Why permaculture should be taught at schools year round
Right, I want to connect with you on a real level now! My name is Liam Alderdice. I'm 23 years old and live in the UK. I travel as much as possible but due to the pandemic, I am stuck in England!
I have spent time traveling to different organic farms and learning about permaculture on and off for the last 3 years. What I have learned I would like to share with you guys but it also baffles me why we are not taught this at school.
What Exactly is Permaculture?
We are a new generation, our children are the future of this planet and they should be taught the principles of permaculture as they grow up in schools. Permaculture consists of three main ethics:
- Earth Care
- People Care
- Fair Share
A representation of the society can be found in the soil. There are many ways to care and regenerate the soil but the easiest way to tell that the earth beneath you is healthy is to see what is living there.
People care begins with ourselves, then branches out to close family and friends, then to our next-door neighbors, the town you live in, etc.
Accepting responsibility for a situation empowers you instead of blaming others. Acknowledging more intelligence lies within a group instead of one man on his own.
The need for friendship and the ability to work together to achieve greater outcomes for all involved.
Rather than focusing on all the obstacles, the permaculture approach would focus on the positives and opportunities that exist.
This can mean taking what you need and sharing what you don’t. Big fruit trees and crops such as zucchinis will produce more fruit than one person can eat, you can preserve some and give the rest away to your family, neighbor, community.
Mass extinction, famine, and forest fires are only a few of the many signs that we need to stop consuming and wasting so many valuable resources.
Applying these ethics to our own lives creates positive examples for others, instead of telling
them what to do they can find their own balance.
It's never too early or too late to start practicing the permaculture principles, if we apply them now and have a permaculture foundation to our lifestyle our children will grow up in the nicest environment ever.
If you have grown your own food I'm sure you can relate but for those who have never grown their own produce, it is so fulfilling and such a proud moment to eat something you have nurtured from seed.
You may be asking, what would kids learn if schools taught permaculture?
It teaches you patience and helps you understand the earth in a whole new way, you can tell when it's going to rain so you make sure you collect the water. You know when it's going to be dry so you make sure your plants have good water. You are earthed and connected to your planet.
Better Taste And More Nutrition
Not only does it feel good to grow your own food but it also tastes great, better than store-bought vegetables and a lot more nutritious!
Vegetables you buy from big supermarkets are picked before they are ripe so by the time they are on the shelf they are the right colour. This means the fruit/vegetables are a lot less nutritious to the ones you will grow and pick when you need them.
Eating More Vegetable
If you struggle to get your children to eat vegetables, get them to grow them and I guarantee you will have more success with your children trying and finding vegetables they enjoy!
Experimenting With New Foods
Growing your own food also helps adults try things they are not used to eating, it's all a learning curve and it's a damn tasty one!
Learning how to do their part in Saving the Planet
Growing food and not lawns will lower your carbon footprint and bring biodiversity back to your garden quicker than you think!
Instead of popping to the shops to grab that lettuce or tomatoes for a salad when you have a spontaneous barbeque with your friends. Being able to walk around and create a delicious dish from your garden is such a proud moment and it tastes so much better than the rubbish you get from the shop covered in plastic!
If everyone grew fruit and vegetables instead of boring lawns no one would be hungry, you can feed your household and more from the space you would leave bare and useless to wildlife.
You don’t need to go on a permaculture design course to be able to practice the permaculture principles in your own back/front garden.
Putting Principles To Action
You can grab a permaculture book online or listen to some permaculture podcasts. Bill Mollison’s “ Permaculture: A designers manual” is a good example of something to read.
Once you have a brief understanding of the permaculture principles a couple of the quickest ways to put these to action are “No-dig gardening” and Raised bed gardening.
You may ask, what is a No-Dig Gardening Method
This is great gardening for kids as it doesn't take much effort and is very effective.
- Collect old cardboard without ink as that can be toxic, you can ask local shops and neighbors and you can get it for free as you are doing them a favor.
- Then you want to go to your local gardening center and collect some compost and natural wood chips/straw if possible but not essential.
- Dig out your gardening toolset. It would be handy if you had a spade, fork, and a gardening hoe. But again you don't need everything you can make do with what you have.
- Mark out the area you want your flower bed, roughly dig over and soak with water, sprinkle some compost over and then add the cardboard over the top.
- Poke some holes in the cardboard and soak with lots of water
- Add the rest of the compost and woodchips/straw and water again.
- Wait a couple of weeks and then plant depending on the quality of the ground and the amount of sun it gets
And what is a Raised Bed Gardening?
You can use the permaculture design principles in your raised beds, focusing on the quality of the soil and the layers of organic matter is easier in a contained area.
- Collect any resources you have and take note before asking neighbors for scrap materials be that wood from an old decking or old metal oil drums, anything.
- Collect organic matter: dead leaves, small sticks, food scraps, rocks, and compost.
- Step three would be to build your raised bed. I will cover that in a video soon!
- Fill your raised bed in layers starting from the bottom of course: Rocks for drainage, food scraps and dead leaves, small sticks, and dead wood to retain moisture, topsoil, compost, and finally some wood chippings or straw for mulch.
- Keep this well-watered and you will have great soil for your plants to root into
You will have to adjust nutrients according to the plants that you grow for example if you’re gardening roses your soil will have to be more acidic than if you were to grow tomatoes or zucchini!
I hope you can take something away from this. There will be more blogs like this to come, if you have any questions I am happy to help you or if you have anything you would like me to write/make a video about message me on Instagram or send us an email!