What’s in a name?
Regulation for being organically certified is pretty stringent, you have to give a great deal of information in regards to your property, its history, your plans and then you must go through a process of organic “transition” that goes over a three year period. Pretty full on eh?
Rightly so I would say too. There’s a lot of money in the organic industry nowadays. Gone are the times of parading for miles, just to find that little “hippy” store that was always miles away, in order to buy some organic produce. Now I can go into any supermarket and buy some, albeit from a fairly small choice of stock. Even biodiverse farms must adhere to the same strict code of registration in order to advertise the fact that they are as such and then be able to emblazon their products with the logo of that regulated body. If it ain’t got the logo, it ain’t what you’re looking for.
So what about permaculture?
Everywhere I look, I see permaculture this and permaculture that, courses by people I’ve never heard of before at “permaculture farms and lodges” that seem to have sprung up out of nowhere, run by people who (to me) don’t even demonstrate the proper skills needed in order to take people’s hard earned cash. Are they qualified? Have they just done one of the plethora of weekend permaculture design courses that are everywhere now, or have they just read a few of Bill Mollison’s books?
I’ve even seen courses that were to be run by people who didn’t even have a garden of their own. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of great, dedicated and authentic permaculture courses out there, but how do you discern from the crap? You have to do your research, ask them what they’re about, where they’ve studied, where they’ve worked, do they have a permaculture farm/smallholding/backyard/allotment of their own?
I talk a bit about permaculture in my workshops and videos, just a bit to explain where I’ve instigated a permaculture technique, I’ll explain the how and the why. I’m not an expert, I don’t claim to be. Do I have years of experience in the horticulture industry? Yes. Do I run a smallholding that is run on organic and permaculture principals? Yes. Have I run it for nearly a decade? Yes. Have I had articles published in Australian and overseas publications, done talks in front of hundreds of people about organic agriculture, made over 300 videos on this lifestyle and been offered a book publishing contract for a for a three-book deal. Yes!
Why don’t I do talks and workshops on permaculture? Because I’m still learning.
Gardening is my whole life, it is pretty much a 24/7 part of my existence. I read, work, write and watch it, I love it. This is why I get annoyed at the charlatans, the inexperienced “experts”, the ones who are quick to take your cash and indeed, cash in on the name of permaculture.
So do we need a regulating body for all this? Should we have some sort of certification process, all too often I see permaculture “courses” advertised with no content description, just, Saturday-Sunday 9am to 4pm, $400.
Sorry, but that’s not good enough, we’re already fighting an uphill battle with our outdated agricultural system, we don’t need you taking advantage of things and besmirching the “industry” any further. It’s hard enough sometimes with the “hippy” or “treehugger” stigma that most people who don’t understand what we’re about labelling us with.
It’s about learning, teaching to people what we know and always learning back again. Sadly, some people are motivated by money and not the giving of knowledge but I know they will (unfortunately) always exist. So please, ask questions before you hand over your money. What will I get for my money? What qualifications do you have? What will I achieve at the end? You deserve to know and most importantly, you deserve to grow.
After living three quarters of his life in Melbourne and studying at various places overseas including Japan, Nepal and China, Christian finally left city life behind to pursue his dream of self sufficiency in the rural heartland of Victoria. Almost eight years later he’s still there, growing, writing, planting and sharing his years of organic, permaculture and horticultural experience with like-minded people. Giving talks and workshops and sharing with others, not only the joys of growing their own vegetables, fruit and produce, but also being aware of how our food is grown and the agricultural practices behind it.
Writer, Australia & Overseas
Agriculture, Organic food/growing, Self Sufficiency, Permaculture, Food manufacture,
Self Sufficiency, Gardening, Permaculture, Agriculture.