Look after the earth and it will look after you.

I have been at my parents place for the last two days. And as always we have eaten very well from their land. How many kids get to go to their Pa I want to pick my own apple and then get into it for morning tea, or eat grapes picked 30 seconds before from the vine.

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We at the most beautiful carrot so sweet they tasted as if they had been drizzled with honey, fresh beans, potatoes, parsnips and pumpkin. The only part of our meal that was not from food feet rather than food miles was the chicken that my parents picked up at Aldi.

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They harvests rain water, grey water, composts, worm farms, integrated vegetable patches, herbs, orchards and all on his 2.5 acres. He hits the local zone 5 and gets excess deciduous tree mulch and animal manure from the people he knows.

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Wild harvests as they can.

Builds from recycled and reused objects raiding the local pallet pile before it gets burned.

They bottle, dry, salt, pickle and freeze produce.

He leaves fruit for native wild life and  today we saw multiple native species on his block, bees are everywhere as are other beneficial insects.

sunflower with bees

He raises pasture chicken for meat and eggs, ducks and some very happy looking sheep.

Keeps his own seeds and rarely if at all uses sprays.

Nothing gets wasted. This is how my parents have lived they eat well and pass on good values to their grandchildren. If you were to ask my father does he practice permaculture he would shake his head I just do what I do.

He has lawns, he has monoculture beds as well as the integrated ones and heaven help me if I ask him to keep those weeds I love to eat nope, they go to the chickens and sheep son. And you feed them to our grandkids …

I have heard from a number of permies that David Holmgren has often said that many people who think they are practicing permaculture are not and many who do not know what permaculture is are.

I am amazed at what they can grow and with so little. We are talking the biggest tubs of basil you have ever seen, kilos of fruit and berries any type of veggie you can imagine. Pretty much they put it in the ground it grows. They are blessed with great soil I will admit the rich red volcanic soil helps a lot but the main thing that helps is that my parents have worked on this land for the last 40 years. They have looked after it, mulched it fertilized it it you name it they have helped it.


And now even though they are getting on, they and are healthy but slowing down a bit, the land looks after them producing all they could need and want.

We came home to Melbourne with enough grapes and apples to take to work and feed the kids for a week, carrots parsnips, beetroot, lemons, mint and a full sized shopping bag of fresh basil for me to make pesto tomorrow!

It certainly inspires me every time I go up there to get into my garden and make it better for my family.

There is something in this for us all. If you look after the little bit of earth you have in the same way my parents look after their patch we might all just get by.


One thought on “Look after the earth and it will look after you.

  1. I think your folks might not practice “permaculture”, but they do garden with nature and that is effectively one of the principles of permaculture – as is the integration of different systems (weeds to chooks -> chooks give manure -> manure to soil etc).

    They have obviously learned over years of living and working the land what works where, how best to feed the soil and encourage the natural world around them to do a lot of the work. This is how successful civilisations have farmed the land for millennia (permaculture includes learning from nature and observing how natural systems work also).

    It was not until the advent of ‘modern’ agriculture and increasing population sizes that led to us getting out of touch with nature. To me, permaculture is a reaction to this. It provides a systematic way of looking at things for those who find it hard to get to grips with nature, but for those who embrace nature, as your parents already do, talking about permaculture just leads to them saying “But I’ve been doing that for years…. it’s not a new thing”.

    And they’d be right 😉

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