After completing my time on Linnaea Farm I feel elated, inspired and motivated by all the positive initiatives being carried out by the individuals we encountered. However, I cannot help but feel perplexed by a thought that has stuck in my mind since the beginning of our course. How much of permaculture is privilege? The folks of Linnaea are in an exceptionally lucky position that allows them to do what they do. Max and Heidi are in a similarly fortunate position whereby they live on Henry’s farm in exchange for work and other services. Land is a limited and shrinking resource that is only attainable for a few. I disagreed with Max’s comment that we are facing a population problem rather than an abundance problem. True, enough food is produced to feed the world but I do not feel the human population size is at the heart of our greatest issues. I do agree it is a human problem in that human actions have led us here and therefore we too should share nature’s suffering (ie. ingesting contaminated foods). But I feel that our greatest problem is a systemic one. The structures that govern coupled with globalization have entrapped much of society in on an going cycle of growth by marginalization. As Charlie so poignantly noted, for some Indigenous peoples reproduction is a form of agency – a continuation of cultural values, languages, and traditions. Max said “there are too many people on Earth for any food system,” but I argue there are too many politicians on Earth for any food system.
I guess permaculture does not really translate into privilege in totality but I still can’t help but question just how accessible these practices really are? I suppose at the end of the day it comes down to what we are willing to give up in order to give back to the Earth; what we are doing to enact our individual and collective agency. Despite these quandaries, the greatest lessons I took away from my time on Cortes was that opportunity is everywhere and to just START. Even in the smallest of ways, it is better to do than not to do.