- What do I want from all this food-growing activity? Is it just a hobby or a way of life?
- How can I get better at this and what does 'better' mean?
- Isn't backyard vegie growing mere escapism when we're laying waste to our entire planet?
Then I did an intensive two-week Permaculture course at Milkwood Farm near Mudgee, NSW. For two weeks I was thrown together with some really bright and knowledgeable people from many different walks of life (from cattle farmer to market gardener to software engineer), under the gentle guidance of two inspiring teachers.
I was rather sceptical before the course, and did worry about it being a massive waste of time and money. Not to mention the fossil fuels to get me to Mudgee and back. I don't like systems of thought that provide pat answers to difficult questions. I also had a whole heap of preconceptions about the course content, ranging from herb spirals to mandala gardens.
I now realise that Permaculture isn't like that; rather it's a set of methodologies, attitudes and principles that I can use in the design of productive systems - like a vegie garden, for instance. It has deepened my understanding of what a garden (or a productive landscape) is and can be. It has even given me some damn good answers to my three questions.
If you want to know what they are, you'll just have to do the course ;)