New Year’s Reflections and Resolutions

I have a type-A personality, I am always busy working on and planning multiple projects and make endless to-do lists and elaborate plans. I try to channel this energy into the creation of a just and regenerative world. One of the aspects of my personality is that I have a predisposition to love New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs). I often make them quite detailed, elaborate, and over-the-top. Yes, most of my resolutions, not to mention to-do lists and plans, are unachievable. Take a look at this list I made a year ago about the books I would read in 2018. Given this was the year when I started hands-on fieldwork for my PhD in garden and apiaries, this was wildly unrealistic! I am trying to be more realistic (a New Year’s Resolution?) but I do think there is value in reflecting on and reorienting our lives, something NYRs can help us do.

For this Podcast, here are a few resolutions or goals for 2019

  1. I will do shows, every other week, that tackle both activism and permaculture philosophy as well as hands-on aspects of permaculture practice.
  2. I commit to doing multiple episodes on permaculture and feminism, racism, veganism, and workers rights. I will also tackle the struggles to decolonize and queer permaculture, again over multiple episodes. I will aim to have a variety of interesting and radical guests.
  3. I plan to grow the podcast by doing all the social media and in-person stuff one does to get a podcast noticed, without selling out to or buying into the lies of neo-liberal capitalism
  4. I hope to do a Permaculture for the People-Inspired reading group in London (ON), and perhaps Toronto, where we discuss permaculture as a movement to radically change our lives AND the world. And, most importantly, in which we support one another in our permaculture activism and practices.
  5. I commit to become more tech-savvy and making the show increasingly professional

Another NYR or at least 2019 plan of mine, not directly related to the podcast, is that my partner and I are planing to move out of the surburbs. Yes, I just read (and reviewed) David Holmgren’s book RetroSuburbia and I think he makes some great arguments for creating permaculture lives in the ‘burbs. But I live in a small city where almost every modest single-family home has a decent-sized yard, as he describes (the single-family homes with small or no backyards tend to be the McMansions in this city). The problem with my neighbourhood is that it is very homogenous in terms of income and ethnicity and very tied to car culture (driving to work, to stores, kids to game practices, etc). I have found it hard to build a vibrant community here even though I have tried. And the back and front yards are very shaded with old, majestic trees (including one of the last Ash trees in London – deemed healthy by an arborist).

So, we are planning to move to a centrally-located home that can be easily retrofitted in a mixed-income neighbourhood with great public transit services and quick access to bike trails and, of course, with a sunny backyard that can be turned into a productive garden farm. I hope to find a place that can be used as a community gathering and learning space for permaculture, art and activism. Oh, and it needs to fit my blended family of 6! It’s going to be a challenge but I think we need to start building (or participating in) radically connected neighbourhoods now.

I will definitely share this journey on the podcast and blog. I encourage you to make a few NYRs that can help you in creating a permaculture life and in participating in permaculture activism, even if they seem unrealistic. And don’t be shy to share them with others. I think saying our dreams and plans out loud give them a certain amount of power or at least allow them to take shape.

One thing you can plan to do right away in 2019 if you are in Southern Ontario is attend the Guelph Organic Conference. It is an organic industry trade show, with a focus on farmers, that includes workshops, presentations info booths and more. I will be speaking about Urban Permaculture on Sunday morning, bright and early. The whole stream I am in Permaculture & Urban Habitats, contains some freaking amazing women speakers!! If you do come to my talk, please say hi!




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