Permaculture in Action

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


What does it mean to be employed?  The dictionary describes it .. ' To give work to; to keep at work.' It doesn't say anything about being paid for that work. And what of work..."effort; a task; achievement...'  "to labour, toil..'..  'to bring about; to influence; to fashion...' Again, nothing said about payment.
In nature nothing is unemployed. Everything goes about it's work to take care of it's needs. Once their needs are met they rest.
Last week I went to a talk by Ted Trainer.




In Ted's talk the point was made that if there is anyone who is not actively employed then there is some serious faults in that community.
At an employment seminar some years ago I had the opportunity to ask the panel including ALP president (past president) and pickabox champion Barry Jones a question on employment on behalf of the Permaculture Hunter Group.
My question was "If we can teach people to provide for their needs through gardening, would we not eliminate or reduce unemployment?" Barry answered by saying that it happened in Lismore on the fringe of society - totally missing the point I am afraid. I still believe that employment is an activity that provides for your needs and the needs of your family and some of the most employed people on the planet are "stay at home mums"
Chooks lead a life full of purpose.
They are employed scratching. eating bugs and weeds. pooping and laying eggs.

Having purpose is what we need to be employed. We need a reason to do the things we should and from this comes the satisfaction which goes with being active in providing for your self and your family.
Lets work towards 100 percent employment by staying focused on the things that give us purpose and provide for our needs and the needs of those close to us.

Mark and Kate ( in collaboration ) xxxx


  1. Oh, these thoughts are so timely in my life right now. I am constantly mentally battling with myself about how I can move from sustaining myself by 'being paid' to sustaining myself my 'being employed'. I'd like very much to find the way to do it. I'm sure I will.

  2. A great post. I often think about things like this people would cope if a crisis happened in our country and fruit and veges became unobtainable. The people who would cope would be the people with a functioning garden...not just because they are producing food, but they are feel a sense of purpose and feel 'employed' as you say, in their tasks.
    Growing your own food makes you feel strong, capable and independent....much more than having some high powered pressure job- if only we could convince more people to do it!

  3. Great post. We're trying to balance a lot of this sort of stuff in our life at the moment, too. I love the chook comparison. They have an excellent work ethic!

  4. I agree Kate. Work is about meaning and purpose and those with the highest employee engagement are not those who are the highest paid, but those who feel a strong sense of contribution through their work.

  5. A great post, and an impressive list of activities for 2012 has appeared to the right! Ree

  6. Mark and Kate, I totally agree with your statements about employment and purpose. Since I gave up paid work, I have felt more employed providing for our needs here than I ever did working for a buck. Purpose is everything.

    Good luck with your events and workshops. If I lived closer I would happily book in for one of your farm tours.

  7. I love that you've included pooping for the chooks' employment!