PermaCulture: by Molly Wallace David Carruthers

PermaCulture: by Molly Wallace David Carruthers

Author:Molly Wallace,David Carruthers
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781351978422
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (CAM)

Part 2: Models and possibilities for new, sustainable economic lifeways

Perhaps the best and most widely visible examples of the development of sustainable community-based economics that can enable independence from the commercial, industrial market system can be found within the organic farming-based local food movement. This movement has many of its roots in the “back to the land” and “grow your own” movement of the late 1960s, but the twenty-first century has seen a real surge in this kind of action and thought, perhaps even more serious or earnest than the old `60s and early `70s phase. The movement for growing our own food, rather than purchasing it, is not as large as the complementary local food movement in which people try to buy as much of their food as possible from local farmers. That is probably due to the difficulty of finding time for farming and gardening with as much time as people have to put into the work that they do for money, in this increasingly competitive and insecure job market. In 2014 there were 8,268 farmers’ markets in the U.S., which was a 180 percent increase from 2006. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports: “In 2012, 163,675 farms (7.8 percent of U.S. farms) were marketing foods locally, defined as conducting either direct-to-consumer (DTC) or intermediated sales of food for human consumption, according to agricultural census data” (2015, 7, 5).”Intermediated sales” refers to practices like local grocery stores and restaurants purchasing and selling food raised by local farmers. USDA reports confirm that the local food movement has caught the government’s attention, but the reports only cover market concerns regarding the movement—issues of profitability and monetary trends—and demonstrate no interest in the increasing number of people growing their own food for direct consumption, rather than for money. In my own experience, as an organic food grower since 1970 and a permaculturalist since the mid-1980s, it seems to me that the permaculturalists are the food growers and wild food caretakers who are the least interested in growing food for money, and most interested in doing those activities as part of a quest for alternative, sustainable ways of life. 4

Although we vary somewhat in our individual approaches to it, by definition we permaculturalists are committed to allowing our local ecosystems to guide and shape our interactions with the land and water, instead of us shaping those spaces only as we see fit. We are engaged in caretaking and preserving the native food and medicine plants and trees on our lands: planting and cultivating only those crops that are compatible with our ecosystems. We treasure biodiversity and have a profound respect for everything that belongs to the land and water we live with. All the living things that belong here have an equal right to be here and many vital purposes. They fit together and reciprocate each other and have been doing so since long before we humans arrived. It is our goal to fit in with those life-giving natural systems, to


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