Permaculture in Action

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Model of Sustainability

We have set ourselves the weighty task of establishing a model here at Purple Pear, of sustainability.We join many many others with the view that the only way out of a very dark and gloomy place, ie global warmimg, peakoil, soil degradation, economic instability etc,etc, all of which are challenging our survival on this planet is to reduce our negative impact and increase our positive impact on the planet.
One way in which we impact positively here is by growing food organically, (Biodynamically actually). Over the past 5 years we have built up our soils by adding organic matter (and using BD preps). In an article from The Organic Gardener magazine, Dr Paul Hepperly, soil expert, says the way to feed the world and conquer climate change is to concentrate on soils. Farming organically compared to conventional farming reduces greenhouse gas emissions, he says, because organic farmers do not use nitrogen fertilisers or herbicides like conventional systems.But the biggest impact on the health of the planet could come about if all the world's farmland converted to organic farming because of the amount of carbon taken from the air and put into the soil in the form of organic matter.

People gathered for lunch before the tour started

Now of course most of you know all this, but it is a nice reminder and a great lead in to what we did yesterday. Many years ago Mark and I joined the Hunter Organic Growers Society. They have been operating now for over 25yrs and have been instrumental in changing how many people farm and garden here in the Hunter, and certainly gave us a very good start along our journey into organic farming. We have hosted Field Days in the past and were honoured to be asked to host another one yesterday. Over 60 adults and children turned up, on a very windy and cold day. Mark and I broke them into 2 groups and took them on a tour of the farm.The theme for the day was the Farm as an Organism. We looked at the interactions of the various elements that make up the farm, and how that helps us reduce the use of external inputs, and how this and other things such as solar energy production, water collection and waste management ,and soil building mean that we have a greater potential for a positive impact rather than a negative one, i.e. one that is more sustainable.
We feel that it was a very successful day and that people left feeling inspired and enthused. And Mark and I were enthused by how many people turned up and were hearted to think that they would go back and do sustainable things on their own piece of Earth.
It was also nice to meet Kim from The Little Black Cow who came along for the day with her family


  1. Welcome home. Straight back into it, I see!
    I think a friend of mine was on that field day, or perhaps it was a separate farm tour; she was very pleased to be finally visiting PP. It's a very inspiring place and I'm sure many of the visitors took home some idea to work on.

  2. Thanks Maree. I hope people were able to use something from the day, maybe a small thing to add to what they're already doing!

  3. I agree, we all have to do something. My thing was to change myself and my home. I now teach what I discovered and that, I hope, is my small part in helping fix things. It looks like a great day you had there!

  4. Yes Rhonda it was a great day. And I agree that to start with ourselves and our homes is the way to go and then share how we did it. Sounds like we're on the same path!