Thursday, 10 May 2018

From Desert to Paradise

I have a to do list -
Plant peas along fence.
Sow broad beans, radishes.
Empty compost bin into my raised beds.
Source plants for St giles church garden roadside - olive trees, grapevine, rosemary, lavenders, citrus, manuka,
Get some more bulbs in - hope it's not too late
Organise tree mulch for community garden/church
Train passionfruit on wires.

I have been reading Sepp Holzers book 'From Desert to Paradise' about his permaculture practises in creating lakes and ponds to catch and store water to create gardens where there was once desert. Feeling so inspired that I pitched this idea to my boss about making Glenfield College lower paddock and rugby field into a lake so the residents of Orchard retirement village can look out on to a beautiful lake, with wildlife and abundant garden instead of just weeds and shorn grass. He didn't think was feasible, and said I had to focus on my task, which was blowing the leaves off the steps. He also said I had to buy my own property and then I could do what I like with it. I am not sure this is true.  I should have reminded him that, I am only on what will soon be BELOW minimum wage and cannot afford to buy any property. Plus, I am not like Bev McConnell who had a wealthy husband who could bankroll her plant mania.

I am not sure where this dislike of the priveliges of wealth comes from. Maybe it was when I found out even when I part owned some land, I wasn't allowed to even do anything with it. It had all been spoken for and the part where I lived, mum seemed to resent that I was gardening it. She would in an instant turn it into a carpark if she had her way. A carpark is just an urban version of a desert. For example, none of the residents of the retirement villages actually own the land they live on, one person who is the CEO owns it all and he doesn't even live there. The residents, many who have sold all they had to go and live there, can't really do what they want with their bit of land. Creating a garden that they like can be like trying to pull hens teeth because of all the bureaucracy involved I was reminded I am not gardening for these people who live there, I am supposed to be gardening for the big CEO who owns all the land. But that's just one person --- who never comes and sees the garden....and makes more money from people dying than from people living, because if someone dies, they can then sell their unit on to the next person and make a profit from it.

I tried to think of a way out of this moral quandary but so far came up with no solution. For example, if I bought some land, in say Katikati, or Mangawhai or anywhere outside of Auckland since its unaffordable to buy here where all my family live,  would I really be able to build my own earth house and have my own garden on it or would I have to battle with bureaucracy like all the orchardists there do because the government dicatates what they can grow by subsidising chemical agriculture. Plus, if I bought some land, would I then be able to live there all by myself because I don't see myself doing it on my own. I learned from couples who went and did that there were pros and cons to living off the land that could not pay for itself, so one would have to commute elsewhere to work to pay the bills but then the one staying at home could not handle looking after it by themselves. Their solution was to have children and train them to become farmers so that the land would not be lost. Otherwise they would sell up and move into a retirement village. But what if your children hated the expectation of having to become a farmer and didn't want that land, especially if, after years of chemical agriculture it had become so degraded that it would take years to restore it.

My thoughts are its very easy for the rich to say, just buy your own land and develop it. Speculate and then flip it and then invest in a property on the Gold Coast, which is a blight on the landscape. I have been there, its just towers of apartments on the beach.  But land is not so easily bought and sold that way these days, it's treated as a commodity, available to the highest bidder,  and for the people who genuinely need it, it is withheld from them.  I try not to think about it and just decide that if land is given to me, I will look after it regardless.  I don't need to go buying and selling and climbing the 'property ladder'. After all it is the meek who inherit the earth. The rich can just go live in their sky towers.