Permaculture in the City

I’ve been back in the city for more than 2 weeks now. It’s been some getting used to but the adjustment happened quite fast. I still feel a need to stay connected with nature however, having explored community gardens in the neighborhood, visiting local plant shops, taking a mushroom workshop and simply longboarding around, discovering the edges of the civilization in which I live. Living in an environment that’s almost entirely man made is mind boggling, but at the same time overlooked quite easily because we’re so disconnected from the natural world here.

Through my knowledge of Permaculture I hope to bring some kind of eco-systemic thinking back into these environments we’ve created. Following that mushroom workshop at RotterZwam was a good move. It helped me stay connected with my calling and the ‘Blue Economy’ as detailed by Gunter Pauli. The people that attended were also on very similiar lines of thinking, many with Permaculture ties, others coming from circular economical type thinking and it was overall a great group to mingle with.

Growing mushrooms on waste products (coffee refuse) is a great way to maximize the potential value generated by the supply chain of the commodity. There was also someone in the workshop who said this could also be done with residual products of wine, which makes it more interesting in terms of closing the loop of production and waste within Europe. But since the Netherlands alone consumes over 120 million kg’s of coffee per year, it seems fair enough to tap into this consumption cycle.

Mushrooms seem like a good place to start because they are relatively easy to grow in urban spaces and mushrooms themselves are fascinating organisms as well, a species capable of interstellar space travel… Perhaps the real aliens of the universe. Those familiar with the ‘magic’ variety of mushrooms will also note the mind altering capacity this fungi is able to express.

I’m curious about other production potentials of urban food production as well, namely aquaculture systems. It would be very cool to see Chinampa systems working in Dutch canals for example, and I look forward to exploring the possibilities of the practicalities of this. Urban beekeeping is another aspect that seems interesting to me, and it’s been in my mind to partake in a beekeeping course in the near future too.

There’s many channels of Permaculture I wish to explore, especially in terms of what’s possible in urban spaces since that’s where I’ll be in the coming months. I’ve come to care less about theory and more about practice since that’s where the tangible results lie. Words are wind and actions speak for themselves.

It’s harder to learn these kind of things at university because there’s a need for everything to be rationalized and quantified with little room for experimentation and error. Systems like Biodynamic farming are also a result of more hollistic thinking rather than scientifically reductionist chemical formulas and results speak for themselves. There actually are peer reviewed scientific journals detailing the success of Biodynamic farming available on the Demeter website but it seems that only now science is catching up to what ancient peoples have already known. The research shows up after the fact and I’m more interested in the fact 😉

I’ll be helping out with Seedsavers NL’s first workshop on November 22nd so I’m curious to how that will go. I’ll be supporting the workshop as certified Permaculture designer so I hope I’ll be able to contribute to Patrick’s knowledge of gardening with respect to seedsaving.

There are a lot of things coming my way, not only gardening related but also taking steps with music. I’ve been busking in Rotterdam outside the centrum, which hasn’t been very lucrative, but definitely has a feel good factor when elderly people come sit next to you and seem to enjoy your playing. Getting smiles from passerby’s also has a way of lifting my spirits. Playing on the streets also gives me opportunity to appreciate the diversity of people around me and bask in the beauty of the moment.

Made some plans to play at a nearby restaurant, going to go to the open day of the SAE Institute in Rotterdam, going to keep jamming in the hood, and hopefully get the greenlights on my busking permit in the center. It seems music has subtly been seducing me all these years. Let’s see where it all takes me 😉

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2 Responses to Permaculture in the City

  1. More practice, less theory – or more putting theories into practice – sounds good to me.

  2. Wais Anwari says:

    Nice, good to hear you are back and on track….I will be back end of December, so will miss your house warming unfortunately but deff will visit you soon after arrival….keep it up 😉

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