[permaculture] (Sub)urban permaculture

jenny Nazak jnazak at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 3 19:29:49 EDT 2011

What an excellent thread! I grew up in the suburbs, have been a gung-ho city-rat all my adult life. And in the past few years have had many enjoyable, fruitful experiences along the lines of what Glenn describes.

Most recently, I spent a couple of months on a friend's farm, helping out with sign-painting, marketing, cooking, and what I call "permaculture home ec": using permaculture principles to improve the design of household processes such as dishwashing, laundry, cooking, cleanup etc. 

In exchange for doing work I love, and having that work be very much appreciated, I got beautiful rustic sleeping quarters and all the fresh vegetables, eggs, pork, milk, and other wonderful local food I could eat. I also had enough time to fulfill my responsibilities as public-relations coordinator of a permaculture guild (an occupation I am able to do almost entirely online and by phone).

And my hosts were happy to let me hold my solar-cooking workshops at the farm. (BTW I timed the workshops to make it easy for my students to shop at the farm stand during its regular business hours.)

A huge win-win, all in all, I would say!

From what I can see, such opportunities abound. I have stayed on many farms and ranches over the years, and they all had one thing in common: They were short-handed. They needed more HUMANS!

Being small businesses and cash-strapped, family farms and ranches are good places to find work-trade opportunities.

City-rat though I may be, I've gotten to participate in planting, harvesting, butchering, marketing, and many other aspects of farming over the years. All without having (or wanting) any land of my own.

As a bonus: The friends' farm I stayed at recently, was located on a city bus line with frequent service!


Jenny Nazak
A semi-nomadic permaculture factotum
Based mainly in Ormond-By-the-Sea, FL, and Austin, TX

Glenn wrote:

"With patience and persistence you can find ways to partner with some
homesteaders and fearless, curious, or generous farmers, and become a farmer
yourself -- city dweller, with no land, no barn, no tractor, but a stake in
the business.  Picture helping with fencing, or buying a few sheep to
supplement a cow herd, planting black beans or wheat "

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