I am writing from Italy, and my name is Ignazio although everybody calls me Iggy. My friend Marilena and I would like to tell you about how the encountering with Permaculture has changed our lives. For instance, watching the following short clip today, we can surely claim that Bill Mollison´s words are true and fitting. For once you attend a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course and get to know what permaculture is, you start giving things a brand new meaning and, in a certain sense, there is no turning back!
We hope you enjoy reading our story about how it all began…
“Back in 2013 I plucked up my courage and said goodbye to my old jobs (restaurant manager in London while exporting wine from Italy all over the World), so that I could finally use my know-how to organize a PDC course at my farm. Thanks to the use of funds provided by the EU and by the regional government of Apulia, it was also possible for all students to attend it at no cost.
The course turned out to be very successful since it concerned the main principles of Permaculture and the positive way we can use money in the system we are living. On that occasion, I had the chance to summon very skilled teachers, like Rhamis Kent, Doug Crouch, Savina Parodi and Stefano Mattei, and I am still working with them. Today I serve as a proper convener, and I am running PDC’s in Southern Italy together with Rhamis. I am also very proud of having founded an association called Laboratorio di Permacultura Mediterranea, involving Marilena in a number of projects.
I´d love to tell you more about myself also about the awesome experience that I had in 2014 when I spent nine months in that part of Australia where Permaculture is represented at its best… However this is a long story, so maybe I´d rather keep it for the next time because now it´s Marilena´s turn.”
“Ok then. A few months ago my life seemed to have become almost fossilized. I needed a new beginning; however I had no idea what direction I should go.
For several years I had been working for a big multinational company, but at a certain point I had become so tired of my routine: I was spending 10 hours a day confined within an aseptic office and it was all about profit pursuit, pressure, human resources being handled as objects. So one day I had made up my mind and finally decided to quit my job.
At first it felt like liberation, but gradually I got overwhelmed by worry and disorientation – what was I going to do with my life now?
While I was still busy puzzling over an answer, that´s when I first run into Ignazio. One afternoon we were having a nice chat over a cup of tea when the topic “permaculture” suddenly came out. Honestly at that time I was really lay, and all I could remember was me once looking up the meaning of this word through a search engine.
Anyway, I couldn´t help being fascinated by Ignazio´s speech: not only was the topic extremely interesting, but he also had a special sparkle in his eye showing a true passion for permaculture. At that very moment I knew I had just been infected with that same enthusiasm.
In that period Ignazio was organizing a Permaculture Design Certificate course in Altamura featuring Rhamis Kent, so he promptly invited me to join his class and all I could say was yes! I couldn´t know it back then, but I had finally found the turning point I was looking for.
Well, I hadn´t had any previous experience either with farming or permaculture up to that moment, but this didn´t really make any difference in the end, since I was lucky enough to have one of the best teachers ever: Rhamis Kent.
Besides being a registered Permaculture Design instructor with PRI Australia and also the co-director of the Australia and USA branch of the Permaculture Research Institute, Rhamis is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. He is a very erudite man and a talented teacher, always helpful, open and such an immense source of inspiration.
During the PDC course, thanks to Rhamis and Ignazio, I have come to learn that Permaculture is so much more than a simple bunch of best practices for sustainable agriculture. Approaching Permaculture also helps you gain a new perspective on life, of nature and on priority setting. Permaculture gives you valuable food for thought since it proves that leaving a good footprint on the Planet is not only feasible, but also the only (and better) way to go.
Furthermore, the attendance of students, coming from all over the world, of different ages and different cultural backgrounds made the PDC a very special occasion for constructive debate and cooperation.
Once you become aware of the power of your decisions and actions, it is indeed extremely encouraging to know that you are not alone in this, but that there are other people just like you, willing to walk the same path and most of all willing to share the newly achieved knowledge about permaculture with the largest possible number of people.
During the course, for instance, we have also filmed some enjoyable video clips about Permaculture and posted them on YouTube in order to disseminate information:
When the PDC in Altamura came to an end, Ignazio asked me if I wanted to work for the Laboratorio di Permacultura Mediterranea and help him organize another PDC course. Right then I couldn´t be any happier!”
As you can easily understand from our stories, attending a PDC course has changed our lives because it was not only a “new starting point” but also the right instrument for the ultimate goal we want to achieve.
To us, Permaculture is the valid answer to many critical questions. It helps us understand Earth´s language, which unfortunately humans are often not willing or capable to hear.
Earth care, People care, and Return of Surplus – this is the path to recovery that we should all go, in order to avoid the collapse of our systems.
This is not a mere utopia, but a real change that real people can make everyday, step by step, joining forces and cooperating. So, let´s not live the dream, but the reality!
Regards Ignazio Schettini