Thursday, 20 October 2016

Use small and slow solutions



This little fellow works for me making compost.


"The bigger they are the harder they fall."
"Slow and steady wins the race"

Ah! Now we come to my favourite principle - Use small and slow solutions. I have always seen myself as the turtle that keeps determinedly picking away at what I want to achieve rather than the speedy hare. So slow and steady wins the race is an old adage that resonates with me.  I can design systems that are small and slow in order to work more efficiently, naturally and regeneratively. Small and slow solutions are easier to implement time and money wise, and easier to maintain.  A small well-tended vegetable garden can produce more food by area than a large industrial farm and produce less waste.

This composting bin is one of the ways I make compost.

I don’t use synthetic fertilisers because though they can produce great looking results in a minimum amount of time; the chemicals pollute the environment, the gardener, and those people eating the food. Instead I am slowly building up my soil using compost, mulches etc. It is a big learning curve and a slow process in bringing it all together but I hope the end result will be perfect soil with all the inputs into its manufacture coming from within the boundaries of my property.


In the left bay is brown matter ready to add to the compost tumbler. In the right
bay is banana leaves that have been put through the mulcher. 

David Holmgren wrote: "Whenever we do anything of a self-reliant nature - growing food, fixing a broken appliance, maintaining our health, we are making very powerful and effective use of this principle. In the future I would like to be able to repair broken items and make and mend my own clothes.




Communities that identify their own problems and articulate and implement their own solutions to community problems are also applying this principle.  David Holmgren again, "Human scale and capacity should be the yardstick for a humane, democratic and sustainable society."   In my mind the small and slow solutions involve using old methods and seeing with these with new eyes and integrating many different small and slow solutions together to create self-supporting homes and communities. 




The Queensland township of Maleny provides a good example of a self-supporting community using small and slow solutions, and in many areas of Tasmania  communities are gaining reputations for innovative solutions to the age-old question of how to earn a living. "Whenever we purchase from small, local businesses or contribute to local community and environmental issues we are also applying this principle." David Holmgren

14 comments:

  1. Sherri, I should have a look around Maleny when I go to the coast soon. I just hate driving on those roads up there. If I knew where I was going it would help :-)

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    1. Chel I understand, I don't like driving up to Maleny or Montville in the rain. I remember once years ago I was coming back down the mountain driving through fog and my older sister who was with me was actually crying because she was so scared.

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  2. Hi Sherri. I've just borrowed David Holmgren's book, "Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability" from my local library and what I've read so far is so interesting!

    I do think it's really important to support local businesses so that they remain viable and offer choice within a community. There's a little organic market shop not far from where I live, it's reasonably new and I like to go in and see what they have. One day, I bumped (literally) into a hobby farmer who had brought some of his excess produce into the store for them to sell. Beautiful, fresh, chemical-free peas. Yum! We talked for a while about his hobby farm and what he grew and how he grew it and I came home with some lovely fresh peas at a great price. Little shops like these offer up these kinds of connections for people which I think is a lovely thing. Meg:)

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    1. Yes, having that choice in the community is really important. I like that our money stays within the community when we support local business. When we buy from non-local business - for instance a big shopping centre - our money leaves the community.

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  3. Love shopping locally and supporting these hard working business people. I live in a townhouse so there isn't any place for planting anything besides some basil, mint and oregano. However, I live in an area surrounded by farms and dairies and have access to wonderful, chemical free produce and cheese, etc for many months of the year.

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    1. How wonderful Susan to have access to all that chemical free produce. Thank you for commenting.

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  4. Great post Sherri! This is one of my favourite principles too. I like to take my time to see what impact a small has before going too far!

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    1. I like your idea of taking time to see what impact a small change has before going too far. I think in our busyness we lose the chance to observe what is going on around us. I am always encouraging my team at work to make sure they observe what is going on around them and use that information in moving forward. Stand back, observe and then take action. Actually this principle applies so much to the leisure and health industry I might just start chanting like a mantra at work. ;-)

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  5. Small and slow is the way to go...
    I prefer to master one thing and do it properly before marching on to the next big thing. Before we knew it, we had so many things on the go until I looked around and saw that some things were being neglected, so I'm winding back now, to catch up. With organics comes all the added tasks like worm farm, composting, weed teas and liquid manures, which all require added energy. Wouldn't have it any other way though. :)

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    1. Yes I have to reign myself in every so often too. Part of me strives for balance and part of me is very gung ho. So many options, so little time....

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  6. agree slow & steady gets things done :))
    great post, wish i had one of those tumblers! mmm, might have to go & see what i could use...
    thanx for sharing

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    1. I like to add my food scraps to the tumblers rather than the on ground compost, to prevent animals/vermin getting at it. Though I have to admit it is much easier turning the compost in the tumbler than on the ground compost pile. Though the easiest is my keyhole garden bed with the compost pile in the middle - no turning needed :-)

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  7. When you're a husband and wife team, working on acreage, I think small and slow solutions are the ONLY way to proceed forwards. There's no other choice. ;)

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