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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.
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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.
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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)