We have embarked on a wonderful permaculture adventure, with the notion that we will be able to sustain ourselves with organically grown fruit and vegetables. This exciting process, has the whole family involved. The food forest is well on the way, temporarily looking much the same as large vegetable patches at the moment, but will eventually grow out and beyond the boxes that contain them, into an expansive incredible food forest to rummage ourselves through. We have planted out an orchard, with apple varieties, pears, nectarines, oranges, lemons, olives, cherries and plums and will grow a field of white clover, radish, and Lucerne to support and nurture our young fruit trees. The children are taking it all very seriously, eagerly watching for growth and new life as it appears, and learning the names of fruit that we have never seen before like pepino melon, which is apparently wonderful to eat with ice cream. Apart from the obvious advantages of home-grown food and knowing exactly where and how what we are eating consists of exactly, its providing us with this wonderful learning platform of engagement. We discuss processes and seed selections, paying attention to the added benefits of the foods themselves supporting the growth of each other, much like a family. William asks what each plant does, he wants to know, who it is protecting and what from, and most of all what food it will produce for us. The discussion is always so much more important than just the planting of a seed. There is an excited eagerness, to watching things transform. The children can’t possibly wait until spring for their sunflowers to begin, so they have improvised and have begun growing them indoors, by the window in the small amounts of sun that we are still being graced with. Children are drawn to life, in all forms, they are naturally intrigued. It’s really humbling to find a platform that can naturally nurture this innate curiosity in them. We are all are learning so much, the fine art of patience, the importance of nurturing, and how to make wonderful worm juice concoctions. We are problem solving how to combat the white cabbage moth empathetically, and the life cycle of the hungry caterpillar. There is a world of science at our fingertips. We are spending endless amounts of hours pondering here, imagining how our food forest will be flourishing in a few years, how wonderful it will be if we could provide food for the ‘food is free project’, envisioning the possibility that everyone should have food available to them this way.
This space is where we spend most of our days now, so much so that no amounts of endless scrubbing in warm afternoon baths can remove the dirt now ingrained onto the soles of our feet. It’s how we like it, we have become apart of our land, preferring not to wear shoes most of the time. The soil is sandy here, easy for digging, perfect for sandy wet mud play. The children are always wearing it somewhere on their bodies, we are not fussed anymore by messy hair and grotty faces, rather opting for happy free-spirited kids now. We are in the beginnings of embarking on creating a permaculture garden. We are learning about the intricate details of how our land moves, where naturally slopping surfaces are perfect for an orchard of fruit and olive trees, where the rains fall and naturally flows down towards the abundant vegetable forests we plan to have at the bottom of the orchard. We are watching where the sun rises and sets on the land, paying particular attention to the naturally occurring elements, we will gather, collect and reuse organic mulch from fallen leaves and cuttings, we are composting everything and have adopted worm farms. We will waste little, give back what we take out and learn the art of soil ecology. We have planted, apple and pear trees, plum and peach, passionfruit and blue berries with raspberries around the open compost. All hands are helping, are learning, are apart of the process. We have begun a notebook, documenting our creative envisions, drawing, taking pictures, keeping track, writing notes and keep sake stories for remembering. The children are learning so much more than simply where their food comes from. We envision no longer needing to buy in mass from supermarkets, understanding deeply the difference between fresh produce and produce that has been harvested prematurely to sustain the traveling process that so often exceeds months before reaching the table. We will let go of the idea and need to eat foods that arn’t naturally in season, we will unlearn all we have learned about the act of food consumption, and mass production and endeavor to show the children the difference, letting go of anything that is working against the natural flow of our world and in turn ourselves. We will learn that food is sacred and not to take what we grow, eat and share for granted understanding deeply the many who are ironically and unnecessarily are still without this simple human right. And we pray that our small turning can be of some impact in the greater turning around of all that needs be.