My field is permaculture design, the design of sustainable human living environments.
One of the tenets of permaculture design is, is “Turn problems into assets” or “Find the solution in the problem.” Another permaculture design tenet is “Work smart, not hard!”
I applied these ideas this morning to offer a solution to someone experiencing a problem with people trespassing into her garden.
In the Central Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening group on Facebook, someone asked for suggestions on plants she might use to keep people from trespassing into her garden.
Because her property is at water’s edge, it is not completely fenced off. Anglers like to creep through the opening to get into her garden area for a better spot to fish. She tried putting up “no trespassing” signs, but the anglers are stealing the signs, and furthermore leaving hooks, lures, and other trash behind.
She originally thought of using barbed wire to block the area off, but then thought to ask the garden group for suggestions on thorny plants such as blackberries that might do well in a shady area at water’s edge.
In response, I wrote this comment:
This will probably sound outrageous to many folks, but this is what I would do.
I would start going to the water’s edge and striking up conversations w the fishers. Make friends. Ask how the fishing is going; what’s tasty.
Create an obvious prominent path for them to walk on, so they don’t step on my veggies or whatever I’ve got growing near where they are walking.
Tell them I need fish guts for my garden, give them a spot where they can clean their fish, and a bucket to put the fish guts in.
When I have extra fruit or veggies from my garden, I would offer them to the visitors.
Tell the fisher-visitors I have been having trouble with some other fisher-visitors leaving lines, hooks, trash, etc.; ask for their help keeping a lookout.
And I would ask my city or county, or neighborhood association, to install one of those monofilament collection containers on the riverbank in a nearby central area.
I braced myself for the response, figuring my comment would elicit hoots of ridicule and get me called all sorts of names like “stupid hippie.” Instead, several people have Liked the comment. And one person even said it made her feel like there is hope for the human race.
There is, indeed, much hope for the human race, if we decide to work with nature (including human nature). Permaculture training and practice helps me do this.
The positive response to my comment (a comment that would be viewed in many mainstream circles as hippie-dippie, unrealistic, even outright communist) gave me increased hope for the human race too!