Hey everybody, this is Jared Stanley and welcome to the Permasapien Podcast.
As you are no doubt aware, this is my first podcast. If you have come over to join us from J&J Acres I would like to thank you for doing so. If you have not heard of J&J Acres and still found our new podcast then I would like to invite you to head on over to J&J Acres on YouTube where you can follow along with some of our family farm activities, DIY projects and many other things.
The point of this podcast is to provide a focus on permaculture. While J&J Acres speaks more to our transition of a large family trying to become self-sufficient, Permasapien will focus only on topics specific to permaculture – be that activities at our home site, other sites I am designing or classes I am teaching.
To start with, new podcasts will be available weekly and will be kept to approximately 15 minutes. However, as we become more busy there may be more than one episode per week and there may be exceptions to the time limit from time to time.
But what does Permasapien even mean? Well, you are likely familiar with the origin of the world Permaculture – it being formed from the words Permanent and Agriculture. I took this idea one step further and combined the words Permaculture and Homo Sapien to form Permasapien. Homo Sapien can be translated as “Wise Man”. By joining these words as a portmanteau I intend to imply the concept of “Mankind, Wisely employing Permaculture.”
You can find out more about Permasapien, the story behind our logo and more by visiting permasapien.com.
Let’s talk for a moment about how I even became interested in Permaculture.
My wife and I purchased our land with only a few desires in mind:
First, to see the stars. We were tired of living in or near the city and not being able to enjoy the full beauty of the night sky.
Second, to do what we please, when we please, with our land. We did not want to be subject to a homeowners association or to the more strict ordnances typically found inside of a municipality. We wanted animals, gardens and we didn’t want to have to get approval for them.
In fact, we had chickens on our property before we had a driveway – but that is a story for another time.
My first garden was a single raised bed grown in the square-foot garden method. While I am sure there are thousands of people that love that method, it just wasn’t for me.
That caused me to do some extensive research on gardening methods. In the process of this research I watched the “Back to Eden Film”.
Now allow me to inject something here – when our home was built the contractor stripped the land of the top soil. What was left behind was something even the invasive grasses were not happy growing in.
That said, the idea of rebuilding the soil as seen in the “Back to Eden” film appealed to me.
I set off to repair the soil for a garden using the methods shown in the “Back to Eden” film. But… while that was working way over winter, a word that was mentioned in the film caught my attention… Permaculture.
I started learning more and more about permaculture. If I could find a video, I watched it. If there was a newsletter to subscribe to, I did. If there was a podcast to listen to, I did.
I even started making some videos on my own over on J&J Acres.
But the more I learned, the more I felt like I need formal training – something to tie everything I was learning into something useful.
Like many others who have reached this point, I started looking at Permaculture Design Certificate Courses. But it seemed hopeless that I would ever get to take one. There was nothing nearby, so travel would have to be involved and most courses were taught for 2 straight weeks, and there was no way for me to be gone from home for that long.
Then I ran across Geoff Lawton’s online course. It wasn’t ideal, in my opinion, as I like in-person learning and hands-on examples, but it fit my scheduling needs perfectly. Also, with Geoff having taken his PDC with Bill Mollison I figured it was my best chance to get the information “from the source”.
So, I took the course and now I have my PDC. I’ll touch more on my thoughts of the online course in another podcast, but for now I will suffice to say that it did tie everything together as I had hoped, but that I feel there are certainly pro’s as well as con’s to the distance learning.
Now then, with my PDC fresh in hand I was given the opportunity to be a vendor at the Mississippi Homesteading Fair in Starkville MS where I taught a 30 minute class I called “Permaculture Awareness”. You can read more about that on permasapien.com.
I do want to take a moment to talk about a pet peeve. For all the decades it has been around, Permaculture seems to still be in its infancy as far as mainstream awareness is concerned. More and more people have heard the word, but they have no idea what it actually means.
At the fair I spoke at someone asked me about ponds. The question was something along the lines of “Can you have permaculture without having a lot of ponds”. I think I took her off-guard when I said, without hesitation, “Of course you can”.
I saw this same type of stereotypical approach to permaculture during my PDC. Geoff shared a video of a small acreage location and he did not design a single swale for the location. When people started asking questions to the like of “What, no swales?”, he calmly replied something to the effect of “They were not called for on this property.”
That, to me, is wisely employing permaculture. Not to say there is anything wrong with ponds, swales and the like, but at times they are not conducive to the design.
Then you start running in to methods that well known permaculturists use – and somehow that individual gardening method becomes “permaculture” – such as hugelkultur. I have a good friend who, from time to time, refers to hugelkultur as a “a permaculture mound” – it makes the hair on my neck stand up when he says that.
I suppose what I mean to get across by all this rambling is that permaculture is too deep of a field of study to simply know of one concept or one method and say that you know what permaculture is.
This is as blunt as I can say it: If a person has not – AT THE LEAST – successfully completed a PDC, they should not talk about permaculture. And, yes, that includes myself in those videos I made before I took my PDC. Thankfully I didn’t get too crazy in those videos, but I would have been better off waiting until I knew more about it.
But… now I am here… and it is off to the races.
I mentioned already that I have taught a Permaculture Awareness class. I will be doing so again at the monthly meeting of Go Green, Meridian – a local non-profit that runs the community gardens in our area along with a whole lot of other projects.
I am scheduling out my own PDC course and with the help of Go Green, Meridian, working to solidify that schedule and a location to teach at.
I will also be a vendor at the Mississippi Food Summit & Agricultural Revival in Jackson, MS on Saturday November 8th. I’d love for you to come out and chat me up.
I have also been hired to design a small food forest as a part of a new community garden that will start being worked and planted this winter and the coming spring.
I am also working with Wayne Meador over at A World 4 Change TV. We’ll have a host of video offerings for you, all centered around me doing a site design at his location in Alabama.
And, of course, there is the design for J&J Acres itself and all the happenings going on there.
Staying tuned to this podcast will keep you up to date on the projects, but please also visit the website permasapien.com and hook up with all of our other social media offerings as well. Permasapien is on G+, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. I also have a profile and my projects listed on PermacultureGlobal.com.
Now then: To close out I wanted to explain the logo we are using for Permasapien. It is a silhouette of a child crouching, touching the ground with an extended finger and a spout popping up from the soil.
This image came up on a nature walk one morning. You see, when time allows I enjoy taking my camera on an early morning walk around the property and seeing what strikes my eye. On this particular morning my son Arthur came along. At one point on the trail I stopped to look around and see if there was something I wanted to photograph. When I looked forward on the trail to start walking again, there was Arthur, crouching, studying something on the ground – learning by observation.
It quickly reminded me of the comments made in my PDC about how children just understand certain things, like how water forms level, and that if we should be as observant as a child. I took a few shots of him like that and later had it fashioned in to this logo by Rachel, over at rachelarsenault.com. I think she did a fine job capturing the concept of the logo from the image I shot.
Every time I look at that logo I think of Arthur studying the soil that early morning, and I imagine him thinking “What if I do… this…”, and then a plant sprouting up.
Whatever it makes you think, I hope you enjoy the logo.
Please be sure to check back on the podcast and website frequently. Soon I will be announcing a consultation giveaway. There are a lot of details involved, but essentially what I am offering is to have a free consultation or site design done by me for your property. I will be giving away 6 of these consultations.
The idea for this comes from something Geoff Lawton mentioned in the PDC – that we should use our new skills and knowledge to help people and get some more experience under our belts – so, that is what I am going to do!
Thank you for taking a moment of your time to be with me today. This is Jared Stanley asking you to remember to be wise in all your endeavors.
We’ll see you next time.