fruit from the bower birds who apparently don’t agree with sharing. We are slowly trying to integrate locally grown food as a staple. Eventually we want to have 1-2 meals a week for the whole family that have come completely from very local sources. At the moment, scrambled eggs with herbs is the closest we get but we’re working on it. Aquaponics is an ongoing discussion and hubby and I will undoubtedly give it a go at some point. We are currently attempting to design a wind break and again lessons learnt from the PDC are part of the design although realistically the gale force blasts that frequent our front yard are always going to ensure that there are more solutions that need to be thought about. At the local school, my whole family enjoys being a part of the kitchen garden that was reinstated recently thanks to the hard work of Lizzie Connor and others. At work, I introduced a bohkashi bin and it is now one of our CEO’s proudest acquisitions. The copious volumes of shredded paper generated at work is primarly used by my chooks for bedding and shared with my colleagues for their compost bins. So yes, the PDC has pervaded many aspects of my life and I am very glad I did the course. Not only did it give me food for thought (about everything really) I’ve been introduced to a lot of fascinating local folk which made the course worthwhile in itself.