I’m very interested in the idea of permaculture as a way of reducing our food miles and waste packaging, but everything I’ve read on it so far is either a) based in the USA or b) assumes that I have a massive amount of garden space. Does anyone in the UK have any experience or advice with permaculture or growing your own food in the average UK garden?
It depends on space available. I’m lucky to have fruit trees and a place for growing and my wife @beckettcatherine and I recon we get about 10% of the food for our family from this source.
Allotments are also used in U.K. where a chunk of land in and around towns cities is provided to people to grow for a very low subscription (eg. £10 a year). These are run by volunteers. Something I understand sos happens overseas.
Let us know about your growing space and I’ll send over some recommendations.
Hi Skipinder. You say your interest is reducing food miles and waste packaging. One approach to achieving this is through a permaculture design, part of that design might include growing your own food.
I hold a permaculture design certificate and have used permaculture to design gardens, including my large allotment, as well as our house, events, holidays…! Permaculture is simply a design approach, with 3 core ethics and sets of principles. It isn’t prescriptive, it doesn’t say there is only one way, it is very much context specific. So, learning permaculture will likely help you create original solutions fit for your needs.
The Permaculture Association Knowledge Base gives an introduction to the ethics and principles, a design process, and lots of resources linked in the practical solutions section, including on food production (from agroforestry to organic gardening).
The Permaculture Association (Britain) has been going for over 35 years and held an annual gathering in September in Oxford, which sold out - over 350 people participating. Yes, lots of people experienced in the UK and there’s probably over 3 million people around the world practicing permaculture! It’s hard to know the exact figure because of the anarchical nature of the movement
There are quite a few books to get started on growing your own - I found Joy Larkcom’s Grow your own Vegetables are really useful companion to getting started with veg growing. I also really enjoy foraging food, nature provides its own packaging! Recently, it’s been hazelnuts, chestnuts and apples, there are also still a few late blackberries about too. Learning to preserve this abundance is helpful, as it makes seasonal bounties last longer into the year; River Cottage’s Foraging handbook is a go to guide.
I hope that gives you some useful insight into permaculture and a couple of useful resources. I’d be interested to hear where you and others have found success already and what sticking points there are.