Permaculture Days; Abundance

One of the Pod Project at Carraig Durla, Wicklow. Permaculture Design Course.

Why permaculture? Like many people I have been feeling powerless to help against the avalanche of environmental crises facing the globe. The temptation is to believe that I cannot do anything as the scale of the task is monumental but if we all took responsibility for the things we can change that would be powerful. The question then is what can I do? Permaculture is a form of garden design but it is so much broader than that. It is about thinking about the systems, patterns and structures in your whole life and exploring how to optimise them to benefit you, your family and the environment. So I believe that permaculture offers me an answer for moving forward. I hope to put what I have learnt into practice at home and to share it with any others that are interested.

“Permaculture is a creative design process based on whole-systems thinking informed by ethics and design principles that feature on this site.https://permacultureprinciples.com

5 am and the cock is crowing. It’s my last day at Carraig Durla; I am snuggled in an orange sleeping bag that’s been to Everest (not with me but with a lovely friend who appreciates that being able to keep warm is key) looking up at the folds of the bell tent that has been home for two weeks, I am taking the time to reflect on the abundance of the last 14 days.

Abundance may seem something of an oxymoron to some when contemplating Carraig Durla but that is only if it is viewed through a narrow filter of modern standards. When describing the washing facilities and compost toilet to my family, my cousin observed that she admired me. I know this is unwarranted, there is nothing to admire as there is nothing to endure; I have never felt so free or so replete as I have done this last few weeks. This is life at its best, in nature, listening to birds (even the damn Cockerel who I very much wanted to add to the pot for the first few days), smelling the air after it has rained, working in the sunshine, learning both in the conventional sense and experientially to balance my use of resources with the needs of others both humans but also other creatures and the environment has been wonderful. This may seem as if I am being pretentious but this retraining of expectations and rights to use at will everything that is around me is part of the process to living a permaculture life, of whole system thinking.

Take the washing facilities as an example. Hot water is limited. Everyone on the course needs a share and the washing up for 30 needs to be done three times a day. My early thoughts on this was that OK I am going to be a bit smelly and there was no way I would be able to wash my hair but everyone else would be in the same boat so perhaps it wouldn’t matter. And it turns out that that it hasn’t mattered but not because there isn’t enough hot water but because everyone is taking a reasonable share; using less. It has really made me question how much do I really need?

When I have camped before it has usually been supported by the facilities of a campsite. What Carraig Durla has is a different support system. The site supports you to work as part of a community, to manage resources, to take responsibility and time to reflect on what is abundance. Enough it turns out is less than you think.

“Permaculture is a revolution disguised as gardening” (Mollison, 1985)

As well as an abundance of insights into my use of water and social permaculture I have learnt about the ecology around me. Soil it turns out is magic. The day we spent learning about soil was one of the best days on the course. This is not something I thought I would say, biology was mildly interesting at school and wasn’t something I followed up after leaving. Clearly I have been missing out! Now as an adult, looking at soil as part of an ecosystem it has become something to consider with reverence. The number of life forms living in the soil supporting the system (nematodes, bacteria, beetles, mycelium networks) enabling us to grow and harvest nutritious food was astonishing. Sadly, our misuse of it was also eye-opening and horrifying too. By using chemicals, tilling the soil and intensifying we have been reducing soil health and therefore our own ability to receive minerals and nutrients from our food. If we keep going like this then the number of harvests remaining to us are limited, perhaps to as few as 60, less than the life expectancy of our children.

Receiving this information did feel like being given a heavy burden, yet another problem to worry about to add to the huge problems of global warming, carbon emissions, acidification of the oceans, mass extinction of thousands of species including the pollinating insects and plastic pollution but just like all of these issues it something that I can do something about. I can choose to use my own garden, to manage my soil differently or to subscribe to one of the many local cooperative farmers that are springing up all over the place and are using different practices. I can aim for zero waste, consume differently, I can reduce my carbon emissions by looking at my house as a whole system and I can work with others, sharing skills so that making changes can become affordable and possible and I can share this information, my time and things that I have learnt so that maybe others will feel empowered to make changes.

There is a huge risk of sounding evangelical at this point and naive. It’s true that on my own my actions are not going to turn the tide. It is going to take all of us reducing our carbon emissions and changing our habits, reflecting on what is enough but there are many many people who are already doing this. I am choosing to join them as putting my head in the sand or waiting for the government to do something seems to much like giving up and for my children’s sake I am not going to do that.

I am really sad to be leaving Carraig Durla today but I am itching to get started on designing my garden, the systems I use in my house and the way I run my life. For the first time in a long time, I feel I have a direction and something other than my organisational skills that I can bring back and share as part of the Pod Project.

This PDC course has been designed with skill, thoughtfulness and whole system thinking. I have immense gratitude for Suzie, Hannah and Mike, all of the other tutors and all the participants. I feel as if I have been given an abundance of information and experiences upon which I can build further knowledge and skills and an abundance of permaculture friends and access to a huge network of like minded people. Definitely this has been one of the best things I have done.

Wilding

Wow. I’ve just finished listening to ‘Wilding’ by Isabella Tree. An audio book that has kept me enthralled on my travels, over breakfast and late at night when I should have been sleeping. It’s been a long time since I have been moved by a book quite this much.

The book is about the amazing journey of Wilding the Knepp Estate. Once an intensive farm and for the last twenty years a safe haven for nature from the earthworms, butterflies, insects, mammals and birds to wildflowers, hedges, trees, fungi and mycorrhizae. Isabelle Tree talks movingly about it all but it’s the last chapter that left me with a deep longing to do more. In it she describes how the beauty and vitality of Knepp’s complex ecology means that now, travelling around the country or going on walks that previously she would have enjoyed all she sees is what is missing. The general landscape is barren, it may to the uneducated eye appear beautiful and aesthetically pleasing but that is because this is what we are accustomed to seeing. Insects, birds (and bird song), small mammals and fauna are disappearing and we, many of us nature lovers, are oblivious because we have nothing to compare it too. This is ‘shifting base line’ syndrome in action.

I really want to go on one of Knepp’s Estate safari tours so I can see for myself what I am missing but this is almost unnecessary I can feel it. Spending time thinking about my childhood, conjuring up memories from forgotten archives of my mind of long summer days playing outside, aware of but not listening to the sounds of birds song, picking blackberries and eating them straight from the bush and along the way disturbing multiple butterflies and insects from the undergrowth. It’s not all gone but it is less. There is less volume of bird song, less variety. Now spotting a butterfly is something to be commented on rather than so common it was just part of the landscape. My windscreen is not continually splattered by flying insects when I drive at night. I cannot hear the Nightingale or Turtle Dove or watch the lark ascending.

I know from personal experience how much I longed to be apart of nature and that when given an opportunity to relocate what I wanted was not more internal space to settle in but a place as my friend described it ‘with sky.’

“The need to relate to the landscape and to other forms of life, whether one considers this from an emotional, intellectual, cognitive or spiritual perspective it is in our genes. Severe that connection and we are floating in a world where our deepest sense of ourselves is lost” Isabella Tree

I now have my place with sky and I love it and it has without doubt improved my wellbeing and that of my families but I see it with new eyes and I wonder what is missing? What has slipped away and disappeared barely marked by us as we get on with our busy lives?

Rewilding advocates, ecologists and environmentalists have long been trying to get legislation to expand wild areas and whilst making some headway, there is so much more to be done. If we are to embrace the benefits of rewilding to tackle climate change one of which is growing a trillion more trees to help absorb already dangerous levels of carbon emissions then faster progress needs to happen and we all need to do our bit. What though is our bit?

I am left wondering what can I do? I don’t have 3000 hectares to turn into a haven for nature. I have my patch of garden which isn’t big enough on its own being only a tiny patch of the cloth but perhaps if I join it with others giving room to nature, if I talk to people about it, discuss it, provide opportunities for rewilding through the Pod project and educate myself on the subject, maybe, just maybe others will become interested and it won’t be disparate patches of land but a network.

Mary Reynolds, has already begun an online network, which links those of us across countries who are interested in this topic. Her book The Garden Awakening, is next on my list of books to finish reading (sadly not available in audiobook as yet, so it takes me longer to read as I have so little time these days to sit down with a book). I hope it will encourage me with this positive approach. Mary’s forum ‘We are the Ark’ and ‘The Blue Campaign’ on Facebook have both been very inspiring so far, there is tremendous comfort in making contact with others on this path.

These are the thoughts that helped me drift off to sleep having finished listening to Isabella’s compelling voice. Hopefully I dreamt of clouds of butterflies, owls and trees roots and fungi communicating through a web mycorrhiza beneath the surface of the land, I don’t recall.

Busyness, imagination and the art of self-care

Tonight I am sitting at home with a cat on my lap, the dog in her basket and a room of flickering candlelight whilst reimagining my garden with the help of a book called The Garden Awakening by Mary Reynolds. It’s full of mystery and quirky illustrations. Is there anything better? It certainly makes me feel at peace with the world.

I began my day very early this morning with yoga and a wonder down the garden to see if the giant thistle plant that appeared as part of our rewilding process had finally flowered. I was trying to get my head back in the moment; I woke up with that terrible feeling that I hadn’t actually slept and the thoughts of the night before still floating around my tired brain.

The trouble is for the last while I have been looking ahead, filling my life with busyness and anxiety. It’s a common problem in the modern world but escaping from its clutches requires a certain amount of discipline on my part. I know from long experience that I have to fight the urge to fill my time with avoidance chores if I am worried about a task or tell myself that I am too busy to prioritise self-care. Prioritising self-care is particularly hard to achieve as there are always “things” to do.

Some of the busyness has been amazing. Last weekend The Pod Project went to Cloughjordan to see the Ecovillage and to join in the Festival of Change. As part of that process we got to listen to Rob Hopkins, founder of Transition Towns speak; It’s a very strange experience, listening to someone speak who you just want to cheer. It’s not something I am prone to generally but honestly it was fabulous. His talk was based on ‘What if ..’ What if we reimagined the future? What if our leaders prioritised the cultivation of imagination? It’s so rare at the moment to hear such positivity about the future, it felt like permission to hope and to dream big. We all came back inspired and brimming with ideas.

Some of my busyness is numerous mundane chores. Some of it is because I literally have too much to do in a short space of time so that every minute of my day is filled with “usefulness” and because I haven’t given myself time to breath this transforms itself into anxiety. Mostly it’s because I have put myself under a lot of pressure to achieve certain goals in a short time frame. This was pointed out to me as a potential pitfall of not-for-profit work by a man named Harry. Harry and I have never met but we have talked for an hour on the phone about working voluntarily and about different types of not for profit organisations. It was a great conversation and full of valuable insights not just this one.

This Pod Project journey has been filled with great conversations with friends, new acquaintances and likeminded individuals. We were lucky enough to meet the organisers of the Sustain market in Portadown this week and to spend some time at Lacklan Farm. There is so much scope for working together to make great things happen. It really has made me feel as if Rob Hopkins isn’t just a dreamer and that the key is imagination.

Now it’s time to let my imagination rest. It’s definitely past the time I should have gone to bed. Sleep is without doubt the element of self-care that I struggle the most with; It goes hand-in-hand with filling my days with usefulness. Still I can’t actually remember the last time I took the time to start my day with yoga, fill it with nature and finish it with candlelight, cats and magical mystery tours thanks to Mary Reynolds so there is hope for me yet.

A cheer to becoming unbusy and imagination before heading to bed.

With a little help from your friends

Imagine a world where there is no such thing as waste.

How can you give the things we buy new life rather than dumping them in landfill (or worse still, letting them wind up in the ocean)? There are three solutions commonly used by companies at present: recycling.. downcycling, upcycling. Despite their best intentions all these methods create waste at some point in the manufacturing process.”

Zoe Cormier. Cradle to cradle: Our zero-waste future. https://www.bbcearth.com/blog/?article=cradle-to-cradle-our-zerowaste-future&ocid=fbert#

I am bored, bored, bored of waste. Surely I do not need to spend so much of my life moving and clearing stuff?

I think part of the answer to waste has to be needing less, being part of a community, spending time with family and friends instead. That is certainly the conclusion of the many wellbeing reports and the evidence from the The Thriving Places Index which says on its website that ” instead of focusing on just growing consumption and wealth for a few, the Thriving Places Index focuses on all the things that help people and places to do well.” http://www.thrivingplacesindex.org/

I clearly don’t need all this stuff, I am not even sure where it appears from but I do know that it is contributing to my misery. Despite culling repeatedly and ruthlessly Marie Kondoing my house on both my recent moves there is still more to be done. I am fatigued by it, staring at the blue walls and the mounds of items, plastic wrapping, recycling and paper, I know what I need to be happy is a simpler existence but achieving it feels like climbing a mountain. The guilt, the waste of resources and the cost of too much is oppressive and paralysing.

My house, is always a little bit, how can I put this, chaotic. I don’t help the situation by allowing major art projects to take place, slime making, science experiments, unsupervised baking prep (I do the stuff involving hot things) random den building, collage crafting from collected materials or using my dining room as a greenhouse. Add to that 8 pets (not all in the house) plus the baby bird and there is an impressive opportunity for rubbish and dirt accumulation. 

Normally I vaguely keep on top of things. It’s never perfect or quite how I really want it but it’s alright. However, I think the key word of the last month is overwhelmed. I have without doubt taken on too much.  Every minute of my day is dedicated to achieving things; caring for my children, caring for my husband, caring for the pets including walking the dog, my part time day job, my part time remote working job, helping to run a community centre, starting the Pod Project, keeping up with the paperwork, ethical shopping, life maintenance (the mental load) and household chores. 

As I am not Wonder Woman I haven’t kept up with everything. The household chores (and perhaps my appearance) are probably the most noticeable area of slippage.  Wednesday last week I found myself in tears staring utterly exhausted at my computer not writing my report whilst supervising the children and not cooking dinner or feeding the pets. This was about day three of the baby bird saga which along with the seedlings on my dining room table (I really, really need a greenhouse) was possibly the final straw. 

The cavalry arrived yesterday, M and J took my house in hand. They put me in charge of food prep for the five children, three adults, the pets and the baby bird whilst they swept through my house, decluttering, sweeping, washing, wiping, dusting and rearranging furniture to create flow, effortlessly placing things to create aesthetic, functional spaces in their wake. 

The feeling of relief and embarrassment had me in tears again as this process begun. I think it’s all too easy to feel like a failure for not being able to do it all. I know though that it’s important to accept help and acknowledge that you are not coping. The immense gratitude I felt when they had finished was indescribable. Community, supporting each other, wellbeing and sustainability are at the heart of the ethos of the Pod project.  Today’s efforts are an example of what coming together makes possible, including, I realise to my surprise, making housework enjoyable. 

Other solutions to the waste problem are in the pipeline. For example the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovations Institute are exploring the way we make things (https://www.c2ccertified.org/) The idea is simple, they want all products to be biodegradable, mimicking nature and letting nothing go to waste. Through clever design, product development and analysis of the lifecycle of every item they believe the way we live can be revolutionised.  https://www.bbcearth.com/blog/?article=cradle-to-cradle-our-zerowaste-future&ocid=fbert#

Given time, I am sure the Cradle to Cradle people will achieve their goal. In the meantime, I will continue to try and bring less stuff into the house (packaging, clothing, muddle) accept or ask for help and enjoying being part of a community.

Maz

Clarity

Epiphany. It’s one of my favourite words and its always a buzz to experience. There is nothing like clarity for bringing forth change and quietening the mind.

This morning’s realisation came curtsy of Thursday morning yoga class. It was one of those classes where the practice exactly matched what I needed. A gentle, slow moving reminder to breathe and be in the moment. Focusing on the breath, letting my mind consider and savour it as you would a meal, not struggling to twist myself into positions but letting the breath guide me deeper into the posture. That was the guidance offered by B to the class.

Being in the moment is a challenge for me. Like many in modern society I tend to get caught up with what needs to be done, work, deadlines, chores. I strive to problem solve and make things happen. I have to face it though, I am trying to do too much; yesterday I did the school run with my t-shirt on inside out, paint and mud on my jeans and no idea when I last brushed my hair. It was only when I arrived at my next destination and looked in the mirror that I realised quite what a mess I looked. Fortunately, I am not vain or often that interested in appearance but it was a measure of how overwhelmed I felt that even I thought I could do with some improvement.

In the evening we had a Pod Project meeting. Normally I find these meetings to be inspiring but last night I had lost my way. I kept focusing on problems, on work and the difficulties of finding time to make the Pod project happen and altering my life to be how I want it to be. J advised me to let it be, it would all happen but I couldn’t do it. The feelings of frustration and burden were stuck in my chest. However, with the new day and a yoga practice later the breath has worked its magic. I can now see a way forward and I don’t need to strive for it, it will come. There is so much power in living in the moment. In taking time to breath and letting solutions bubble up.

And just in case I forget this epiphany I am going to post this blog and write it in green on my chalk board.

Maz

Anything is possible

This morning I feel like anything is possible. That’s probably because I have been up early as the sun is rising. Everything is still asleep, children, husband, cats, dog, chickens and rabbits are all silent. I have got to practice yoga facing the hills and mountains enjoying the way they appear out of the dark and are softly touched by morning light.
If I manage to get up and do this, breathing and moving gently to the rhythm of my breath then I feel like I can take on the world. The rest of the day is mine to achieve what I will.
I love yoga. I have found it later than some but it speaks to me. In these times of uncertainty yoga centres me and pulls me back on track, reminding me that yoga is said to mean “to attain what was previously unattainable”.
A love of yoga was what brought the three of us together. B is the yoga guru and we are the pupils but we are all learning. Not just about yoga but about sustainability in a modern era.
Today I read the quote below. It struck me as very pertinent to what we are trying to achieve with the Pod Project. A cultural shift towards sustainability, helping each other, being motivated less by stuff and more by experiences and sharing. It sounds very hippyish but hey “imagine all the people living life in peace, you may say I am a dreamer but I am not the only one.”

Maz

“I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought with 30 years of good science we could address these problems. But I was wrong.

The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy. And to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation – and we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

Gus Speth

Mud

Where’s the grass gone?

So there’s a lot of mud, yards of rolled up turf and we’ve not even finished removing the grass yet. It’s safe to safe I am having a panic. Not a full scale panic, just the creeping kind where you stand back look at what there is still to do and wonder if you should have started this.

There are lots of moments when creating a garden when you wonder if you are doing it right or if it’s worth the struggle. Today though I have been having some major doubts. Primarily I am worried that D is right when he queried if I was sure I knew what I was doing. He’s helping me despite his doubts as he is good like that.

I am a bookworms so I read a lot about permaculture, forest gardens, rewilding and meadows before embarking on this but to be honest I am winging this a bit.

Today’s project is the start of designing a permaculture garden. We have taken all of the grass off the front lawn. I have flower seed and wildflowers to plant but I am getting really concerned now about the potential for a mud bath should it rain heavily. This is ireland after all the chances of rain are high. I think perhaps I should have started with a smaller bit of ground. Too late now though.

Grass seed is cheap right?

This year I have a number of aims mostly involving the beginning of the creation of zone one and zone two of my garden (permaculture speak for the closest bits of your garden to the house), to learn to generate our own energy and to help to build a community of likeminded individuals by sharing information and skills. So not much then.

It’s funny how things change. I feel really inspired and hopeful right now although only a few months ago I was feeling powerless against the might of the problems of climate change, plastic pollution and insect Armageddon. I talked about it with friends, watched programmes, read the many many articles about it on Facebook and despaired. I felt no closer to knowing how I might make a difference. I think the urge to ignore it and hope the government will lead the way (do its job) is strong; wait for guidance. Then I realised that actually the only thing I can change is myself and that maybe if I make a change others will join me.

It was conversations of this sort that led to the start of the Pod Project and to me digging up my front lawn and beginning a food forest. There’s three of us in the Pod project and we are currently obsessing about getting it going.

The idea is simple let’s empower ourselves (and anyone else who is interested) to thrive, for example, the saying goes “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” and we want to add to that “teach a person to make the rod and they can take ownership of the whole process.” So we are going to learn the skills we need to start living sustainably. Not by waiting for green energy to be affordable but finding a way to do it for ourselves. We want to learn as much as possible and share the opportunities to learn with as many people who care to join us on this journey.

So watch this space. As soon as we have worked out a process or got a talk or workshop lined up to be delivered by an expert we will let everyone know.

In the meantime I am going to continue rolling up grass and pondering the merit of comfrey and artichokes under apple trees.

Maz

Hedgerows, Rewilding and shifting baseline syndrome

“As a species, we immediately forget what is lost and only see what exists right here, right now as the new normal.”

Mary Reynolds


I read this relatively recently on the We are the Ark website begun by Mary Reynolds. Mary describes herself as a reformed landscape designer. It’s an interesting turn of phrase. We often see ourselves as the King or Queen of our domains, sculpting, crafting and designing our space but we don’t normally feel as if it’s a behaviour we have to correct. However, if you read the following article in The Guardian ‘Humanity must save insects to save ourselves’ it is obvious that we do need to think about how “green space” is utilised. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/07/humanity-must-save-insects-to-save-ourselves-scientist-warns CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1557209803

I recently went to South Stack Lighthouse in Wales and what struck me was the hedgerows were beautiful. I know, this isn’t normal, I should have been looking for puffins but I was distracted by the vibrant colours of the hedgerows along the tiny lanes. So this then was exactly what Mary was talking about ‘The shifting baseline syndrome’; I hadn’t noticed that the hedgerows of home were predominantly green, not blue, yellow, pink, white and orange. I had completely forgotten the countryside of my childhood.

So now I feel compelled to talk about this with people. I am honestly becoming a little obsessive. I am starting with the hedgerows at the front, letting them rewild. One side I am leaving alone to see what appears, the other side I am assisting. It’s an experiment to see what works. My poor neighbours, they must wonder about what I am at. I half tidied the side I am working on, removing the muffling grass and sowing some seeds and a few cowslip plants but I left the dandelions, thistles and daisies and random plants to live their life. Already foxgloves have appeared, I can’t wait to see what else shows up.

Maz

Shampoo, tins and the plastic dilemma

There is something very appealing about tiny, smooth metal tins; I am not sure why they please me so much, maybe because you can’t see what’s inside them and like Alice, I feel compelled to open them and try out their contents.

These particular tins contain shampoo and conditioner bars of lurid blue and creamy white. The tins are providing me with a ridiculous amount of satisfaction given how small they are but they look good in my bathroom, a signal of intent, a move away from plastic bottles to alternatives.

Today was spent in Belfast celebrating a birthday. It was good to spend time together, enjoying each other’s company but I found it all a bit of a strain. Everywhere I looked there was disposable plastic, even in the restaurant where metal cutlery could be provided there was plastic spoons for the ice cream. The bit I found hardest was in a an accessories shop that the small people wanted to visit. It was wall to wall plastic. Now I know that as a child I would have adored this kind of shop but I felt hypocritical being there and I questioned my parenting; was this what I wanted the small people to focus on?

The thing about gradually changing the way we live as a family and what we are consuming is that every time I shop now I feel assaulted by decisions, before it would have been easy but now I am conscious of browsing in a sea of plastic paraphernalia. Its a strange juxtaposition, I remember why it’s nice to shop and it feels like a right of passage with my children but at the same time I know that what I am doing is a fundamental part of the problem and it makes me uncomfortable. Unless I don’t consume, unless there is less footfall and custom things won’t change. Shopping now makes my head hurt, I guess, change does that, it requires thought and planning and an overhaul of what constitutes acceptable.

It’s a relief then, when my nose picks up the tell tale smell of essential oils and perfume. That distinctive smell can only mean one shop and as we round the corner there it is. An opportunity to use not just our eyes to make decisions but our noses. Time to make choices about what soap, shampoo, conditioner and body wash to buy; A feast of colours and smells. There’s still plastic options available but oh the relief of some easy choices, shopping what they refer to as their ‘naked’ offer.

Even some big brands in supermarkets are offering naked alternatives now, yesterday I saw that I could choose between teabag boxes with or without plastic wrappers. As I really want loose leaf (as tea bags contain plastic) that decisionstill held a dilemma as to whether to purchase my favourite tea or not but its a hopeful sign that change is occurring.

At home with my naked shampoo and conditioner in their shiny tins lined up next to the orchids in my bathroom, today’s shopping experience doesn’t feel so bad. Yes buying shampoo in bar format is a very small step and maybe it won’t change anything on it’s own but if I add it to the vegetables I am growing, the reduction in the amount of meat we are eating , purchasing any meat using our own containers, our naked purchases of bread, vegetables and goods, the items I am making from scratch (pasta, crackers, biscuits) I know that I am making a difference. The very fact that we don’t need either our landfill or our recycling bins emptied so often confirms that for me.

Time to celebrate small victories by washing my hair; I know how to party.

Maz

the pod project

It’s fair to say that the three of us like to talk. Over tea and biscuits (sure isn’t the world fuelled on tea) on dark nights this winter we have sat down around tables and next to fires and explored possibilities and dreams. The main topic of conversation, how to change the world. I say that laughingly but really that has been what has been driving these weekly conversations for the past 6 months, the need to do something, to feel empowered rather than hopeless against the avalanche of evidence that the planet is in trouble and that our wellbeing is suffering. 

Out of these forays into shared thoughts and opinion The Pod Project was born. 

The aim is simple ‘to change the things we can’, namely ourselves. Our habits, our way of living, our homes and gardens to be more hospitable, to accept our place as part of complex ecosystem not the masters of it. 

Making change is hard, it requires willpower and in this context knowledge and teamwork. So our intention here is to share our journey into living sustainable, healthy, prosperous lives and to invite you to join us in this endeavour, learning new skills and rediscovering old techniques. 

The saying goes “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” and we want to add to that “teach a person to make the rod and they can take ownership of the whole process.”  In learning to make the metaphorical fishing rod we can  choose to live differently, be less reliant on consumerism, use less plastic, create for ourselves a sustainable holistic lifestyle.

Now that all sounds grandiloquent but as well as drinking tea and philosophising we have been busily applying for funding, talking with others following this path and doing our research to enable the dream to become reality. We have drawn up a programme of conversations, presentations and workshops to form the basis of  a knowledge sharing, wellbeing and sustainability centre. We hope that the programme will spark your interest and you will come and join us

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