In this conversation moderated by Ben Weiss of Susquehanna Sustainable Enterprises and Robyn Mello of Edenspore, Jon Darby, Alyson Earl, and Wilson Alvarez discuss their work at Horn Farm Center and regenerating the land. This includes how they came to sustainable agriculture; the dream projects they’re working on; how their ancestral and cultural history impacts their work and thought processes; and close by taking questions from the students assembled for the ecological design course.
I’d like to thank Ben and Robyn for inviting the podcast to join them for the day so we could share this with you, and to “Photographer John” Staley for making the trip, as I was unable to attend.
I love the shared story of these three presenters speaking around these common questions, and why I like to include conversations like these, and the others over the years on the show. Together, a multitude of voices address the same series of inquiries.
Though any moment, given question or particular response, leads to greater reflection, the one that stays with me leaving this interview regards the inquiry into one’s ancestral history and how that impacts our work and view of the world.
As the descendant of Appalachian Hillbillies and a 19th-century German immigrant, I often find myself considering the ways that familial culture brought me to where I am today. How stories of growing up poor in West Virginia lead my mother’s family to focus on people. Often folks I did not know, and remain unsure if we were related by blood or by marriage, we called family. Anyone who would join us for a meal was free to eat with us. From those roots how came to care about individuals and the community we create.
One immigrant, my great-great-grandfather Mann arrived in the second half of the 1800s, where came to Pennsylvania and fought in the American Civil War, before settling with an American wife in southern Maryland to farm. They taught his son how to farm, who then taught my grandfather, who taught my father. Though I did not grow up on the land, as my family no-longer farmed by the 1980s, the soil still ran through me, as we planted seeds. Dug in the ground. Planted trees in the yard with my father on Arbor day so that by the time I was a teenager there was the shade to sit under, even if branches lacked the height to climb.
I’ve carried those times, those stories of past generations, and experiences for my entire life and see them all as leading me directly to this path of creating The Permaculture Podcast, and retaining a love of Earth, people, and to share the bounty of life.
Do you have any stories like these which lead you to your journey? I’d love to hear from you.
The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018
From here the next episode will be the one with Kevin Jones, after having to move the release schedule around a little.
Until then, spend each day living into your gift, remembering the stories of your ancestors, and hearing the new tales of you community, while taking care of Earth, yourself, and each other.
Wilson Alvarez on Biomimicry, Landcare, and The Reintegration Project
The Reintegration Project Tour (YouTube)
Rewilding with Wilson Alvarez and Ben Weiss
Zone 4 Permaculture with Wilson Alvarez and Ben Weiss
Restoring Eden with Wilson Alvarez and Ben Weiss
Right Livelihood with Ben Weiss, Dave Jacke, and Charles Eisenstein
Getting Right with Ourselves and Building Community featuring Ben Weiss & Dave Jacke
Susquehanna Permaculture Round Table (Part 1) featuring Jon Darby and Ben Weiss
Susquehanna Permaculture Round Table (Part 2) featuring Jon Darby and Ben Weiss
Permanent Multi-Culture with Robyn Mello
An Introduction to Philadelphia Orchard Project featuring Robyn Mello
Philly Roundtable Q&A (Part 1) featuring Robyn Mello
Philly Roundtable Q&A (Part 2) featuring Robyn Mello