Trustee and Orchard projects
Starting with a Permaculture Design Course in 2007, John’s involvement with Brighton Permaculture Trust has included teaching on the Intro course and setting up Worthing Eco Open Houses. He now works mostly on orchard projects and became a trustee in 2019. An advocate for cycling and walking, he also volunteers for Sustrans.
Name your permaculture hero? Why them?
I didn’t meet Patrick Whitefield, but the Earth Care Manual was an early inspiration for its scope and ambition. His insistence that permaculture does not provide off-the-shelf solutions is vital. Mulches, herb spirals, and swales have their place, but can’t become permaculture clichés.
Which permaculture principle do you have to remind yourself of the most?
Creatively Use and Respond to Change. There’s a natural desire to design our lives to be resilient in the face of change, which too easily becomes ‘business-as-usual’ with an inbuilt resistance to change.
Which permaculture principle is always popping up in unlikely places?
“Everything Cycles”* is one of nature’s fundamental lessons and so much follows from it. Much of what we experience or conceive to be linear turns out in some way to be cyclic. As a principle it should pop up everywhere, especially in unlikely places. Anything that requires an ‘end-of-pipe’ solution probably hasn’t got the cycling right.
[* I pick-and-mix from the variants of permaculture’s principles!]
Best example of permaculture in action?
The Transition Town movement is not often explicitly permaculture and my hopes for it have been only partially fulfilled. But… if you think that permaculture needs to scale-up, then it’s probably had more impact and reached a wider population than anything else to date. It feels to me like an evolution of permaculture that might still adapt further.
Anything else we should know about you?
I think Xtinction Rebellion has got it right, but haven’t been arrested (yet).