How I found clarity for my future with an Introduction to Permaculture Course
Earlier this year, I participated in Peppi’s Permaculture Immersion Course at Zeebarn in Portugal, after I had joined him online for his Introduction to Permaculture course in the Spring. In this article, I would like to share some of the characteristics of permaculture with you, and why permaculture and my time at Zeebarn have made a huge impact on how I can approach a future full of abundance for myself and everyone around me.
My name is Anne. I landed in Portugal like so many others I have been meeting here. Abandoned my career temporarily during the pandemic, while I was headed to Portugal for a week vacation and was forced to grow some roots and stay put. It was maybe the best place to face lockdown, I was living in a beautiful valley surrounded by native Portuguese flora and fauna, close to one of the world’s most famous surf spots and in a community of people that were looking for a slower
way to live life. I had spent the last decade jet setting around the globe; a passion for exploring the outdoors, new places and cultures combined with working in the travel industry made for an exciting nomadic life. It was a blast, but also tiring, stressful and a way of life that I knew had to give way to more sustainable ways at some point. When I landed in Portugal, I decided this was my opportunity to feel into this, observe myself and my surroundings and start exploring what regenerative living means.
How I found Permaculture in Portugal
I started growing my own food, which, except for having had a few pot tomatoes and peppers during a summer in Melbourne, I had zero experience with. Growing food from seed? Companion plants and planting by the moon? Nitrogen-rich soil? None of these things had ever been part of my reality before and a whole new universe started unfolding itself right in front of me. It was exciting, confusing, and overwhelming. At the same time, I experienced incredible calmness when I was caring for my tomatoes. Connectedness when I was mulching the beds barefoot. Contentedness and achievement with no need for external recognition, when I harvested my first ever beetroot and prepared delicious salads with it. When I visit the place that I no longer live at now, I look at my herb garden with motherly pride – because this is something the plants and I created together to feed us; because the herbs are thriving in their environments, having re-grown after a harsh and cold winter. I started creating a connection with nature that I did not know to exist. I was hungry for more, so I started reading about Permaculture and met Peppi.
How Permaculture works
‘Permaculture can be the language of what nature is trying to tell us, to make life easier for ourselves.’ Over the course of 6 days, Peppi taught us how to hear, feel, smell, and read this ancient language of nature. He opened the door to understanding that everything is connected: We must care for the earth, because without it, there can be no place to live for us; we must care for ourselves to become our best version, so we can share and care for the people and things around us; we must always work towards creating balance, just like every other living thing around us is doing, in collaboration rather than competition and with simple yet incredibly complex elements in every little detail. In following the 3 ethics of Permaculture (earth care, people care, fair share), we can re-discover our ability to observe and value things properly, and as a result we will create abundance, resilience, and diversity for ourselves and everyone, like nature does it over and over again. It may sound like a utopic dream, but these 3 ethics and its 12 permaculture principles can equip us with all the theoretical and practical knowledge to make this way of thinking a reality. They are so simple yet complex, that they can even be applied when managing any multinational corporation. Because Permaculture is for everyone because everything and everyone is connected, because we are all part of nature.
‘It is the language of what nature is trying to tell us, to make life easier for ourselves.’
About Peppi’s Permaculture Course
With an abundance of patience, hands-on examples, and lots of fun, Peppi showed us that we can apply the Permaculture methods in growing our own food as well as in managing relationships with others and ourselves. We mulched, built swales and compost, we created guild charts for the trees and plants at Zeebarn, we designed urine-distribution systems and learnt about soil and the history of permaculture. We went for meditation walks in nature, philosophised, laughed, cried, and celebrated together. Our diverse group of eight students from all walks of life grew together, connected by the wish to learn, to create solutions, give back, and find new ways.
To top it off, Peppi’s partner Melania gifted us every day with delicious and wholesome vegan feasts, created with much love and following the way of macrobiotic cooking. We were learning in the beautiful hand-built barn surrounded by nature, were nourished with wonderful food, rested well in the comfortable dormitory or our own tents and applied our new knowledge in Peppi’s backyard. It was the perfect combination of sharing and learning, giving, and taking, surrounded by supporting and like-minded people. The perfect recipe to see the abundance and experience love and open our eyes to a way of living that seeks solutions rather than problems, take responsibility for our own actions and be kind to ourselves and those around us.
Can Permaculture be the right choice for you?
If I can give you one advice – learn how you can apply Permaculture to your life: if you do not want to read the complete book ‘Permaculture One’ by Bill Mollisson, you can read articles, or connect with people like Peppi. If you decide to make Zeebarn the place where you study permaculture, he can teach you the how’s and what’s to this philosophy during his next course in October. You do not have to be a permaculture farmer yet, already grow food in raised or wicking beds in your own backyard, or on your balcony to apply Permaculture to your life. During these uncertain times that meant huge changes to every part of my life, this week gave me the clarity and direction I was looking for to trust in the process and be positive about the future, and I am confident that with an open mindset, you can experience this too!
Wow it's been a while (since my last blog here) and so much has happened at Zee Barn.
We are just in the middle of our Yoga retreat and enjoying the group energy and space together. We also had a great permaculture course not long ago and it's been a blast seeing great people achieving positive changes in their lives.
Really looking forward to the continue this journey as it unfolds and connects us together.
Welcome Lovely Human
It's the middle of January, it's cold outside and it's also the first new moon of 2021. Nature asks for us to hibernate for a bit, slow down, and enjoy the womb, the cave, the cosy skins we build around us in order to feel comfortable.
And so I listened to Mother Nature and slowed down from the heavy physical work I was doing at ZEE and came inside. I lit up a fire, a candle and incense while made the space nice and cosy. I brewed up a nice herbal tea and I'm now inspired to write up the first blog of ZEE. WOW!
So much has been done since just a few months. There has been a lot of sacrifices already, but there has also been a lot of growth, a lot of exchanges and many great experiences have been shared by all those who have visited and those who have been helping us out manifest ZEE's vision.
The sound of the rustling leaves in the wind outside has caught my attention...yes its slightly windy today, which brings a different song of natural sounds from the last frosty still days that we had.
Winter! One of the four seasons that can be enjoyed and cherished is not sought after by many people I know, however, I'm actually really enjoying it, and as I remember someone telling me once: there is no such thing as bad weather, there is just bad or insufficient equipment. And yes, I can say I completely agree with that.
When I look at nature and I use my natural instincts and sharpened intuition, I can experience the perfection of design all around me. It's really quite simple, but in our modern world, we have complicated our ways of thinking and behaving, and so many times we find it difficult to adapt to the changing seasons, even though they are a natural repeating pattern.
So my focus for today's message is about embodying simplicity and slowing down. Yes, I need this reminder to myself, especially when many things are happening around me and the world seems to be going at a crazy speed. I know I can ask Nature and check-in, while I ground myself and stay connected.
I would like to share this with you!
I would like to invite you to do the same. Stay grounded lovely human, stay grounded...turn to Nature and invite her in your heart.
Let's help each other in these turbulent times and inspire each other to stand in times of need and rest in times of need also.
And so on that note, I shall conclude this first piece of writing and have a little rest before I write my webinar notes and share my little sharing.
Sending you love from ZEE BARN. PEACE 🙏🏾