I decided to write this article after having a conversation at my day job. As it were, two ladies were discussing the recent rise in gasoline prices and different ways that they could fight back. The normal ideas of people taking a “gas holiday” and carpooling and such were being bantered about. While all the things mentioned would be good strategies, I realized that it was a perfect time to discuss my favorite subject: Permaculture.
I could have come fast and light with ideas about improving mass transit, and using human powered vehicles more often; instead, I went for the gold. “Ladies, do you realize how much of an impact on fuel consumption growing some of your own food could have?” Looks of confusion and doubt from all around…followed by my greatest hope, “How?”.
So I broke it down. “Lets just start with greens. You both eat salads and cook with greens right?” Both answered in the affirmative so I started explaining to them how the vast majority of all green leafies consumed in the United States are grown in the southwest and Mexico…particularly in southern California. Pointing out that San Diego was roughly 2050 miles from our hometown of Indianapolis, and that was realistically how far every salad they ate had travelled. I then took the time to reemphasize what they already knew, that those miles were travelled in semi trucks which are extremely fuel inefficient. Then I posed the question, “If everyone grew their own greens (which is more than feasible), what do you think would happen?”. They both predicted that less trucks would run and that would greatly reduce the demand on fuel. We all understand supply and demand to know that this would cause a reduction in fuel prices, so that we can afford to use it when we need to.
By the time that we had finished our conversation, I had the pleasure of answering dozens of gardening questions and listening to their plans to grow a least a few of their favorite vegetables…I will start talking perennials with them once the bug gets its teeth into them nicely.
So remember while we are trying to educate people on ways to do things that are better suited to people care, earth care and a return of surplus than the way we currently live; don’t just pummel them with info, show them how Permaculture principles can improve their day to day lives and they will follow the path as readily as we have.