Posted by Sharon on September 22, 2020

Me te waihonga putiputi

This week gives us so much to celebrate: spring equinox, te wiki o te reo Māori—the final design presentations of our 2020 permaculture design course participants. It’s seed-planting time. I’m filled with hope by course participants, who have embedded their aspirations within practical designs for personal and community action.

For my own part, I’m going to ground and waiting for the right conditions. This was the final permaculture design course I’ll be leading for the foreseeable future, though I might lend a hand elsewhere. There are seeds sprouting everywhere I look, and I feel like I’m surrounded by the richness of others’ leadership and development. Kei te ora te tangata!

Coming up

I’ve been involved in PDCs since 2013, and now I’m experiencing a figurative death—a transformation where I cannot see the path and so I must walk by faith. Recently I visited Stonehenge Aotearoa for the first time, where on Equinox, when things are in balance, Tāne Mahuta looks directly at Hine-nui-te-pō. Today I am reminded to first say thank you for the great knowledge I have already been given. I also hear the call to let go of derivative knowledge, to remember my limits, and to walk into the darkness where I am humbled by the things I do not know and cannot see. This is the path to a new dawn.

To strengthen myself against doubt, I want to acknowledge some of the ways I’m still visible in the community I love. My actions may be little relative to the huge cooperative action all around me, but I still treasure the ways I am connected.

  • Big thanks to Project Marton for inviting me to present last Sunday to their board planning day on the subject “Sustainability education as a pathway for community-led development.” I left well nourished by intelligent conversation, yummy māra kai, and enthusiasm for where Project Marton is headed.
  • Phil & I are looking forward to participating in RECAP’s upcoming 31 October fundraiser, a permaculture garden festival. This is a reinvention of RECAP’s permaculture garden tour, our first ever fundraiser held way back in 2012 and repeated in 2013 and 2014. Thanks to ongoing permaculture education, the depth of RECAP’s presence in our town, and the work of the current coordinator Helen King and volunteer team, the 2020 festival offers even more inspiration, with a self-guided format to suit different schedules.
  • I’m looking forward to delivering a foraging workshop later in the year (cross fingers), with a focus on native plants and—yum—eating weeds. The workshop will also introduce participants to some guiding principles for safe, legal, and eco-sustainable foraging. I really like eating weeds. (Good thing—my garden is rich with them!)
  • LOAVES is still alive! Since 2009 I’ve been working with others on a community currency. I’ve called this my “holy grail”—the not-yet-fully-realised project that keeps me on an adventure. My part in RECAP, the PDC, and so many other things have developed from the seed energy of LOAVES. I’m currently facilitating a decoupling of LOAVES from the NZD—something we always wanted to see—and something about LOAVES's upcoming independence (scheduled to occur just before summer solstice) makes me feel very free.

And in the new calendar year? Honestly ... I have no idea. I can see seeds everywhere (including a new-to-me very precious seed energy) but I’m still guessing at what the garden will look like and what my place is in it all. I pray I’ll keep my feet on the ground, connected to this beloved earth, my hands in my friends’ hands, connected to my beloved people.

Flowers from Helle's garden (PDC graduate)