Four months ago I signed up for another course at Ceres. After completing the Permaculture Design Certificate last year I felt I needed to get my hands dirty with some practical skills. While the PDC teaches about garden design and provides an enormous amount of valuable theory, there’s not much opportunity to try these skills out in the real world. When I found out about the urban farming course at Ceres I knew it was exactly what I needed. The lovely Danni signed up with me and we donned our shiny new gardening gloves and rocked up for four months of Sundays.
It was wonderful. As the days grow colder I tend to find myself indoors, huddling under a blanket. I am definitely not a winter person. But for the last few months I’ve spent my Sundays outdoors. I’ve dug my hands into the soil, pruned fruit trees, handled bees (eek), learned the intricacies of composting, grown veggies and learned enormous amounts about so many useful and practical things. I feel alive and capable and full of enthusiasm.
How awful that so many of us have made it to adulthood with barely any practical life skills. Many of our grandparents, and certainly our great grandparents learned as a matter of growing up how to grow, produce, preserve and prepare a bounty from the land. Children these days can reach adulthood without ever seeing where their food comes from, let alone having a hand in producing it. It felt liberating and empowering to absorb this knowledge.
I know I’ve already forgotten at least half of what the course entailed – but enough has stayed with me to get started. The great thing is I now know it’s not rocket science and I feel confident to give some new things a try. Probably not bee-keeping though. Turns out I’m not so brave in the face of those little stingers.. But I can absolutely get started with composting, fruit trees, veggie growing, worm farming, mushroom logs and preserving. Chooks may also be in my future. I know it’s a journey and I won’t be successful at every thing first time, but as I tell my daughter ‘you don’t get good at things until you try them a few times’.
Our dream is one day to have enough land to grow a lot of our own veggies, a little orchard, some chooks, a greenhouse and a big store room full of preserved tomatoes, jams, pickles and seeds ready for planting. Now I feel a lot closer to that dream and it’s time to put some of these skills into practice.