by Fr. John A. Peck
Reprinted from a series of articles from 2015.
Many of you know that this year I was awarded the PDC by the Permaculture Research Institute at Zaytuna Farm in New South Wales, Australia under Geoff Lawton. (click on his name to see the free videos on his site). I cannot recommend his courses highly enough. That whole journey I won’t bore you with, but it began when I saw the short 5 minute video, Greening the Desert. I’ve decided to focus my energy and attention on utilization of what I’m calling Small Parish Permaculture here in North America.
According to statistics, The median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship on Sunday mornings. That is an abundance of small parishes doing the work of Christ, preaching the Gospel, and, I might add, a giant net for the parish mission field as well. Let me ask you the following questions;
- Is your parish in need of a long term, sustained program to aid and reach the surrounding neighborhood and community?
- Would you like to multiply your efforts in helping others?
- Would you like your neighbors to walk to your Church, rather than walk around it?
- Are you ready to reconnect with each other, the land, and the area you’re in?
- Would you like to just provide better for your priest and his family with very little cost, and fantastic long term benefits and support?
- Have you ever noticed that young people, young men especially, find trouble when there is no hard work for them to do, nothing meaningful for them to build or participate in?
- Have you ever noticed that monasteries have gardens, fields, pastures, and orchards? (Perhaps working in earth is good for the spirit?)
Did you answer affirmatively to any of those questions?
Then this series is written specifically for you.
Life in 2015
Things can look pretty bleak at times. I won’t recount the list of plagues that we encounter today. But as St. Paul said,
“where sin abounds, grace superabounds.” Romans 5:20
I’m writing this to give you, and your children, and your grandchildren a way to make a difference in your personal life, and in your parish. It’s easy to do, it’s fun, and it’s fruitful. It’s good for you to do. I mean, it is good spiritually. I firmly believe that we are not far from the day when if you aren’t growing much food, you won’t be eating much food. So let’s grow some food. Let’s do it in an easy way, that is easy to start, easy to learn, and easy to pass on. It is simple, and it’s cheap, too.
It’s called Permaculture, and it makes any consideration of food shortages or overpopulation obsolete. It will teach your children what they are not learning in school – how to care for the soil (and themselves) and reproduce their own food from the earth, improving the soil with every season. The UN recently declared that small scale organic farming is the only way to feed the world. They are finally catching on. Overpopulation isn’t an issue, when we do things the way the Lord intended for things to work. And we will do it all by design.
Why do anything about Small Parish Permaculture?
The Lord said, those who preach the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel. – 1 Corinthians 9:14
In every place, in every parish, the local clergyman should not have to work a secular job to feed his family. There are many (too many) clergy who work a secular job (something specifically forbidden by the canons) because they must to make ends meet, and provide for their families. The parish must adopt the priest to themselves, and provide for their new spiritual father, but to teach and expect a transfiguration of habits, even after many years, often, it is at, best, an intellectual exercise, or at worst an exercise in futility.
It’s shameful, but it is a cold age we live in and a crushing reality for many. Myself included.
Taking charge of our situations has a great benefit for everyone. Small Parish Permaculture will benefit not only the parish, but help support the clergy and their families better and more lovingly.
Fathers, the benefit for you personally is that you will be getting your living by the Gospel, and cultivating what will provide you with plenty, and all with the parish’s help. It literally benefits everyone, and provides a given opportunity to fulfill the commandment of Christ.
It’s not community gardening. It’s not monoculture Organic farming, that is, regular large scale farming without chemical pesticides. I want you to start small, but I want you to do it in your parish. This series of articles will give you inspiration and information to help you make informed decisions about this exceptionally important matter. The days are coming, and coming fast, when if you aren’t growing food, you may not be eating food.
So, just what is it? What is Small Parish Permaculture?