We never get strawberries. As a matter of fact I rarely plant them because they take so much more effort than the average garden plant to maintain. These came from some plants my mother gave me last year and somehow survived my complete neglect. Two beautiful red berries. Just imagine if I had given them proper attention! I will readily admit that this is not my best example of permaculture gardening, but it is a reasonable example of a single permaculture principle: Obtain a Yield.
On Wednesday this week we had a wonderful opportunity. A professor of mine from Tennessee Tech invited Joe, Micah and I to her Environmental Sociology class to speak about the path we have been on toward a sustainable life. It was the first time we had ever spoken to a large group of people on this topic and it was not particularly easy. After all, on any path one has advances AND setbacks. Nobody likes to talk about their setbacks, but it is very important to acknowledge them if we are to learn anything from them. (This concept actually falls within another permaculture principle: Apply Self Regulation/Accept Feedback.)
At the end of the class, one of the students asked the question, "What can WE do to begin our path?" The response was instant. Plant something and obtain a yield. Flowers are wonderful to plant and they do indeed produce a psychological yield in the form of beautifying your surroundings. But the true meaning of obtain a yield is to produce a yield that fuels the body, thereby replacing some of the caloric input that went into producing that yield. It's a feedback system.
So a half strawberry for a tiny amount of work put in a year ago is pretty good. This:
however is a much more premium example. Stir fried sugar snap peas and broccoli (from this spring's planting) with tofu and onions. Boy, was it good!! We could taste every ounce of work and worry in each bite. Maybe Mick Jagger can't get no satisfaction, but I sure can!
Here is a page from David Holmgren's book, "Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability" -