Another eventful week. Permaculture seems to be slowly but surely taking over my life. Having become more active in a few permaculture derivative organizations such as Seedsavers.nl and the ACTA garden, more responsibility has also been shifted into my direction. It feels good. I see how I can add value to both of these organizations and I can see how my roles in them fit my personality and skills quite snugly.
As secretary at Seedsavers.nl I can see how my basic understanding in the foundations of business law is helpful in writing up the statutes of our organization (which is what we’re working on). Being the only advanced dutch speaker in the group is also critical to the group’s success as they would have to find another way to draw up the statutes otherwise. I’m also glad to be able to sponge of the knowledge, skills and abilities of my team who have a few more decades of experience under their belt. The organization also overlaps with initiatives at the ACTA garden as the treasurer at Seedsavers.nl designed a plan for helping out at the ACTA garden. We’re all doing the same thing anyway 🙂
At ACTA I have now officially been recognized as the crop planning coordinator. It seems like a lot of responsibility, but there’s already a few plans in place so all I really need to do is carry out what has been planned. There are some difficulties I’m facing with the concept of Bio-dynamics however, which is what I need to learn more about and I’m also reading up on. There’s actually a workshop coming Friday I’m setting up with a lady who has good experience with Biodynamics. Hopefully I’ll get a better understanding of crop rotation and planning accordingly.
Personally, I prefer the concept of permaculture as you’re letting nature do most of the work. Although your output with biodynamics might be higher, your input seems to be as well so in the end I think it balances out. I prefer to do less work though which is why I like the permaculture method 😉 but there might be not enough understanding I have of biodynamics to make that conclusion. Will hopefully update soon on that because of the workshop and reading homework I’ve been set for next week.
I actually had a Masters Open day this week but I decided not to go since I’m pretty set on not doing a Masters and instead, find work in the field I’m in now (a mixture of permaculture and business and some music as a garnish). Instead of going there, I went to visit my sister at the NIOZ (the Royal Dutch Institute for Sea Research) as it was the opening of the seaweed center where my sister is doing an internship. The king came here as well, but left around the time that I arrived.
I learned a lot by walking around the center and getting a bit of a tour from my sister. The first thing I did when I came was check out the annual report. There’s a lot of useful information in there, and also specific financial information since I was interested in how this was funded and how much the center cost. I think 40 million euros were invested in 2012 but they’ve invested in the institute in a way to make it as sustainable as possible (such as digging 150 meters down to have access to renewable geothermal power). This information is also available online and in more detail but some basic orientation was good to get me started.
The biggest things that stuck me from the seaweed center is how: a) sea water contains trace elements; b) nitrogen levels are highest around areas where rivers meet the sea; c) seaweed is highly effective in taking up nitrogen and makes for great fertilizer.
This knowledge basically built on what I was learning in my Geoff Lawton PDC, where he explained that the most effective soil production is marine based soil production. I was actually also contributing to my sisters knowledge by discussing how entropy works, and how entropy is built through biological systems, increasing the total energy available on the planet. It’s actually a very positive outlook on how humans can positively interact with the world around them if they design themselves into the system by contributing to soil build up rather than its degradation. The Earth is basically a battery in space, being charged up by the energy from the Sun, and as long as that power source lasts, we can only increase the potential energy we have.
Viewing the world through a permaculture lens has not only changed my way of thinking, but its actually contributing to a physically better environment. Through action I’m making the world a better place, rather than discussing petty politics. Not only that, but I think the permaculture bug has also crept into my family… or maybe that’s where it all started in the first place.
My dad came over from Thailand the day after I visited my sister. He needed some time to recover from jet lag so I made the house as comfortable as possible, making sure there was food in the house and doing some final touch cleaning and organizing. I enjoy hospitality and I’m probably good at it as well. That’s what you get when you have a Thai mom and your dad’s in the hospitality software business. We caught up on some things, such as the gardening projects he was working on at the house in Thailand and talked about some practical matters like giving up the rent of the apartment, selling the car and moving, selling or giving away other material things like furniture. There are some big changes going to happen around here soon.
After spending a few days here, my dad had to continue on to the UK where he’ll be conducting some business with regards to some hospitality software initiatives he’s undertaking and I continued on with another project I’m working on, which is music.
Me and Menno performed live at CREA, Amsterdam on Saturday. It was a lot of fun. It was an open mic night sort of thing and a bunch of people came so that was good. Our first performance basically! We had 10 minutes to do our thing, so we already prepared by timing and planning what we were going to do. We received a lot of positive reactions from people, so that was good! I’m really happy about our content and how we connected with the audience although we can still use some polishing on a few aspects, perhaps also lengthening the last song we played. It’s hard to get critical feedback on a performance since most people want to be friendly and say positive things. The biggest critic then has to be myself. I’m probably also my most valuable critic since I have a good understanding of my own material and can act upon ‘criticism’ directly and effectively(I hope). Perhaps a voice coach could be helpful as well, but I don’t have time or money to invest in that right now, and it really isn’t a priority. Like I said, music is the garnish on all the other things I’m doing. But it’s a pretty damn tasty garnish 😛
I hope me and Menno are going to continue doing business and making music. For our next song, I want to include some horns so we’re going to play around with a saxophone riff I came up with and some lyrics Menno wrote. Menno is also probably going to play trumpet and we might need a percussion person so we’ll see. Exciting beginnings! Lets see where this leads us 🙂