Like this podcast? Support it on Patreon.
Hello and Welcome to The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann, a listener supported program. My guest for this episode is Dina Falconi, an herbalist from the Hudson Valley of New York and author of the gorgeous book Foraging and Feasting, which you’ll find at botanicalartspress.com.
During our conversation today Dina shares her background as a forager and herbalist, and her background as a permaculture practitioner which began with a design course taught by Geoff Lawton. We also discuss the plants she chose for the book, the difference between edible and culinary plants, and the distinction about historical and modern food safety.
This interview is part of the ongoing series on rewilding and foraging. I have links to the earlier episodes in the show notes. Start with this interview and work your way back through theses podcasts to learn more about wild foods, edible plants, and how we can improve the gifts we receive from them and our relationships with those plants.
As usual from an interview, I walk away with from this interview with more thoughts that build and expand my repertoire as a permaculture practitioner. The first is that I am adapting the recipes from the book into a series of lessons to use in my own cooking to teach my children a variety of basic formulas so they can be prepared to cook with whatever they have on hand, whether wild, picked from the garden, or bought at market.
That leads to the moment that Dina and I talking about master skills. Cooking is definitely something that everyone should learn to some degree. To that we also include foraging. To that list of I would add creating fire, tool making, building, such as carpentry or masonry, and permaculture design. That is a very basic list, but I wonder what you would add to it based on where you live and what you do. What are the basic master skills you would teach to build a permaculture community? One that truly cares for earth, the individuals, and the culture?
I wonder how teaching those skills now, to interested adults and children, can influence the way we live. Will we find greater personal and community freedom by having more self-reliance? How will that change the culture we create and live in?
I’d like to hear your ideas. Get in touch.
Of write if you would prefer:
The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018
You can also leave a comment in the show notes, send a tweet to @permaculturecst, or join in the conversations on facebook. Facebook.com/thepermaculturepodcast.
From here, a few class announcements.
Tradd Cotter contacted me about an event he’s teaching at the end of the month. If you are near Keswick, Virginia, April 24 – 26, 2015, join him along with Mark Jones and Ethan Levesque, for a course called, “Cultivating Kingdom Fungi: Mushrooms for People and Planet.”
Find out more about this at: http://www.sharondalefarm.com/workshops/
Ben Weiss and Wilson Alvarez begin teaching a new course on permaculture in an urban environment as well, in Harrisburg, PA. You can find this course on Facebook by searching for Downtown Harrisburg Permaculture Course, or through the link in the show notes.
Ben and Wil are also looking for scholarship sponsors for this course. Contact email@example.com if you would like to donate.
Finally, as I draw this to a close, this show depends on your ongoing support to stay on the air. Though it looks like I’ll be moving to a full time job this summer, as my life now requires that I have an income that can support a family, I’m going to do everything I can to keep the show going and continue to release new episodes and remain a resource for anyone who takes the time to email, call, or write a letter.
You can help me keep going by using the paypal link on the front page of the show at thepermaculturepocast.com to make a one time, direct contribution, or by becoming a recurring member via Patreon at patreon.com/permaculturepodcast.
Know that I am here with you, wherever your journey takes you.
Until the next time, take care of earth, yourself, and each other.
Botanical Arts Press Dina’s Website
Like this podcast? Support it on Patreon.
My guest for this episode is Jen Mendez, the founder of PermieKids.
As this episode comes out I’ve known Jen for over a year, beginning with some conversations via phone and email about parenting and permaculture and then digging in on discussions of different pedagogical approaches and the changes in curriculum between primary and secondary education, and then getting a chance to sit down together and talk for a while last year at the Mother Earth News Fair (which is where the picture for this episode comes from). Those experiences reinforced our interest in working together as we both have areas of education that we focus on. Mine is definitely towards adults, both young and older, and she has a fantastic ability to work with young children and families.
That focus on children and families forms the framework for this conversation as we talk about the various ways that Jen applies permaculture to teaching children and engaging family members and other mentors in order to provide the best experience possible for everyone involved by reconnecting those who care about children and the children themselves with their education.
Hers is not a one size fits all approach and it shows. You can, of course, find out more about her and her work at PermieKids.com and via the links in the resources section below.
My conversation with her is set to go live at PermieKids on Thursday, April 8, 2015.
I like Jen’s approach because her techniques empower us, like all of permaculture practices, to actively and intentionally participate in the work that we do, in this case the teaching of children.
As a parent myself and having few role models to turn to when my two youngest were born I would have loved to have had a mentor like Jen to help answer some of my questions about early childhood development and milestones in a more academic, though friendly way. Since I was rediscovering permaculture at the time this would have been most valuable. Times have changed and we adapted to include both private and public schools to handle the early childhood education with my children, while supplementing with family activities, yet every time I talk with Jen I’m given new tools, such as her very visual child friendly Me-Map, that I can use now even though we are not homeschooling.
When it comes to education in general I don’t like the idea of specialized education before college. I want everyone, particularly permaculture practitioners and their children, to be polymaths. There is a line I turn to time and time again from the author Robert Heinlein that expresses my thoughts rather succinctly.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Though I might lean away from the more violent aspects of that quote, the general tenor of it holds true to what I see as the role of education. We’re not cogs in a machine. We don’t have just one job in this life where we push a button repeatedly to create the same thing over and over again.
We are, all of us, capable of incredible things. We are more than the sum of our parts.
I’m not just a podcast creator. I’m also a father, an artist, a partner, a teacher, a bad karaoke singer, an even worse gardener (but I can raise strawberries, onions, children, and cats), a woodsman, a philanthropist, a writer, a son, a cousin (though not a brother, I’m an only child, which also means I’m not an uncle, or an aunt), a nephew, a student, a gentleman, a swordsman, a scholar. And those are just the roles I can rattle off at a moments notice. If given the task to write down all the things I am now or ever was the list would take volumes.
The same is true for each of you. Who you are, and your education, matters. Teach yourself something new today. Then teach someone else what you’ve learned and keep this cycle going. If you need help along the way, get in touch with Jen and she will be there to give you a hand. Or get in touch with me and I will do the same. This is our community. By tuning in to this show you are a part of it too.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get ahold of her.
Email: email@example.com if you would like to get ahold of me, or you can call me: 717-827-6266
I’m not going anywhere and will be with you for as long as I can.
You can also send me a letter if you would like. I think postal mail may be my favorite way of hearing from someone, as I have a box where I keep everything I receive. That address is:
The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018
Also to help you along that way, sign up for the traveling permaculture library project. Send an email to Matt Winters with your name and address and he’ll get you added to that generous cycle of sharing, all we ask is that once you are done reading a book that you agree to mail the book along to someone else involved in the project. There’s a sticker in the front of each book we send out with more information.
To support that and other projects, I do ask for your help. In keeping in-line with the gift economy of this show I heavily limit any advertisers to only people and products that I believe in and that have contacted me directly for assistance. For that reason, I rely almost entirely on listener contributions to keep this show going and on the air. Please consider becoming a member of the show by signing up at patreon.com/permaculturepodcast, or if you would like to make a one time contribution you can do so via the PayPal button at www.thepermaculturepodcast.com, or by sending something in the post to the address above.
You can also help me by taking two minutes and doing two things. First, leave a review on your favorite podcast site, such as iTunes. Second, share a link to your favorite episode on Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite social media of choice. Get the word out there and we can help more people create the world they want to live in.
Until the next time, when Dina Falconi author of Foraging and Feasting joins me, spend each day doing something new that takes care of Earth, your self, and each other.
Like this podcast? Support it on Patreon.
My guest for this episode is Grant Curry, a permaculture practitioner from the Four Corners region of Colorado who heads up Permaculture Provision Project.
Grant and I have known one another for some time conversing via email and phone to discuss issues of faith and permaculture, and to explore the genesis of the Permaculture Provision Project and how he is using that as a model to explore restoration work with indigenous populations, particularly the Navajo Nation. It is this latter subject, and how he is working with the tribal government and others to raise awareness of the issues impacting the people and lands within the sovereign borders that forms the bulk of our conversation today.
You can learn more about Grant and his work at the Permaculture Provision Project Facebook page, which you’ll find a link to in the notes below.
I like Grant and his enthusiasm, but realize how this conversation rubs hard against the issue of respecting other cultures. I’m glad for his perspective that this is about working along side the government and the people in the community, rather than forcing a particular vision upon those who are there already working in that space. That this is about elevating that work that and bringing in people who have the sensitivity to not impose external values on the practitioners.
Though I know there are people like Grant or Peter Michael Bauer doing this work of honoring native traditions, it is something that I only understand on a cursory level and certainly need to do a lot more reading and research on to even begin to alleviate my ignorance. If this is an area that you are familiar with and can share any insights, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know.
One other piece of the puzzle I would like to hear about are your Aha moments. I want to know how your personal story, your life, connect you to permaculture. What is the part of your experience that made you give a damn about the world we live in and wanting to take an active role in doing something that will make a difference?
Mine comes from when I was around nine years old and wandering with my friend Josh through the farm fields behind his house, building forts on every rock outcropping with sticks we found. His mother would dress us up in his father’s old marine corps BDUs and roll up the sleeves and pants legs so that we didn’t trip over them, using her deft seamstress hands to add a quick stitch here and there so they would stay in place through hours of play, and send us out to get wet, muddy, and safe to trapse through cow pies. We’d slither along stream banks, watch birds, throw dirt clods at each other, look for snakes, but rarely find them, look for spiders, and find them all the time, and generally be a part of nature. Two boys with acres and acres of semi-wild places that we lived in for days on end, only coming in long enough to grab a quick bite to eat before heading out until the sun set, then up the next day for breakfast and to do it all again. Though in recollection it seems like I spent years and years out there in those fields exploring, and dozens more as a cub scout and boy scout, my time in those fields was little more than two seasons. The spring and summer of 1989. That fall I changed schools and did not see Josh again for many years. When I did we were a little bit older, but no longer close, just existing in the memory our friendship and never able to reconnect again.
Though I lost my childhood friend, I never lost my love of Earth. That connection sat there, germinating, as I left the wild places and took a road more civilized. As a teenager I sat at a desk and learned how computers worked and how to program. From time to time I would go camping and hiking, some of those human scale outdoor recreational activities. Then as I had children I took them on nature walks and to talks about salamanders. As I showed my daughter the unbuilt environment, the blueberries and the butterflies, I found that love for Earth I had for so long taking root again. With it came permaculture and an interest in how I interact with the built environment, a desire for smaller spaces, and less stuff. As time passes, I turn away from that world built by humanity and look to the soil, the trees, the plants, the animals, and the people (but not their civilization), and ask myself, how do we save all of this?
If you have an answer, or just more questions, I’m here to be with you as long whenever our paths cross, or for as long as they run parallel with one another. Get in touch.
Or you can send me a letter:
The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018
As I say at the beginning of every episode, this podcast is listener supported. The show seems to be getting big enough now that I’m being contacted by marketers and publishers who want me to run native advertisements and corporate written editorials on the website, but I’m not going to do that. Yes, it would certainly help the financial side of the show, a lot, but as I said at the end of the episode with Peter Michael Bauer, I’m tired. I’m tired of business as usual, and so I refuse those offers. I’m not going to be a shill. It’s why, though I may make announcement from time to time for someone to advertise on the podcast, there is no “advertise here” button on the web page, and there won’t be. I’m only going to talk about and share things that I really believe in and think will make creating the world you want to live in easier and better for all of us.
With that said I need your help to keep this podcast going. The best way to do that now is through a recurring membership using Patreon. At patreon.com/permaculturepodcast you can find information on that various goal and reward levels for supporting the show in that way.
You can also make a one time donation via the PayPal button on the main page for the show at thepermaculturepodcast.com or by sending something in the mail at the address above.
Coming up on April 7 is Jen Mendez of PermieKids.com joins me to talk teaching children with permaculture. On April 15 is Dina Falconi the author of Foraging and Feasting.
Spend each day creating the world you want to live in by taking care of Earth, your self, and each other.
Permaculture Provision Project
The Colorado Permaculture Convergence (Information and Registration)
Like this podcast? Support it on Patreon.
My guest for this episode is the rewilder Peter Michael Bauer, from Portland, Oregon, who is also a trained permaculture practitioner who studied under Toby Hemenway.
Peter is the executive director of Rewild Portland, an environmental education non-profit that uses hands-on workshops and classes to teaches earth-based arts, skills, and technologies. He is also a regular contributor to rewild.com and the rewild.com facebook group.
During this conversation we talk about permaculture as a tool for rewilding, examine the impact of government and empire on our ability to take care of the earth and ourselves, discuss the meaning of civilization in the context of earth repair and permaculture, and our individual roles in creating useful change.
You can find out more about him and his current work at rewildportland.com. I would like to have Peter back on the show to continue this conversation and wrap up some thoughts that we touched on, but did not have the space to expand during this first conversation. If you have questions for him after listening to this show, let me know and I will include them in the follow-up we will have in a few months. You’ll also find a number of resources below.
I walk away from this conversation feeling that the act of practicing permaculture is the beginning of a life that is less civilized and a lot more wild. The more I have conversations with people like Peter, or Dan De Lion, or Ben Weiss and Wilson Alvarez, or read the work of authors like Derrick Jensen, the less and less I can sit back and be mild behind the microphone.
I don’t talk about my personal perspectives much, but these guests and their ideas spark that loud and boisterous side of myself as I grow tired and weary of the destruction and damage that is happening and want to see all of us pick up our tools and find out own salvation from this damaging culture that pushes us away from one another by telling us who to fear, why we can’t trust our neighbor, and must always be suspicious. We’re told to question science because it might tells us something we don’t like or can’t bring ourselves to accept because it conflicts with some preconceived world view. That because one of you is a republican and another is a democrat that those political leanings are so big that you can’t get along and realize that one’s guns and the other’s gays aren’t our problems, but are used as issues that drive a wedge between us and push us apart so those in power can stay there and dictate to us what is best, while serving their own self interest. That we are anesthetized with a news cycle of entertainment and shocking headlines. We are in the middle of ecological collapse and we’re told to spend our time worried about who is going to win some televised contest, or that a terrorist group thousands of miles away is going to come onto this soil and ruin our way of life when every day we listen to the people who are already ruining it for us. Those same people who tell us to be afraid and that we can’t change what’s happening anyway so should go back to our comfortable homes and turn up the heat if the winter is a little cold, or install a new air-conditioner if the summer’s seem hotter than normal, and ignore the droughts in California because the north-east got a record snow falls this year.
I’m tired. I’m tired of living in fear and listening to messages of scarcity. I’m tired of holding on to hope like it will make a difference, because it won’t. Action. Action will make a difference.
I love this world and each and every one of you so much that I want to see a place where we can all come together and live the best lives we can, in the world we want to see, even if we disagree over what that might look like, but to do it in a way that takes care of the earth, so we can have a home that we can live on indefinitely for ourselves and future generations. That we can take care of ourselves, and grow a little food to make sure we can eat and not go hungry, and to grow a little extra to feed our neighbor, regardless of what their religion, race, or creed might be.
That we can live, and love, and work together and give a damn about the difference we can make and tune out the messages that say we’re not enough, we are not good enough, that we can’t save the salmon, or reverse climate change, and that we should continue to trust in those who lie to us every day so that they can remain in power when we, each and every one of us, is powerful and capable of bringing about incredible change.
Rewild yourself and be free.
Whatever road you are on, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. Things might change with the podcast, I don’t know yet, but whatever happens I will continue to make myself available to anyone and everyone I can help. Call me. 717-827-6266. or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have some surplus and you can throw a little something my way, I’d appreciate it, because this podcast is all that I do for a living right now. Learn more at www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/support or at www.patreon.com/permaculturepodcast
If you haven’t already you should join the Traveling Permaculture Library Project by emailing your name and address to Matt Winters, who is the new librarian for the project. You can reach him at:
By doing so you will receive a random book related to permacutlure, the natural world, or the environment. All I ask is that once you receive a book and read it, to email Matt back and pass it along. Each book includes a sticker in the front cover with more information to make this process easier. The next books I’ll be shipping off to Matt for the library are:
Greg Marley Chanterrel Dreams, Amanita Nightmares
Beattie, Thompson, and Levine Working with Your Woodland
Richard Mabey Weeds
Stephen Barstow Around the World in 80 Plants
Until the next time, spend each day creating a better world, the world you want to live in, but taking care of earth, your self, and each other.
Rewild.com Facebook Group
Wilderness Awareness School
Pacific Northwest Foraging by Douglas Deur
Keeping it Living by Douglas Deur and Nancy Turner
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn