About 10 years ago, I became very interested in green living. I saw it as a way to be a part of the solution to both the Earth’s environmental issues, and also to humanity’s problems with health and poverty. I quickly discovered that most of the movement was based around negativity though. Nothing but bad news seemed to be the norm, besides token actions like recycling or buying different light bulbs were suggested.
I knew that something more positive and direct was needed. Both the ideas of liberating ourselves from the high costs of modern living and creating a more beautiful world began to coincide with the idea of literally growing paradise.
Once this idea occurred, it became an obsession. It was very apparent that the answer was simply paradise-creation. No matter what was happening in your life, if you weren’t bringing about a more paradise-like lifestyle, what was the point?
This idea affected food, health, mental well-being, environmental issues and, surely, economic issues. The core idea of making our backyards into a slice of heaven through edible landscaping encompassed so much. I began to study the concepts of permaculture and food forests, then designed my own for many, many months before physically starting my own. I started the actual planting of my food forest in 2008, and I can say it was the wisest thing I have ever done.
Growing paradise is all about mimicking nature. When we walk into a forest, we can ask ourselves, “Who is fertilizing? Who is spraying? Weeding?” Nature has figured it all out after many eons, and it make perfect sense to use those methods.
In nature, we see a thick layer of mulch on the ground. This eliminates weeds, conserves water, feeds the soil life, which feeds the plants and prevents erosion. Just by mulching, all of those headaches which costs so much human time and money can be eliminated.
We also see many different plants, and most of those live for many years. This is a perennial polyculture. A perennial polyculture is the exact opposite of what we see in all of the fields around our homes. Those are annual monocultures, and they are the farthest thing from what nature has created. Because of that, we must fight nature and invest endless energy and time to prevent that field from becoming a forest again.
It just looked as if everything was backwards. People were struggling every year to plant these crops like corn, soy, canola, and many more. Only to plow the land again and replant all the seeds the following spring. When I see those fields, I see a former forest. I see a desert.
Instead, we plant perennials. They live a long time so we don’t have to replant anything. They just give and give every year. Berries, fruit trees, vines like kiwis and grapes…all these wonderful foods that simply require some minor pruning and harvesting. By going with the energy of nature instead of fighting her, everything becomes shockingly simple.
The best way to start is to close your eyes and imagine a paradise garden lush with berry bushes and fruit trees. Minimize straight lines.. winding paths and curves have the good flow that make a stroll through the garden very magical. Draw out some ideas on paper, putting your favorite trees and other foods in there. They can all be mixed depending on light and water needs, and when we mix them we create wonderful ecosystems rich with life that balances itself.
When you do this, you are literally creating paradise. I think it is the most noble and urgent goal of humanity right now. Many people love to philosophize about life and love, but if we aren’t making our personal living spaces more paradise-like, I see very little use in simple chatter.
It is such a simple idea that it seems to easy. Paradise creation. We can be assets to the Earth, and far better when we are not fighting negative things. We are creating a better world where negative things cannot flourish. Instead of “fighting deforestation”, think “paradise creation” instead. How many trees could be planted by protesters and people upset at the current state of affairs?
Within 5 years my garden, which was a barren rectangle, is now a lush northern food forest. Covered in raspberries, grapes, vegetables, and trees loaded with fruits and nuts. There is so much life in my garden. When I stand inside it, and realize that I actually created this along with nature, it brings tears to my eyes.
I think that humanity has forgotten how powerful we truly are, and how much positive creation can affect the world. We can outshine all the negativity happening. The main idea is that we can stop being angry at bad guys and get on with creating a happier planet for everyone.
Now that the world has survived 2012, we have no excuses. There is no better place for children to live than in a paradise garden, and we can nearly eliminate our food and medicine bills within a few years.
Check out “food forests” and “permaculture” online. Then let your heart guide you. You are the artist, and with this you can create a living masterpiece that continues to create itself many years after you have finished. A living masterpiece and a living grocery store. Not bad!
Happy new era!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anthony Anderson, Founder of Grow Paradise, is a certified Permaculture Designer (by Whole Systems Design) and will help to create the lush and abundant paradise that you envision. He also specializes in giving talks about green living and gardening. For more information about Grow Paradise, or to get in touch with Anthony and learn more about his services, please visit www.GrowParadise.com.