Robina McCurdy on Permaculture and Food Security

Interviewed by Tim LynchApril 10, 2013
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One of the best known permaculture teachers in NZ, Robina has taken her innovative approach to South Africa and into their schools the 'Permaculture curriculum' and assisted large numbers of people to become more self reliant and sustainable in growing of gardens and food production. Especially in squatter settlements, which have been funded by the NZ High Commission, where she trained up teams so as to make herself redundant, which is totally in opposition to todays economic ways which wants you to become 'dependent on the system.

Starting young on an organic market garden in Christchurch, in an extended family in Harewood planting and harvesting was a joyful thing with aunties and uncles and cousins and the experiencing and knowing of community and connection with the land, and in particular the feeling that this was perfectly normal and not a rare event, and this 'connection' never left her.

Robina, has for the last 30 years lived in the Tui Community, a land co-op and charitable trust next to the Able Tasman National Park in Golden Bay, growing their own food and that, by extension the land has become embodied within her, and at very deep levels. To co-exist with wild life as well, all within an overarching cosmology that is embedded in Permaculture. Being a true marriage of the environment and the needs of the people.

Working in co operation with nature then once nestled in, can start with growing food, then shelter and housing, community etc a food forest.

She is now touring NZ with Earth Care Education Aotearoa where she is finding many gardens and groups across the land doing superbly and quietly working with the earth which she enthusiastically calls our taonga.

Working with Susie Lees and Politics of food security - they are assisting with understanding rights and responsibilities and No to GE’ and what laws and legislation we need, to keep the community and grass roots organizations growing etc. Plus, being aware of the TPPA the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and what impact it would have on this country as a top down agenda

She uses the metaphor that NZ farming has at present diverged into two differing streams running down different sides of the mountain. One is organic, dynamic, free flow, non chemically driven, smaller families, nature friendly, soft on the earth and giving back to the environment, whilst the other is top down management, big business, exploitative, industrial, chemically driven, profit at all costs, energy and resources intensive that pollutes degrades and denatures the country. Exporting our soils, our water our natural resources our taonga

This signals the dichotomy of what we as a nation are doing with big money as the driver of the latter, and though bringing in huge monetary volume, is very short term thinking with no long term sustainable outlook.

Topics also covered:

  • Insect bank, a deep ecology method of having insects preying on insect pests.
  • Organic milk dispensing at farm gates.

The great turning that Joanna Macy calls where ethical consumption, the slow food movement, calculation of food miles, our ecological planetary footprint and the other based on both fear and disconnect from Papatuanuku, our physical sustainer (no blame or no judgement) where everything is seen as up for grabs to pillage and take, and giving nothing really back being just a gigantic resource snatch.

Also covering the spiritual dimension in how we live and be and do in the moment trusting in living in the now, that what we manifest for the betterment of the whole takes us forward into the new paradigm in hand with how our ancestors and how our tipuna would like to see, being a natural and more cohesive world that comes into being.

This inspirational interview covers a wide realm of what is happening across the land of NZ at a grass roots level, and will leave you in a very optimistic frame of mind to get out and work the soil and grow both yourself and your community, your own healthy sustenance.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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