I’m feeling good. I just came back from my volunteer work at Uit Je Eigen Stad and feel fatigued, but in a good way. A lot of physical work today, but nothing I can’t handle. It’s good that I picked up my Shaolin Kung Fu last month; its a complement to the garden work as it enhances my form when doing physical work, giving me awareness of posturing and letting my flexibility and my legs do the work instead of my back. I’ve even noticed Kung Fu being useful in my job waiting tables.
I’ve pretty much been doing my Shaolin Workout everyday since February 18th, with a few exceptions, but I am currently on a 26 day streak. I get up extra early so that I have time in my day to do it. Its usually the first thing I do as I like to get this part of my routine out of the way so that I don’t have to fret about it later in the day. It’s also nice taking a cold shower after this as it helps cool down my body temperature and probably helps my circulation as well. (I transition to warm later.)
For breakfast, it differs what I eat although soft boiled eggs with some veggies is what I had this morning. Sometimes I just eat a piece of fruit depending on circumstances. Most of my food is organic since I can take a free bag of groceries from where I volunteer (Uit Je Eigen Stad) and what I buy from the supermarket tends to be organic as well (organic stroopwafels, organic/grass-fed butter, organic eggs etc.). I also stopped eating relatively high quantities of bread since I noticed it makes my skin bad. Since I’ve stopped, I’ve noticed improvements. It’s really out of convenience, low cost and laziness to cook that I’ve eaten bread, but also having a craving for it occasionally. I think its better to bake my own bio-dynamic bread if I want to eat it again (which is really easy).
I’m more or less following a paleo diet. I eat fish every now and then, with my bulk of animal proteins and fats coming from eggs and butter. I like adding rice to my diet as its probably the best grain to eat, and I enjoy having noodles or rice here and there. Healthy living means enjoying yourself too. I hardly eat any beef, pork or chicken however. I occasionally get organic pork sausages, although I haven’t eaten those in a while either. I think being mostly vegetarian with a few organic animal products here and there is the best diet for me to follow, and it seems to be working out so far. There’s a surplus of aquaponic salad crops at Uit Je Eigen Stad as well which I’m happy to lunch on and take home for another day.
I’ve been doing some research on farm methods, and I’ve read some scientific papers which compare bio-dynamic farms with conventional farms, showing that bio-dynamic farms can produce equal or higher economic returns on a per hectare basis whilst improving soil quality. That’s pretty fantastic. Some criticisms of bio-dynamic agriculture is that its ‘unscientific’ although I believe results speak for themselves. Having to scientifically reduce everything is not always necessary or even possible in my opinion. We can’t assume to know everything, or be able to, although results speak for themselves. I believe there are some good elements from bio-dynamics that can be used within a permaculture system and can also help you plan a garden. Although perhaps organic gardening might suffice just as well.
I think the most important aspect of sustainable farming practices is to build soil quality. Bio-dynamic preparations help in doing so but otherwise importing necessary nutrients from one place to another might also help. Bio-dynamics just allows a framework to be followed. Coming from a permaculture school of thought, I’m very happy experimenting with bio-dynamic ideas without committing myself to a strictly bio-dynamic way of thinking. I like to stay open minded about these kind of things and I like how permaculture is able to accommodate these kinds of ideas.
Marijuana and hemp
I recently watched an interview with Barack Obama on VICE news in which he talks about a series of topics, one of them involving the legalization of marijuana. It’s 18 minutes if you have time. Mr. President basically says that marijuana is a topic youngsters shouldn’t be too concerned about, because there are bigger things that require their attention. I beg to differ.
I believe that marijuana and hemp are valuable cash crops for farmers. Marijuana is potent as a medicine (with numerous cases of CBD oil application being successful) and hemp has a wide range of utility, currently with a use in over 10,000 products. Since the two often get confused with each other, I say legalize them both. The plant is not prone to pests and also helps in improving soil quality. Hemp paper is much better than paper from wood pulp because of its growth rate and replenishment. It has both economical and ecological gains… which also means social gains for those involved in growing it (unless you’re a drug lord who’s been able to score high margins because of the plant’s illegality). I believe that the marijuana laws stemmed out of racism, in order to control Latin and African-American populations in the United States as they were prone to using the substance. The arguments that were used to install the laws in the first place have already proven to be flawed and nonsensical, and seems like just another piece of propaganda that was used to serve hidden agendas… which the U.S. seems to be good at. Maybe the moon landings never happened, and was just a trick to push the USSR into bankruptcy by investing into the space race further. I think we’ve established that 9/11 was a ploy to put forces in Iraq, so that was a puppet show that worked out. And don’t get me started on Fox News, although thankfully, there’s Jon Stewart for that.
This week, I’m having a permablitz meetup to move incoming wood-chips. These will be used for footpaths and have been attained free of charge from the municipality. Organizing this thing from scratch is good experience even though progress is slow. It’s like my Shaolin workout as well: learn the moves before you start accelerating and putting more energy into your actions. I believe I can get this organization up and running. I’ve been asked again to check out someone’s space to see if I can implement a design plan. I find it hard to do multiple projects at the moment although keeping contact is important. One at a time, until I get my shit sorted.
I’ve been enjoying setting up base in Rotterdam. There’s my volunteer work where I see potential; there’s the garden networks where I’ve met people and where I’ve seen new movements establish and I feel like the city has somewhat grown on me over the years. When I look out my window, most of what I see is man-made, but being at the city farm or the community gardens helps me reestablish a feeling of being with nature. I really need that.
The advantage of a city is that there’s people. Especially since I’m young and still exploring, I find it important to experience a variety of different cultures and a city like Rotterdam is definitely a melting pot of various cultures. I love the fact that I can log on to Meetup.com and find all these cool groups and people in the city. I’ve been quite an avid board gamer since joining the board games meetup and I’ve also been able to get back in touch with acting because of it. This would be much harder in the country.
I think there’s a lot more potential for me to uncover within the city. For example, I would love to take a rescue diver course at Soul Divers here in Rotterdam as the prices are comparable internationally and I can add a new experience to my list of dive sites. I was thinking of volunteering there so I can learn as much as I can, and maybe get a discount on courses. Also, I’m very interested in the potential of aquaculture, especially in some of the ports here in Rotterdam. I have this idea of people coming to visit these aquaculture farms as tourists, being able to take a scuba dive tour of the different aquaculture experiments happening. I still need to research this, but I’ll get to it.
My plan now is to save up so I can buy a van and live in it. Out of my van I would be able to travel and WWOOF (work for food/accommodation) and create any other side income streams whilst living very cheaply. Eventually, I’d like to own my own piece of land where I can establish a food forest and other permaculture elements where necessary and having a low overhead will allow me to save up for such an investment. That’s the end game anyway. How I’ll get there is another story, and where that piece of land will be is also subject to a lot of factors. For now, I’m ok with finding my hustle within the city until I can support myself on wheels.
I’m excited for what the future holds. I feel like I’m taking more risks and being bolder about what I do and who I am; being more direct and clearer about what I want, and recovering faster from failure. Now is the time. This is my prime. The dream I live is mine… and this is the end of this rhyme.
See you next week 😉