I wanted to send everyone an update to let you know that Barb and I are in Southern California specifically Temecula. It is located about 70 miles north of San Diego. We are here to attend a conference called Permaculture Voices. It is four days of some of the biggest names in permaculture and as of the first day some amazing attendees.
This conference is for people that are “into” permaculture and are very aware of the many situations that our earth is in, Good and Bad. We have come here to learn more advanced and interesting ways to spread permaculture. Some of the things that we discussed on day one were:
What are the possibilities in permaculture. Basically the only limiting factor to the possibility is US.
Other topics ranged from Joel Salatin with his keynote speech guiding us thru the stacking of functions from the diversity of the farm and all of the small entrepreneurial businesses that are there for the next generations to start and to continue to stay on the farm. He also talks about creating multiple incomes and good ones ($$$$) at that. This will also be attractive to that next generation. He states that the average age of farmers today is at 60+ years of age and this is an indication of a DYING industry. He goes on that in the next 15 years 1/2 of the farm land will change hands, and this is an opportunity for anyone to get into farming. He states that innovation in agriculture or any business comes from a younger less conservative age that has the time and energy to fail and to get up and try again and again and again. His analogy was a baby taking its first steps and then falls down but then with encouragement from the people around him to get up and try again and again and again. When Joel said this it made me wonder how much further Barb and I would be on our journey into the world of Alternative Agriculture if the people around us would have treated us in all of our new thinking and endeavors that we have done over the years, and yes some were not great successes, but we do keep getting up again and again and again.
I do want to thank Joel on his unseen mentoring of us to help us to see a different way to farm some 15+ years ago. What is interesting he was turned on to permaculture when he was fifteen years old by and article he read by a guy named Bill Mollison, the father of permaculture. Now all these years later I have traveled half way around the world to be taught by the man who is the predecessor, Geoff Lawton.
Larry Santoyo is a permaculture teacher in the LA area and focuses on urban areas. In his talk he discussed the human resource available and how to organize it to build communities that become the solution. He does this by inventorying the landscape for what is there already and this means the plants and other natural resources but also the people and their talents and linking them together. In this way you don’t have to create, you only have to organize and expand which accelerates the building of a vibrant sustainable communities. He also showed the work that he does in some of the worst parts of Haiti and met the people there where they are. He said when he first went down there he wanted to meet with the elders of the community and he would just get stares at the request until he was told that the twenty-somethings were the elders. This is just one of the humbling moment he felt there. He showed the conditions there and that one of the most important permaculture “fixes” that he and his team could do was create small channels so that the human waste, that was everywhere, could be directed to holding areas to be dealt with in an more appropriate manner, which was to compost with a lot of carbon (leaves, paper, and wood). In this way the cholera that was killing the young could be reduced. He has used this and many other experiences to come to the conclusion that it is the small things that can make a difference.
From this I went to a talk from Owen Hablutzel and he asked the question “Do you know what the word Anthropocene time period is?” Well this was definitely a new word for me and that's what intrigued me. To cut this short it is the start of a new geological time on the planet that starts at the point at which we set off the first nuclear bomb in 1945. This is the point that we had the power to change the entire earth and that in hundreds of thousands of years from now that geologist will be able to look at the layers of rocks and be able to see a dramatic change, that's if we are still around. I'm going to link two short videos that will help you see what Anthropocene is. The first is Welcome to the Anthropocene and Water in the Anthropocene. When I took my course in Australia my teacher Geoff Lawton made a statement about the human race “We are a clever bunch”. When Geoff made this statement I believe he is saying that we got ourselves in this mess and we can get us out of it. I came away from this talk not sure if I was inspired or depressed and that is because it IS up to ME to either do something or not. I believe this is what we all have to realize, do we let it happen or do we make it happen, at this time in history we ultimately have the power to change our future.
Well not to bad for the first day of four, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings for us.