Why bother making a curbside garden, a raised bed or grow herbs in window sill cans when they’ll never produce much food? Why make them beautiful? And why put out a sign or blog about your achievement? You’re not doing anything that others haven’t done before, not making a dent in greenhouse gases, not feeding the poor and not challenging the agri-business-industrial-economics.
Tomorrow we present Permaculture Design Certificates to our 39th cohort. These very special people will be joining over 400 graduates of our practical skills training course, the Green Apprenticeship. I’m always amazed at who comes to learn from us. University students, architects, musicians, teachers, administrators, healthcare professionals come from around the world, mostly by word of mouth, to spend an intensive month of farming, building, cooking, singing, hiking… Learning with their hands old knowledge that Makes Sense to use today & new fangled technologies that don’t pollute and beautify the world (at least your apartment or backyard). They come with Questions and leave with, I hope and believe, Confidence, Agility & Ability to make small steps for a greater good.
I watched this video about Making Art and it made me think of the two qualities that artists and farmers (from homesteaders to windowsill-ers) have in common. One is their belief that their work and personal story Makes A Difference, has value and is worth sharing publicly. We learned about how ‘propaganda gardens’ transformed a dying English city into a Mecca for community revitalization. And how a few tiny curbside veggie patches in Los Angeles inspired kids to eat healthy meals. Gardens can be for humans as important as they are to butterflies and bees when they are Shared. Sharing the story of Why is as (or more) important a yield for a grand harvest as a few delicious organic tomatoes.
The second quality is Optimism. Even the most critical artist or cranky farmer is in fact and deed saying loudly “there is hope and I’m invested in spreading joy”.