Who's changed the course of their life for permaculture?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Tildesam, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Tildesam

    Tildesam Junior Member

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    So I've come to the conclusion that permaculture's really exciting and I'd like love to begin bringing it into my life.

    I... I just don't know where to begin, there's so much. :shake:

    So a bit of context:

    I'm sort of early in my career (and in my life) so I think I've got a unique opportunity to go really *gung-ho* on the idea. 8)

    I've got a normal 9-5 job with a relatively small amount of free time.
    I also have a balcony packed with plants, getting a very trivial amount of sunlight a day. I've had successes and failures over the last year I've been really passionately gardening so I'd say I haven't failed considering my conditions!

    I want to join the local community garden and get a little plot, but at the moment I'm so busy with my job I can barely even visit to see what it's like!

    My shelves are overflowing with books I'm slowly emassing about growing fruit, veg and herbs - and got a couple of self-sufficiency books I'm reading through right now.

    I'm facing a big lifestyle overhaul (if I'm brave enough to go through with it) - but I've no idea what steps to take first.

    Has anyone here taken the plunge and made being a permie a part of their lifestyle?
    Anyone changed careers, sold up their old life?

    I'm curious, tell me! :think:
     
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day sammy,

    we changed our lifestyle sort of not for permaculture which is merely a tool like many other tools around to use what fits out of it and is needed on a personal spectrum. we changed a good long time ago before we knew of permaculture we used natural organic methods which is the main stay of permaculture. we changed because we saw that everyone should try and live within the resources of the planet not to rape the. we will soon be on our new block and start our gardens and fruit trees going ASAP.

    len
     
  3. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    My wife and I straight up have after leaving a very profitable job in Redwood Shores, CA.; the very heart of Silicon Valley. I now have a life instead of a living for a life style.

    We are also both MUCH healthier.
     
  4. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    It was a bit scary when Kate and I went full time on Purple Pear Farm. We have had to make some adjustments - we think hard before "going for coffee" sometimes. It has been the best thing as we now live our life well and content. Good luck.
     
  5. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    We packed up our ridiculously well-paid public service jobs in the big city, sold everything and moved our little family to the country. I 'work' a lot now and get paid very little, but the satisfaction sometimes very high and we need so little that sometimes it hardly seems to matter. We are still flush every now and then so we can buy a bottle of wine to enjoy. In many ways we are still 'in conversion' but there is a lot of joy to be had in the process.
     
  6. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    It's now over twenty years ago that I sold the wonderfully successful Management Consultancy firm I'd built up from scratch and became just me again. :)
     
  7. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    I wish people would say what they do for a living if they have changed the course of their life for permaculture. That is, how do they pay the bills....
     
  8. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Hey Ludi

    Am thinking along the same lines. I just threw my job in and need to get off my bum. I've done some research and will start another thread about making money from permaculture.
     
  9. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    ludi?

    what importance what their exploits were, our only concerns are the paying due consideration to the planet using simple tool sensibly and with common sense. at the end of the day we all need some income maybe unless one is superbly fit and resourceful.

    we get meager money and we make the most of it as health has a big demand on our budget. we feel our won reward will come from some other place.

    len
     
  10. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    I don't ever expect to make a living or income to speak of, from permaculture, though I do hope to save money via permaculture. But I'm interested to see how other people make a living while practicing permaculture. Most people making money from permaculture seem to do it by giving courses or consulting. I think it may help permaculture spread more if we're willing to talk about how we make our living in or not in, the context of permaculture. I don't mind talking about this though if other people don't want to talk about it, obviously they are not obligated to. Maybe they are independently comfortable, retired, or otherwise have a way of paying the bills. I have a home business which is by no means permacultural; I make things for the entertainment industry. It annoys me that my way of making a living is wasteful and destructive. I'm hoping practicing permaculture will enable me to reduce my expenses so I can work less and therefore contribute less waste. Maybe other people don't want to talk about their way of making a living because it is also not permacultural but is still part of the industrial world most of us still live in. If this is offensive to people they need not respond.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Don't be using that as an excuse - If you work a 40 hour week you still have 128 hours a week free. If you sleep for 56 hours a week, you've still got 72 hours a week - that's almost double what you spend at work. Consider doing a 'time audit' and become aware of where your time is going. Think about how you can 'stack' time functions. If you have a work commute can you read, listen to podcasts, write a diary during that time? Ban the TV - it sucks whole days up without you even realising it.

    I stopped full time work (which for me was about 60 hours a week including lots of on call) back in July last year, and have been mostly living off my savings since then. I'm picking up some teaching work - short term, part time contracts; some consultancy work - again part time; and working on finding the balance point of enough income vs enough time to do what I want to do. I discovered that just getting to work (right clothes, regular haircuts and manicures, right shoes, car servicing and detailing, insurance, child care, bought lunches, housecleaner etc etc) in my previous role was really expensive.

    It feels less secure not having regular full time work, but it means that I no longer have all my eggs in the one basket, so if one job ends it isn't the end of the world. I've also discovered that I have time to be involved in my community in a way that I have never had time for before.

    Ludi - I'm not strictly speaking making a living from permaculture, but I'm now making an income in a way that fits with the ethics of permaculture which wasn't possible for me before. The few people I know who are what you might call full time permies still work 'off farm' to generate a cash income. I think that relates more to the familiarity of being able to make money that way - it is inside our comfort zones - rather than it being impossible to make ends meet from farming / teaching / ecotourism.
     
  12. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    Thank you, eco, that's exactly the kind of detailed post I was hoping to see! :) Thank you very much.
     
  13. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    I've changed my life. Not sure how I'm going to make a living with permaculture, but I do have some ideas. I'd rather not have to resort to using my history degree and be stuck inside. Luckily, I'm young, debt free, and heading to a country (Finland) where people already do a lot of permaculture-type things without calling it that. I might be able to be on the ground floor of one of the first CSA's there, so that'll provide some income. My fiancee is happy to be a sugar-momma for the time being though. Which we both laugh at because she will be a teacher and although the school system is excellent there they don't get paid too much.

    Anyway, back to changing lives... when I watched the Greening the Desert video I became hooked. I had already been gardening and some of my friends were telling me about permaculture. I sort of shrugged it off until more evidence mounted and the Greening the Desert example was the proverbial straw. Since then I've sold my parents on the idea (whom I'm living with until I move in June). We are now in our second year and things are moving splendidly. I've got so many ideas that I just need to get them onto paper with plenty of guidance they can digest once I emigrate. Hopefully the plans will be good enough that they can do it themselves or have someone come help. With any luck, I'll be able to come back to help implement our front yard designs.

    Currently, I work at a big box hardware store that is decidedly NOT permaculture. I'm not too proud of it, but it is still fun to have a job where I can spread the word to willing customers. The time flies and it pays better than anything else I could find. One day, I say, I'll make a living from consulting and running my own small operation. And who knows, maybe I'll have enough extra to go do what I really want- help green deserts!
     
  14. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    I wouldn't call it a plunge as I would a slow and steady movement towards the final goal. Personally I find making small changes is better for me than big changes, simply because I lack discipline. I'm getting close to retirement(less than 10 years to go to retire at the ripe old age of 49!), so giving everything up doesn't make much sense to me. Of course working 40+ hours a week and being on standby 50% of the time I'm not working doesn't make much sense to me either...

    But having a steady income AND being able to grow my own food, increase the fertility of my sand/hardpan clay soil naturally, having chickens for pets(hopefully soon) and generally enjoying the bounty that nature gives freely is a good thing too. All this while showing other suburbanites what is possible, ah...I love it.
     
  15. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    What I did do I cannot explain due to a 1" thick NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), however my wife is permanently disabled & I am her 24/7 caretaker in addition to the Permaculture stuff around here.
     
  16. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    Ok, but an answer could be "I cashed out a high-paying job and am now living on my savings plus my wife's disability payments" for instance. That would make it clear that you are not paying the bills via permaculture. If people don't feel comfortable saying exactly what they do for a living I don't expect them to post it, but they could say something like "I'm working a 9 to 5 job" or "I'm retired and living on retirement income" or "I'm living on my stock market returns" etc. The reason I think we might want to discuss our way of life is, if we want permaculture to spread as a way of life, I think we need to be willing and capable of discussing our way of life, how it is permacultural or not, where we are in our personal permaculture journey, etc etc. I'm not implying that people aren't permaculturists if they don't support themselves by permaculture, but, if we want permaculture to spread, I think we need to provide information about how we do or do not support ourselves via permaculture. I feel we need to be able to talk about these things in an upfront, non-vague, non-evasive way.
     
  17. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Well, that is and isn't true.

    We do have monthly income from her disability, but most of the money goes out the window for medical expenses, and I have no insurance still. Our bills keep dropping each year by doing permaculture. First bill to drop significantly was our garbage bills.

    Here, garbage is picked up along the highway, a 1/2 mile from my home. I would have to pay $35 per month for me to schlep my garbage downhill for them to pick up 2x a month and then I have to schlep it back up hill. This comes out to roughly $420 per year.

    Thanks to re-use, recycle, etc from learning my pdc, and just in general a permaculture lifestyle our garbage bill dived down to about $40 a year. That leaves me over $300 to do projects on my property. As an example, I recently purchased 3 multigrafted fruit trees for $20 each for my mandala garden...even if I purchased all 6 at once, I would have only spent $120, leaving me even more money, and in a few short winters it will be greatly impacting my food bill.

    The chickens which we got less then a year ago have been providing manure and food, tons of food! We stopped purchasing eggs & have started to give away our excess to friends and neighbors, again, impact my food budget for the better, not to mention all the other food starting to grow, etc.

    All the little things start impacting the financial budget and make life a little easier financially. Thus, in short, we just need to start doing it.




    Oh, I should note, it sounds like I have a good savings...well, I don't.
     
  18. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    Thank you for those details, Pakanoida, it helps show how permaculture as a way of life can make our lives easier because of needing less money. :)
     
  19. labradel

    labradel Junior Member

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    i also feel more discussion as to how to afford the changes required during a permaculture conversion is invaluable and a good start is to understand how other people have structured their finances and where they have come from. some of my the most persistant opposition to permaculture comes in the form of " I cant afford that" and some insight as to how others have done / doing it is of great assistance when talking to others who have different financial situations to my own.
     
  20. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    I would love to see that discussion, labradel.
     

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