"Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off.
Build your wings on the way down."
Build your wings on the way down."
Almost six months later I am finally writing about some of my recent adventures... In September I was blessed to receive a scholarship through the Black Permaculture Network to embark on an adventure to England to attend the International Permaculture Convergence 2015. It was a truly awesome experience to have a break from my routine, embark on my first solo mission across the world, and visit a place I had never been.
The convergence took place in Gilwell Park, Essex outside of London. The location backed up to the ancient Epping forest. I cannot describe how beautiful, lush and green this place is. I had never seen anything like it, a truly WILD food forest.
Almost every other tree was laden with fruit; blackberries, many varieties of crab apples, sloes, and brilliant red hawthorn berries. We were fortunate to have a proper tour through the forest by a local naturalist.
|abundance of sloes everywhere, a type of fruit used primarily for jam and whisky making|
Outside our dorm we had a cool little pop up café serving drinks with ingredients and spices from around the world. My first night I ordered a hot drink with hazelnut butter, umboshi plum and miso all whisked up and frothy, like a savory latte. Really unique and sooo good.
Some highlights of the permaculture convergence, and topics I gained knowledge about...
-Lots of perennial food forest ideas
-More about Holistic Management and planned grazing
-Amazing permaculture project in Palestine (Marda Farms in the west bank)
-SUPER cool biochar demo with Ed Revill- soil carbon regeneration (I had no idea biochar has so many uses!
-Dry land small farming ideas
-Small farm market gardening with the Bookman's, The Food Forest Farm in Australia
Unfortunately my experience was not all enjoyable. I was pretty shocked, disappointed and pained to see that at an INTERNATIONAL permaculture convergence with over 600 people attending, there were very few people of color attending or speaking. Mind you, permaculture is supposed to be about diversity since Diversity = Resilience! I definitely had some old traumas come up and got very triggered around the lack of diversity piece. (Ok yes I was in England but still...) The positive element that came out of it for me was that I was able to use my voice and speak up about my feelings and articulate the need for diversity and why.
Lessons I learned through my observations and interactions at the convergence...
-Beware of ego! (Yes, some permies have huge egos!)
-Humble yourself there is something to learn in every situation
-Change has to start from within, set your right intentions
-Be clear and focused, work hard and don't give up-Don't slack!
-Step up and move out of your comfort zone- Be yourself- Who You Truly Are
-There is NO place in life for fear
-Understand the microcosm (the self) in order to know the macrocosm (the universe)
-As we heal ourselves the earth will heal.
The second week of my visit I traveled to see friends in Cornwall (southwest, aka the English Riviera). We visited traditional gardens, the sea side and did very British things like drink elderflower bubbly. We also spent a couple of days walking around London, site seeing and shopping (at a great Buddhist thrift store called Lama's Pyjamas, LOL!).
All in all I had an enlightening trip. Travel is always eye opening and so good at being a catalyst for expansion and growth. Stay tuned for the next epic adventure. In gratitude and until next time, Many Blessings...