Sunday, March 19, 2006

Beyond the vegie patch

I've been interested in gardening, permaculture and self-sufficiency for a while now, especially in relation to how these practices can allow us to live simpler, more ecologically sustainable lives. While moving to a smaller unit with a tiny courtyard has put our medium-scale vegetable gardening on hold, I still wonder what it would be like to return to it, or do more.

Along a similar vein, this morning my partner and I were again speculating whether we could seriously make the tree-change to regional Victoria in our youthful years, rather than retirement years.

This was inspired by friends we had breakfast with, who are thinking of building a strawbale house in regional Victoria. It is interesting to learn that many other people consider these ideas.

Linda Cockburn and her family took it very seriously. They lived self-sufficiently for a year on one income and a home garden of food, generated their own power, and slashed what they bought from the shops to a bare minimum.

Cockburn's story and resulting book is very well covered and reviewed by
Loobylu, and it is well worth checking out the post and the many comments it got. (By the way, Loobylu has a beautifully designed and well-written blog, and she recently won the 2006 Bloggie for best Australian or New Zealand blog! Good on her!)

Meanwhile perhaps I'll go back to experimenting with creative gardening in pots and for a small courtyard, and try not to think of how it pales in comparison.



At April 23, 2006 11:41 pm, Blogger mikro2nd said...

Hi Mark,

All I can say is "Go for it!" The sooner you start living self-sufficiently the better. I made the "leap off the cliff" about 10 years ago (evolving the story at and have never had cause to regret the move. For me it was very difficult - corporate career, bonus cheque, medical aid and a pension plan - all "forsaken". What we gained in exchange was the world.

I can't say enough to encourage you. Besides which, time is short: we may only have a few years left until the energy collapse is upon us...

At April 25, 2006 3:38 pm, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

Hi mikro2nd, thanks for the encouraging words. Unfortunately, my family aren't in the situation to take that jump now – we don't have the funds to purchase land or make any kind of significant move that will need capital...

But I appreciate your support and your story (nice website, I had a quick squiz) is like many others that are inspirational to those of us who dream or aspire...

Meanwhile, I quite keen to explore how we can live more sustainably, if not self-sufficiently, in our urban environment. Keep in touch, and look forward to hearing more about permaculture in South Africa, on your thoughts on the impending energy crisis...


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