Nearly there, people, stay with me. This is the last post…
Project eight: Wild food (foraging)
This is a project that has been on the cusp of being clear in my mind for about a year, but has never quite made it. What’s been going well is that I have been doing a reasonable job at educating myself in botany and mycology and have been taking opportunities to learn where I can. What’s challenging is that I am still not clear on the ‘project’. I have several very good ideas for this project but haven’t yet committed to any of them. If I am honest what’s holding me back with this one is that I want to include other people in this project but I have been badly burnt by working with community groups in the past (don’t ask…) and the thought of actually working with other people and having to make decisions with them gives me the mad fear. However, I have pledged to myself not to make decisions based on fear, so this is no excuse.
What I want to use this project to do (my vision) is to teach me and others about about forageables – and botany and mycology in general. Whilst I want the main yield of this project to be knowledge, I also want it to be fun, and I want it to not be a whole load of hard work that I am in charge of.
Next step: I’ve actually done quite a lot of work on this project that I haven’t written up, so I need to sit down with that and firm up what my objectives for this project are and then analyse whether the ideas that I have come up with hit all of those objectives.
Project nine: Wild wood (coppicing)
This project is still in the surveying stage and the surveying is going pretty well. Last winter I spent a week and a half in the woods with Blackbark, my friends’ coppicing business. I learnt a lot from it and one thing I am glad to have learnt is that I don’t really want to make coppicing into a business. To do this I would have to invest in a lot of expensive equipment that I am not too happy about using (chainsaws, pick-ups). I have decided that the coppicing project will be a way of providing for my own household needs (firewood and building materials) and I can therefore stick to handtools which would be completely impractical in a business context. As this project is chugging away so slowly (there is not much I can do during the summer) there isn’t really anything that I have found too challenging yet.
Next step: My next step is to start volunteering reasonably regularly for Tottington Woodlanders in order to skill up. I’ve already volunteered for another Blackbark workweek next year. I’m happy with that for now.
Project ten: Teaching Permaculture
I have been progressing slowly but surely through the Brighton Permaculture Trust teacher training scheme. I observed the course twice, then taught a section of it which went very well. I developed some materials for that mini-teach which I’ll be able to use again and develop. My teacher training and years of experience as a teacher kicked in again for this project and I was glad to feel that that part of my life was useful to this part.
What’s challenging is that I am letting this project drift along. Because it’s very structured, I am letting that structure dictate the speed at which I progress and I think, actually, I could be a little more proactive about this. I need to give this project a bit of a kick up the ass.
Next step: Find out what the ‘next step’ in the teacher training scheme is.
Some overall conclusions and priorities for next year
One thing that I am noticing with all of my projects is that whilst I have tried to design a livelihood/lifestyle that means I am outside as much as I am inside, that’s just not happening at the moment. I feel like I have had a very ‘inside’ year. A large part of this is not having a garden. Also, after having done all the inside admin and marketing for scythe courses, I then didn’t really get to do much of the teaching outside. Arranging things so that I am outside more is an issue that needs to be fixed for 2013.