Permaculture as a career

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From Florida Earthship PDC grad Diann Dirks:  It was so sweet to be reminded of our Permaculture course in Fla. last March. Since then I have been using so much of what I learned and integrated there.

Right after completing the course I taught 3 series of classes in organic gardening – 13 classes all told at the local libraries and at a local forming sustainable farm. I became a the paid consultant on the creation of a community garden for a Jewish Temple, consulted at a CSA to increase yield, as well as a multitude of private gardens. And one of my students formed a CSA after taking my classes. I created my own school, Mother’s School of Self-Reliance, which has taken off, and I have been giving classes between one and three course days a week since January. Classes have included hand sewing, sprout bag making, sprout bag growing, sprout bread making, and seed propagation classes.

I have also incorporated so much of what I learned in putting in 1800 sq. feet more garden space. And I have been growing some food all winter, even in sub-freezing weather.

Soon after the course I set up a community garden in our own area and am the director. Since then we have acquired a 22′x60′ professional steel green house which is being built this spring on site of the garden for propagation and year-round growing of food.

I also founded a local farmers market that enjoyed a successful season last year, and participated and help found another one beginning this fall into winter, and participated in one all last summer selling instant raised bed gardens which helped over 100 new garden beds be set up in people’s yards where they had never gardened before or extended already growing gardens.

I have been interviewed twice on the radio, and have been writing articles for the local newspaper on sustainable issues all year and have my own column now called “Surviving the Times”.

I’m going to be on the panel of the film “Fresh” tomorrow after the film is shown, and have a booth where I will be promoting my school, community garden, and selling seeds.

I founded last year’s first City of Auburn Garden Expo and did a seminar on Permaculture Princliples to about 25 people.

Our teacher Wayne (Weisman) told me I should teach so I have been.

And I have grown enough food and herbs over the last year to provide a vast amount of food for myself and my husband, as well as sell at the farmers market. I have a .7 acre steep hillside yard which is 1/3 zone 5 (wild), with a house and large lawn which gradually I have been converting into garden by raised beds and terracing.

Anyone visiting the Atlanta area need only call for a tour. 678 261 8141

Best,

Diann Dirks, Certified Permaculture Designer

Taste of Freedom Farm

CIMG0046Andrew Wolfe wasted no time using the techniques he learned about in the permaculture course held at the Florida Earthship in March of 2009.  His goal is to get completely off the grid and make a living from what he produces in his yard. He named his urban Pinellas County homestead “Taste of Freedom Farm”, and in a few months has created a fish farming pond, planted citrus trees, grape vines, blueberries and a raised bed garden with rainwater catchment, composting bins, greenhouse, roof-top beehives, chicken coop and brooder box, duck house, a well, and wood source for his Franklin stove.

Here’s a note from Andrew about his project:

Thanks for the interest in my progress. I have not yet found it necessary to hire a board of directors to help manage my vast enterprise. But I have since the start of my little endeavor, seen almost nothing but advances and very few set-backs to acheive success.

My background has been in construction. I was a sheet-metal worker for 6 years and before that a renovater. My choice to change direction was fueled directly by my reading. I’m an avid reader of the classics and early American literature. I was reading some founder comments when I ran across one quote that struck a chord with me. It read “A person who wants to be ignorant and free, wants what never was and never will be”-Thomas Jefferson. It was at that point I reflected on whether my intrinsic right to be free made me free in actuality or just in theory. I rationalized it in this way; I may in fact be free to take a stroll down my street, but am I actually taking the stroll, or just sitting on my rear thinking about it. I was done wearing the vestiges of freedom without being so. All of it was hinged on me providing for myself. And all though it’s a very respectable thing to go to work and make a living wage, and as a result of your labors bring home bread for the table, you can never be certain that your job will be there forever. The stability of my lifestyle was rooted in the stability of my job, the stability of my job in the stability of the economy. There were far too many things in control of my destiny! So I set out to find what I could do to start to provide for myself and my family in a way the was tangible and concrete. The answer???—Overwhelmingly AGRICULTURE!!!! The wellspring of  functional freedom in society in my humble opinion is Agriculture. So I set about learning the “trade” so-to-speak. I have learned a basic working knowledge of: gardening, fish farming, beekeeping, and the raising and keeping of chickens and ducks. My hope is to try and be as self reliant as possible. The attainment of that final goal is yet to be had but the pursuit is a pleasure, and that is success.

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To answer the specific questions you had

1-I have been tending bees for about 8 months now.

2-I decided to sell the honey when I found out it had value:)

3-My plans for the future are to expand my honey production by finding more suitable bee yards within the county, increase the number of stores it’s available at, and lastly, which happens to be the most ambitious, try to show people the value of providing for themselves.

4- People can find my “Taste of Freedom Farm Honey” at Rollin’ Oats on 9th St, Natures Food Patch on Cleveland in Clearwater, and many of their local fresh fruit and vegetable stands. If your local stand doesnt carry it, that of course is a problem I would love to remedy!–Andrew Wolfe 727-439-4885.