Jenni started with Brighton Permaculture Trust in 2020 and is still astonished to finally – after nearly 2 decades – be applying her degree in Environmental Science to her job, not to mention working in the field of food growing which has been a personal passion for nearly as long.
A bit about your project:
I will be picking up the reins on the Community Orchard Development project which aims to plant 70 trees in 5 areas of East Brighton over the winter of 2020/2021 with local communities who will then be supporting the sites into the future. I’m also rather looking forward to my first apple harvest and some hard-earned cider.
Name your permaculture hero? Why them?
James Lovelock – and his Gaia hypothesis. The first time I read another scientist’s work and felt my own thinking reflected back.
Rachel Carson – the grandmama of food production without pesticides. Her writing still rings true and we’re still not listening.
Chief Seattle – and his 1854 speech to Washington where he states: ”All things are connected”. Communities living in simpler time than ours have wisdoms we can’t afford to ignore.
Which permaculture principle do you have to remind yourself of the most?
Observe and interact. I tend to ‘read’ situations quickly and jump in when perhaps it would benefit me to ‘wait and see’ a little more. Being an only child I’m also naturally inclined to sort things out myself rather than figuring in others to help spread the load. It’s been rewarding to work on sharing support with others in recent years. As part of my role as Chair of Brighton & Hove Organic Gardening Group, I recently created an opportunity for other food growing and sustainable living organisations to come together to form an ‘alliance’. Helping to achieve this common aim along the principle of integrate rather than segregate has brought with it a great hope for shared futures and the ability to ‘play nice’ especially when resources are limited.
Which permaculture principle is always popping up in unlikely places?
Use edges and value the marginal. This principal is intriguing and inspiring in equal measure. I regularly see how edges can often be the richest and most abundant spaces; not only in my garden and allotment, but also in communities and the wider society. Those living on the margins often have the most to lose and gain and this seems an important learning for those of us living in the comfortable and secure middles.
Best example of permaculture in action?
Design from pattern to detail is probably the best way to describe my project management style. I love nothing better than putting a process in place to save everyone time in the long run. This leaks over into many aspects of my life, including my super tidy workspace where everything is allocated its own home so it’s easy to find the next time. I hate hunting for ‘lost’ equipment or having to ‘reinvent’ systems every time I use them.