When Susan came across permaculture sometime in the late 1990s, she discovered a way of viewing the world that pulled together a lifetime of diverse and random experiences into one neat bundle. She’d brought up four children, home-educated three of them, built a home in France, gained a MSc in Sustainable Education, always worked with the service sector, come to love gardening later in life, become a Quaker and had always chosen to live simply.
Susan moved to Brighton in 2010 and, having completed a Permaculture design course here, began working towards a Diploma in January 2012. She is a trustee for Brighton Permaculture Trust and finds it challenging but very rewarding. Being a trustee offers a unique overview of the work of the whole trust, and an opportunity, as an older person, to support the amazing people who volunteer so much of their time and effort for Brighton Permaculture Trust.
Name your permaculture hero? Why them?
Rosemary Morrow. When she began working she was a woman in what was still largely a man’s world. I salute her for that. I appreciate and am grateful for her passion for teaching people about permaculture. She has helped so many throughout the world, travelling to wherever she’s needed.
Which permaculture principle do you have to remind yourself of the most?
Produce no waste. I use it a lot when designing but it’s one that I’m still working on in my own life.
Which permaculture principle is always popping up in unlikely places?
Over the last few weeks ‘Value the edges’ has been appearing in all its many guises. It’s been coming up in the gardens I work on, and in personal relationships, and just today as the edge between the logical and creative, and the mystical and material. These are all extremely fertile and wild edges, and they really excite me.
Best example of permaculture in action?
My best example is my kitchen design. It’s my best because it totally and absolutely proved to me the value of doing a permaculture design. I spent about 18 months observing and analysing such things as how I use my kitchen, what I needed in it, and what materials and work I could afford on a limited budget. It’s also a tiny kitchen without a window so I wanted to create an illusion of more space and have more light. I’ve never had the opportunity to create a whole new space before and it looks lovely and works so well I’m delighted … and completely convinced about the value of permaculture designing.
Anything else we should know about you?
I’ve been the main gardener for the Quaker Meeting House garden in Ship Street for the last 9 years. Once I’d completed my PDC and begun doing lots of designs, I began adapting the garden slowly and steadily to incorporate permaculture ethics and principles. So, a few years ago I did a design for evaluating whether it could now be called a ‘permaculture garden’. My result was that it can, so do pop in and have a look sometime.