Graham Bell is an internationally known and respected teacher of Permaculture and several underlying disciplines including Forest Gardening and Food Preservation. He has dedicated his working life to helping others achieve the skills to live sustainably.
His own home garden is a mere 800 sq metres (0.08 hectares) which produces 1.25 tonnes of food a year peak yield (pro rata 16 tonnes a hectare) 500 trees and 5000 plants for sale, half the household’s energy needs, a soft living room and an amazing teaching space which welcomes (and feeds) a thousand visitors every year from all over the planet (literally) – when not in lockdown.
These visitors include an amazing array of wildlife including thirty-eight resident species of bird, another twenty-two who come on a daily basis, just for lunch, and twenty who come on their holidays. Graham says “_You just have to create the right habitat and then the right things happen_”, a philosophy which applies to his teaching as much as his garden.
“I’m sure there are many people out there who are much cleverer than me. What I offer is a certain gateway to an amazing future. Easy to digest, clear and in simple language that everyone can understand. I can’t empower anyone. People can only empower themselves. But what I can do is offer you the space, the knowledge and the insights where this will all become apparent for you. You will leave our meeting with all the direction you need to take your life forward for personal gain and the good of all the planet_.”
In the interview, Graham Bell discusses the power of observation for social designs as much as physical permaculture designs. Kindness is at the heart of Social Permaculture. Designs must ensure that the facilities suit all people, able and less able, and young through to the elderly. “_We need social structures for all the haves and haves-nots_”. He warns against the use of labels including labels such as ‘Eco-villages’. Labels enable racism and separateness and this creates barriers, inequality and missed opportunities. He dreams of a world when all villages become eco-villages.
Graham addresses the power of politics at different levels. He also discusses true sociocracy that occurs when people agree not to argue anymore about an issue rather than strive for consensus.
The interview is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVK828dhEWY&ab_channel=PermacultureVisions
[All rights of the interview go to “Permaculture Visions”, a channel about the critical thinking aspects of Permaculture;
The image on the cover https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Permacultural_systemic_vision.svg was created by Arthur Nanni, distributed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license]