Guided by Nature

I wrote in one of my other blogs about having reconnected with growing a few years ago through undertaking a Permaculture Design Certificate at OrganicLea in Chingford.

Now halfway through the subsequent qualification, the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, (which I admit I have been taking my time with) it definitely is an approach which has influenced my approach to launching Beanstalk Box slowly and gently and learning as we grow.

Whilst Beanstalk Box isn't yet completely recyclable, we do aim in our approach and activities to pay homage to the fact that our planet has finite resources. Ultimately I'd like to be printing enough material to be able to work with printers who have invested in vegetable printing inks, materials and machines and to be working with recyclable plastics made from the new algae based technologies that are now emerging.

So for the moment as we work towards our perfect world here's a bit of an introduction into permaculture ways of doing things (they say its good to learn more yourself by teaching, so I did step right out of my comfort zone while working as part of Transition Chelmsford, and offer this course to allotment holders at Avon Road growing community in Chelmsford way back in 2014).

These principles were developed by David Holgrem and Bill Mollison in 1972 and offer something of an antedote to the fast and furious corporate way of creating and launching products!

  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder” By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.

  2. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines” By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

  3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach” Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.

  4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation” We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.

  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course” Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.

  6. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine” By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

  7. Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees” By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.

  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work” By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.

  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall” Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.

  10. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.

  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path” The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.

  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be” We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.

How would applying these principles to how you live your life change it?


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