Do you feel overwhelmed with the state of the world? Want to make a difference, but not sure where to start? My guest Estelle Drisdelle shares her journey into permaculture and shares tips on how we can make the world a better place starting from exactly where we are.
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Estelle Drisdelle 0:00
Just start in your backyard. Just start with a few friends. Just start with the smallest project and grow it from there, see what works, see what doesn't and, and know what your values are, know what the ethics and principles are that that will guide you through the most challenging obstacles that you could ever imagine. But when you have that mindset towards your goal and you're holding your values close to your heart, you're going to find a path that will lead you to something great.
Stuart Murray 0:37
Welcome to episode number five of the connected movement podcast. I'm your host, Stu Murray. Are you disillusioned with our old outdated systems and stories? Are you tired of the growing polarization in society? So am I my aim is to engage in and unpack conversations with people from all walks of life as a means of CO creating a way forward for humanity. My guest today is Estelle Drisdelle. Estelle is a herbalist, a farmer and a permaculture designer in southeastern New Brunswick. She is currently living in a 40 acre homestead and forests growing edible perennials and medicinal herbs for local community projects. In farmer's market. She also offers landscape consulting on edible and medicinal plants for your backyard or community project. It was an absolute pleasure talking to Estelle, not only is she profoundly knowledgeable in the world of permaculture and design, but she is an incredible human who speaks from the heart and that can be felt in this conversation. I really hope you enjoy this episode. And before we dive in a thank you to our sponsor, Karen Phytoplankton. Many daily discomforts are the result of malnourishment, you may be malnourished, if you crash in the afternoon, you have digestive issues, you get lots of headaches, have trouble sleeping, that muscle or joint pain, have trouble concentrating and so on. The good news is the right supplementation can help with this. I've personally benefited from using Karen Phytoplankton, which has helped me find more energy in the afternoons and beat that crash. You can find Karen Phytoplankton products at Costco locations or online at the Karen project.ca. Without further ado, let's dive in.
I'm curious what brought you into permaculture in the first place? You had mentioned something about learning about this back in the Mount A days.
Estelle Drisdelle 2:40
Yeah, so I was going to university at Mount A. And it was the first time I had ever heard about the word permaculture. And from there, it just grew into this passion that actually governs how I live my life and how I run my business today. And there was just something about it that really drew me in and I just started studying more and more and learning about more and more people that are interested in this. And there's a community, an online community and an in person community that really believe in these principles and want to see a better future. And that's just kind of the story, the brief story of how I learned something in university. And it just brought me to where I am today.
Stuart Murray 3:34
No, I don't imagine you had a course in that. Because way back that probably wouldn't have been. Even when I was at Mount Allison, that was not a course that was offered. So how did you even discover that
Estelle Drisdelle 3:49
it was someone I knew who was in a course where it was brought up. And it was ethnobotany with Marilyn Walker and did a lot of interesting things while she was at Mount A. And permaculture was brought up in that class. And then that person told me about it. And then from there, the journey continued.
Stuart Murray 4:08
No way. So you just you just heard about it through a through a friend in conversation. Do you remember what that was like? Or was it like the seed was planted? And you started to research or what? How did that start to take root?
Estelle Drisdelle 4:23
Um, I think just talking about it and reading about it more and more and really identifying with those ideas. Also in mount a was the first time I was learning about environmental studies and ecological restoration. So my interests were growing in that area too. And then there was this permaculture thing that just seemed to fit really well with these ideas of ecological restoration but in a way where you and community and your friends and the way that you live was really intertwined into this idea of creating a more resilient, ecologically stable world. And so I think just there was just something that hooked me in there was that interest of both the things I was learning academically and where I wanted to see myself going in the future after I was done my degree. And so, yeah, I think there is a lot of information out there. And even at that time, that was back in early 2000s. There was a lot of information then. So it just kind of grew and grew from there. And then I learned about permaculture design courses. And so that was kind of the next step of learning more about this, and I've done two of them. And the first one I did in East Africa. So it was tropical permaculture. That's where permaculture first kind of grew, it was in Australia. And so it was really neat to actually after reading about it and learning about it to actually learn about it in the tropics, because some of the things that you learn about in permaculture can't be directly applied to our climate here in Atlantic Canada. So it was really interesting to see the principles put into practice in a tropical place. And then after that, learning more, and with my work with community forests International, which also kind of started to grow this interest more and more. I was able to do another PDC in Vermont, which is more similar to our climate, here in Atlantic Canada. So again, that was really interesting to see yet another site that use these practices and principles and ethics, but more in a climate that I'm used to working in. So I'm so I was really happy that there were courses, and that I was able to do the courses and two different types of climates. And where they're similar as well, which was really,
Stuart Murray 7:11
yeah, no, that's totally, totally interesting. I remember being on different farms in different climates and learning so much. It's like, well, we don't can't really grow the, you know, these papayas here. Shift to go on. So when did you do that first course was that free CFI Community Forest International days,
Estelle Drisdelle 7:33
um, it was kind of rates at the same time. So one of the first projects we did with CFI was a food forest garden, which we can talk about more at the Sackville community garden. And that's still thriving and amazing today. And that was actually before I did my first PDC. So all this information that me and my friends had gained, studying and talking about permaculture, we actually put those principles into practice. And we learned a lot of things that work and some things that don't work as well. And then after that, I traveled to East Africa as part of my role at community forest International. And it was there that I did a permaculture design course in Uganda, and then traveled on to Tanzania, where CFI does a lot of the work now.
Stuart Murray 8:26
Wow. Okay, I have so many questions. But where? How did you how did you come into CFI community for US International, like what did that look like? Was this a group of friends,
Estelle Drisdelle 8:41
it was a group of friends. And we decided that we wanted to create work for ourselves that was meaningful, and that could make a difference. And so there was a lot of ambition and all of us to just make this work. So we decided, let's form an organization. One of the cofounders of CFI had already been working in Tanzania and kind of already started the relationships there. We were all tree plant wares. So that really developed our work ethic. Because tree planting is incredibly hard and you have to just keep going even though you're very, very tired. So we're all tree planters that really developed our work ethic. And then one of the cofounders Jessner started a tree planting project over in Tanzania while he was there, and that and then he came back to all of us in Atlantic Canada and we just decided let's make this an organization. Let's restore the land the way that we want to see the land restored not in the way that we are seeing it being treated working for tree planting plants and forestry companies. And again, these ideas of permaculture that we already had in our minds just fit well into that That idea of like, let's restore the land in a way that is actually resilient, not just feeding the capitalist machine, let's do it in a way that will leave the land better than we found it will leave the land better for future generations. So we started CFI. And we started working in Tanzania. And we did the food forest garden in Sackville, and it just grew from there. We ended up during my time there, also purchasing a farm, while Gerbrand farm and Sussex to save it from being clear cut, and had a bunch of farmers on that land and the first year that we bought it. So we were just again, seeing our ideas just come to fruition just by having the dedication and the principles and practices that we could apply to our ambitions.
Stuart Murray 10:55
I mean, that's beautiful. And it must have been challenging, though, to even start because, you know, there's these, it's not necessarily economically incentivized to do what you're talking about. I think it's incredible and so well needed. But that must have been a challenge to get set up and going so that you guys could actually sustain the work that you wanted to do, but also put food on your plates. Yeah, make that happen.
Estelle Drisdelle 11:29
Also, well, we were starting CFI, my partner and I, who is now the Executive Director of Community forest International, we're also building our house. Wow, we're working other jobs, building our house and also starting this organization. But what we really just saw is we were just working so hard for other people, why not work this hard for ourselves. And I think the fact that we were all in it together and supporting each other was just like, it's okay, that we're, you know, having to do these other jobs and kind of not really making a whole lot of money doing this volunteering much of our time. We just were there, we were supporting each other. And we really had this vision of what was possible. And we really believe that it was possible. So it was really hard, there wasn't a lot of money in it, it can still be a struggle, I know, to this day to try to find the funding and try to convince people that what you're doing, even though it looks different, is actually better. It's better for people, it's better for the economy in the long run, because you're looking at long term benefits instead of just short term benefits. And it's good for the ecology. So people economy and ecology actually really all fit together. And I think when you have that ethic, and you believe in those principles in the core of your heart, you're willing to sacrifice other things to see, see your vision come to fruition.
Stuart Murray 13:07
Totally, yeah, I'm a big believer in having that, why that kind of pulls something out of us that allows us to persist through that. And I think you've kind of already danced around it. But what was that, that deepest why that was driving you guys as a collective and as individuals to to bring CFI to life and to do that work that you were doing.
Estelle Drisdelle 13:32
I think that the why was we believe that through good work, we could actually reduce suffering and make the the little piece of the world that we were working on better. And we could convince other people to do the same. Maybe it was a little bit pie in the sky, but we didn't care. We just really believed that this was possible. And I think that's really important to set your mind towards something and to see it through to the end. And to be willing to accept feedback to sometimes you might start heading down the wrong road. Or you might make mistakes on your journey. And it's important to accept that feedback and change direction. And so I think that's really important too. But I think yeah, that core was we can we can make a difference. We're in our early 20s. And we have all these ideas and we've tree planted and done a few odd jobs, but we really believe that we could make a difference especially as a team especially as a group of people doing this together, we were there to support each other. And I think that belief that we could make things better for future generations for now, and for future generations was the core thing that helped us move forward even over all the challenges, all the obstacles that we are encountering.
Stuart Murray 15:19
I think that's so beautiful. I, that message for me is, is such a hopeful piece, I'm actually reading a book right now called How to make a more beautiful world in your own backyard without being angry at the bad guys. And I think, you know, what you're saying speaks to that so deeply, because it's, as we wake up to the environmental degradation, as as we become aware of the unsustainable ways we've been living for millennia, it's easy to be completely overwhelmed and say, Oh, well, you know, that's the government needs to do that there needs to be policies, the corporations are responsible, and, you know, your story of your of you as individuals and of CFI. And what you've done, really flies in the face of that, and I think it it shatters the idea of the victim mentality that we're, we're just hopeless and helpless. And we can, we can take the reins, and we can affect change in our community. And as a product in the, in the bigger world that we're a part of.
Estelle Drisdelle 16:23
Absolutely. And it makes me think of one of the permaculture principles, there's 12 of them. And one of them is small and slow solutions. So you don't have to change the government make change, you can actually plant a food forest at your local community garden, you can start a tiny tree planting project in East Africa, where you're just collecting seeds and growing as many trees as you can with a few community members. And those small and slow solutions kind of give you they give you ideas of what's going to work and what kind of needs a little bit more time or needs a different direction. And then you can grow it from there, you can look at what works and you can grow it from there. And so small and slow solutions, makes you it kind of gives you the power back when you think about it in that way. Because you don't have the there's really really big problems in this world. And it can seem really overwhelming. But you can just start in your own backyard, with your little community garden with a few of your friends, you can start small, see what works and just grow it and grow it from there and, and also influence other people to do the same. Many hands make light work, of course. So don't try to do it on your own. Don't get into a little silo. And, and, and try to figure out the world's biggest problems on your own. Don't worry the weight of the world on your shoulders, you can actually just start in your backyard, just start with a few friends. Just start with the smallest project and grow it from there, see what works, see what doesn't and, and know what your values are, know what the ethics and principles are that that will guide you through the most challenging obstacles that you could ever imagine. But when you have that mindset towards your goal, and you're holding your values close to your heart, you're going to find a path that will lead you to something great. So yeah, small and slow solutions is something that is really important to remember when we're trying to figure out that are our big problems in the world.
Stuart Murray 18:48
Man, I think that's so beautiful. Community is so key. And I think we're emerging from this age of individualism of the idea of the self made individual and, you know, you don't have to ask for help or do these things. And the reality is we we enter, we exist in community, we enter we are a part of the story of interbeing. And from that place, we don't require this grandiose force to affect change. It's more of as you're saying, that small step by step intentionality that that creates that more beautiful world that we do know is possible. You mentioned something there about being value driven, having sets of values that you know, help propel the work that you do or that we do forward. What are some of those values for you perhaps for CFI that that drove you guys for?
Estelle Drisdelle 19:49
Well, I mentioned some of them earlier, but to leave a place better than you found it was a huge core value is a huge core value for me currently, and so that I'm speaking more ecologically here, but this could branch out into how you work with your community as well. But whatever you do, are you making things better? And I think it's very easy. I own a farm now. And it's very easy to kind of forget about that value when you're trying to make money and put food on the table. And you got to plow the field now, but it's super wet and like, what do you do? So it's easy to, you know, potentially move away from those values while trying to do something else. But always just coming back, is this making the land better? Is this making my community better? Am I leaving something better for future generations, because that's not how we treat the land. Today, we're all about the short term gain. And we're forgetting about the long term consequences. And we're not thinking about future generations in the way that our society treats the land, and poisons the land and, and uses things like glyphosate on our forests, which stay in the soil for 25 years or more. That's not leaving the land good for future generations, that's actually potentially harming future generations. So leaving the land better than you found it and leaving something for future generations, I think, is key is like the main core value of our work back then. And my work now working on my farm.
Stuart Murray 21:43
That's beautiful. So before we go too much further, some people might hear the words permaculture and not really know what that means at all. Would you be able to offer just a high level overview of, of what Permaculture is? Yeah.
Estelle Drisdelle 22:01
So permaculture, when the idea was coined, was permanent culture. And so it kind of goes back to these values that I was just talking about. But working with community and on land in a way that provides resilience and is actually permanent, so that everything that you're taking and giving to the land becomes a closed loop cycle of benefits, and yields, and all kinds of staff that will provide in perpetuity. permanent agriculture is another way to describe permaculture and it's just looking at a natural landscape, and trying to create a human landscape that models what our natural landscapes do, because our natural landscapes have an amazing ability to bounce back, weather weather or fire or flood or anything hits them, they kind of have their own permanence to them. Unless they unless humans come in and really do some damage. But even then, the grasses come in the shrubs come in all the vines and prickly stuff comes in, then the taller shrubs come in, then the trees come in there is still a permanence, even if a land is severely severely degraded. And so permaculture uses those uses ethics and principles to create that permanence in our human landscapes, which is not the way that we usually think. And we were talking about ecological permanence. And ecology is deeply tied to our health. And we're also talking about the way we have community relationships and human relationships. There's like a permanence to that as well. It's always giving back, it's always feeding something. It's never taking more than it can give back. And, and that's really the idea of permaculture. And I do want to mention, there has been some issues that have come up with permaculture over the years. And part of that, like a lot of the stuff is that a lot of these ideas aren't new. Even though this word was coined back in the 1970s, a lot of these ideas are indigenous ideas. And I don't think that there's inherently anything wrong with permaculture. But I think we're just moving into a space where we need to acknowledge where some of this information came from. Because a lot of indigenous cultures use these ideas when all over the world when they were working with their natural landscapes in the idea of permanence and future generations. So I just wanted to I mentioned that that these ideas aren't new. But they're still really great. And there's, they still have a lot to offer, I think we just need to look into where originally did many of these ideas come from? And how can we learn from that?
Stuart Murray 25:16
Yeah, I couldn't agree more, I think it really is truly both a new and an ancient story. And I appreciate when we can bring it back to that, because, you know, we might turn to permaculture out of the feeling of scarcity or a feeling of fear for what we've already done to the environment and want to, you know, out of self preservation, and that energy doesn't really resonate true for me in terms of how we want to step into permaculture and think when we look at how indigenous cultures all over the world have have operated, there was this understanding of interbeing there is this deep, knowing that the Earth is alive. And we must act accordingly. And I think for me, when I learn more about permaculture and when I apply permaculture principles and values, I really want to be intentional about doing so with that, that worldview of the understanding that we are all interconnected. And every action I do is sending that ripple into this cosmic ocean and affecting some kind of change that I may or may not see in my lifetime. And so I think that's a really beautiful point to acknowledge that indigenous connection and come back to that worldview of how they understood their place in existence.
Estelle Drisdelle 26:41
And, and that we were a part of nature, we are not separate from it. And when we realize that, we can say that, but when we really bring that down to our core, we realize that everything that we do, to our natural world, we do to ourselves. And another just interesting thing that has come up in my mind, as we're speaking is in the book 1491, they talked about the Amazon and the idea that the Amazon is untouched land. And wild and indigenous cultures lived in part of it and just worked with the wild lands, but they actually altered the land quite a bit. And they're now seeing that as a lot of the Amazon is being clear cut, they're actually seeing land formations underneath the wild Amazonian forests suggesting that peoples there were definitely interacting and influencing their landscape in a way that worked for them. And we're doing things like building swales and, and moving water and planting guilds and all of that kind of thing that we see in permaculture that was happening really, really early on, but it was so integrated with our natural world that it just looked like a wild landscape. But in fact, it was altered to produce more food and, and use the the natural cycles. Well for human beings, and they just really understood that they were part of the natural system, not separate from it. And I think sometimes we forget that we forget that in our conservation efforts as well. We want to put a fence around it and say it's conserved. And that's a very colonial way to look at conservation. When in fact, like, No, we are actually part of nature and the things that we do, we need to involve ourselves in, we need to have working lands, we need to be part of the system, not separate from it, where we destroy land over here and completely keep all the humans out over there. That's not how the world works. That's not how animals travel. That's not how it's going to work for people. We obviously we need to be part of the natural world. So I really flipped the idea of conservation on its head to where we think that we need to keep people out. But in fact, we just need to change the way that we're interacting with the land and remember that we are actually part of the land, not this separate thing from nature.
Stuart Murray 29:14
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It's almost baked into our story where it's like, oh, we are the culmination here and we start to dabble in these roles and, you know, have stripped as as our industrial capacity increases, we almost become more and more alienated from the things that got us here. It's this really strange paradox and something that's coming up for me that I'd love to hear your take on is this idea of economic versus ecological, in our, in our traditional stories that we've inherited, generally, one one has to take the hit for the other to do well as you're kind of alluding to with reservations or all these different things. It's like oh, if we want to protect this, well then we're going to to gate that off and do these things, but what? How does that look through the lens of permaculture or your lens? Even?
Estelle Drisdelle 30:10
Your, um, well, again, you it kind of brings you back to the principles. And so one of the principles is obtain a yield. And what's an and produce no waste and use and value renewable resources. So how that relates to economy is yes, we we want to obtain a yield, we want to get something back from our work. But we're not taking so much that we're actually depleting the land or depleting the environment or depleting the communities that we're working in. So, if we work in a way that if we're valuing the permit
if we're working in a way that is giving back to the land, it provides everything that we need, without taking too much and depleting the land as a result. And I think what has happened is we've become greedy as a society. And we're trying to get as much as we can, right now without giving back the land. Again, we're just looking for short term benefits. So the way that economy and ecology work together and permaculture is that they're not separate, they are the same, it is better to make money for your whole life than to make money just this year, and then never to be able to make money again, because you've taken too much you've taken more than you can give back, or you end up having to give more and more each year, making less and less money. Why not make less money today, but more money over the span of your life and, and the people after you because you've actually taken care of the ecology. And I think that's really key to permaculture and the principles and the ethics is that yes, of course you want to take something back. It's not again, it's not about conservation and putting a fence around it and never going in there. It's yes, you're a part of it, and you need something and you need to obtain some kind of yield from the land, but you're doing it in a way that allows it to steadily go on for an entire life and for those who come after you.
Stuart Murray 32:38
Yeah, absolutely. And I remember reading at some point, because even in the Greeks, I believe that the word oil coasts, actually, from what I understand used to represent both ecology and economy there. They weren't differentiated, I believe it was actually, you know, one aspect of oitavos for the ecological was the study of the environment. And the other aspect of ecos, or ecos, was the management of sets. And so those two were, you know, integrated. I think we're just at this beautiful return of really coming to that understanding. It's like, well, yeah, we can't eat money. It's not going to work.
Estelle Drisdelle 33:28
Exactly, we can't eat money.
Stuart Murray 33:32
I was turned on to your work, actually, the first time I ever got into gardening was was also here in Sackville when I was student doing research, and I decided to get a plot for $20, which is amazing. Anybody who doesn't you know, anyone who's living in an apartment or doesn't have access to land, go find a community garden, get a plot, start there. There's a lot of skills and expertise. And to that point, when I was there, you happen to be there also doing this little food forest project. And so I got to observe that, from the very initiation of such and start to see the landscaping in the playoffs. Could you talk a little bit about that food project that you did with the Chicago community garden?
Estelle Drisdelle 34:18
Sure. So just to let everyone know, a food forest is not gardening in the forest, but it's gardening like a forest. So as I mentioned before, it's looking so just another permaculture principle is observe and interact. So observe what's just happening around your landscape before you get any ideas of how you're going to change the world. actually observe it to see it for yourself. There's a lot of lessons when you just look at nature and interact with the nature because you're just going to learn more that way. So by observing the natural forest we see it's very resilient. It provides it comes back when it's damp. Manage, it can handle all kinds of weather events and still thrive and produce, can we create a food garden using those same principles and are there foods that grow on trees and on shrubs and on understory plants that can handle shade, just like a natural forest ecosystem. And so that is the idea behind a food forest is to observe the natural landscape and create a food scape in in a very similar way. And so that was our idea at the community garden, we got permission from the land to get part of the community garden space and turn it into a food forest. And so we looked at all the different trees and shrubs that grow around here that produce anything edible, some things more edible than others. And we designed it in a way where we're looking at all the layers that you see in a natural forest ecosystem. So you have canopy trees, and you have that are growing the highest, you have shrubs that are growing. Underneath that you have vines, some vines that are crawling on things. You have herbaceous plants, you have the root layer things that grow underground. And we wanted to use the types of plants that produce food here in Atlantic Canada. And we wanted to arrange it in a way that they could work synergistically together, and produce food for the community. And so again, it was like we knew these principles, let's put these principles into practice and see what happens because we really didn't know at that time. We knew how to plant trees, we knew how to take care of plants. And we knew about the permaculture ideas and it and we were wondering, is this possible? What happens when we actually try to implement this. And so we did. And that food forest is mega thriving today. And it has withstood at least two floods, where the whole zone was flooded in the garden beds were washed away. And the water was standing there for three days, which can be really bad for plants because they don't have access to oxygen. And later that year, that food forest provided an abundance of berries, apples, nuts, and plants, even though it was completely flooded in the spring and completely destroyed the garden. And so it was really, really amazing to see that this actually does work. If you model your food landscapes on natural ecosystems, you're obtaining a yield, you're getting things back. But when weather hits are things that are out of our control head or when we deal more and more with climate change consequences. We see in this little small and slow solution that it is actually possible to build something that is resilient, that will produce food that doesn't take a lot of work to maintain. And I think it's just really interesting to see that, even here in Atlantic Canada, with we don't have an abundance of food crops that grow on trees, but we do have enough that we can, we can build something resilient that will produce food for our community. And I've seen community members go in there to collect elderberries in the fall, or to take cuttings. We've started with about 10 fiddlehead ferns, and it's a very wet site. So it was great for fiddleheads they've now expanded across a whole food forest, which is amazing fiddlehead ferns, you can plant those you can build the four, that was a lawn and now fiddlehead ferns grow there and they're spreading everywhere. And they're like spreading into the past. And we have to take them out and park them elsewhere. Like that's amazing. That was a lawn. And now it's a thriving forest ecosystem that houses birds and food and community members and kids playing in it and all kinds of stuff.
Wow. Yeah. So the food forest was an amazing project. And we really didn't know how it was going to work or what it was going to look like over the long term. But we're seeing that it it does work. These principles do, aren't they they have something to share with us. If we if we implement them in our small and slow solutions, this isn't a big space, we see how we can make a difference and how this little tiny small and slow solution is still giving back to the community. What like 12 years later, and into the future.
Stuart Murray 39:49
Wow, yeah, it's so beautiful. I still bike down there. And it was cool for me, you know, as a student back over a decade ago to watch that in its infancy. It can, you know, it's all small and the trees are very small. And now Now I still biked down there and walk through and see the abundance. And something to note too is that not only is it incredibly resilient, I mean, that flooding stuff is phenomenal how, because I know it devastated to commit the rest of the community garden quite a lot. I mean, even some of the boxes were completely moved away. And it was really tough for them to deal with that. But not so not only is it resilient, but there's an aspect there of a perennial nature to it right, there's less time required to go in once some of those things take root and take hold, and then the system starts to develop, versus where we go and sow the seeds every single year and do this. So there's something really beautiful about that aspect to that I don't think it's talked about as much.
Estelle Drisdelle 40:58
Oh, absolutely. I think that is so key, because we only have so much time and energy to put into things and annual agriculture is really important. If we tried to feed ourselves and our climate on a food forest, we would be very hungry and nutrient deficient. There is something to providing this nutritious food without a whole lot of work. Over the years, it still does need work, we still need to interact with that system and have somebody go in there every year and work on that system. But the amount of time that you have to spend working on the food for us for the amount of return that you get is very, very different compared to annual agriculture, where the amount of time that you have to put into something to get a smaller amount of return is the difference is really outstanding. But again, it is really important to I think it's really important to actually separate those two types of agriculture. And although some of the permaculture ideas do to transfer over to annual agriculture, it is important to realize that they are two different things. And they're kind of working with two different methods. permanent agriculture is working on. When you think of ecological succession, you're moving more and more to later succession, annual agriculture is always at primary succession. So right after the big devastating, whatever happened in the forest was leveled and the grasses are coming in and the herbaceous plants and those kinds of things. When we're working with annual agriculture, that's what that's a level of succession that we're trying to keep things at. And of course, nature wants to move further and further into later and later succession. And we're out we're kind of fighting nature, when we're trying to do annual agriculture, which is why it takes a lot more work to maintain. But again, it also is important. And I think just realizing that there's differences between the two are really important because I often see those two things kind of get mixed up or intertwined in a way that can maybe lead people down the wrong path. They are two different things. And so one is going to take a lot of more work. But again, a lot of those principles of making things better building the soil, all of that working with nature. All of that is still really important in animal agriculture.
Stuart Murray 43:40
Right out of a personal curiosity, talking about annual agriculture, do you till the soil every year? what's your what's your methodology there in relation to tending to that soil?
Estelle Drisdelle 43:52
Sure, I have both I have permanent raised beds where I don't tell the soil at all and I would like to move the whole firm to that method. But what you need a lot of mulch and compost in order to make that viable, especially on a larger scale. And a lot of people use plastic like silage tarp to smother weeds. And I'm a little so so on all the use of plastic and agriculture, but it can be helpful as well. And then I also tilled the soil in the larger fields, using more of the methods and organic agriculture so you're still thinking of building the soil and cover crops and soil health and trying not to overdo it trying not to get on the fields at the wrong time. Kind of what I was talking about before, like it might be the best time to plant but it's not the best time to start working the soil. So I use both on the farm. I use permanent raised beds and I also tilled the soil. And again, it's because As we're working to push things back to primary succession, so the tractor and the tiller can be a very useful tool at the right time.
Stuart Murray 45:14
Yeah, sometimes it's definitely easier to outsource a little bit of that labor with machines on our side.
Estelle Drisdelle 45:20
Exactly. But the more that we can create a system that doesn't need fossil fuels, and that includes plastic, and petroleum products, the better and more resilient that system is going to be. And so it is really good to try to grow as much food, if that's what you're into, or, or work with your landscape in a way that is going to move away from any outside inputs, I talked about a closed loop system before. And that means everything you need is produced by that land, there are some outside inputs, obviously, that you want to bring in in the beginning, but the more that you can close that loop, the less you have to bring in fuel and products and all of these things and fertilizers and all of that stuff, the better off the more resilient that whole system is going to be. And that goes for our community on the community level to the more that we keep things in the community and our local, the the whole idea of Buy Local is close that loop, the more that we rely on things outside of our systems, the less resilient that they're going to be. So the more that we can close that loop and just depend on each other and get everything that we need here, the better off the more resilient we're going to be to whatever's happening in the world or whatever is thrown at us, we're just going to have more to work with, if things from the outside are no longer available. And you mentioned about just kind of being in a silo or, or just trying to do everything just for yourself, or that's not going to work either. I do think that we need to rely on each other in our community, we don't need to do all the work on our one piece of land or in our own backyard, we can actually actually rely on each other and have a greater ego just like ecology, we can have a beautiful oasis in our backyard, but we're really not making a difference until we can have those backyards, all across the landscape, the more people that are doing it, the better it's going to be because everything is interconnected. So relying on other people and building that community is also really, really important.
Stuart Murray 47:47
Beautiful. So it's funny, too, with that closed loop idea. It's almost talked about in this, you know, new, innovative way. It's like, oh, you know, we got to build these closed loop cycles. And we're the only species on the planet that doesn't operate in such a fashion, you know, like closed loop is not a novel idea. We're on a rock that's rocketing through space, that is a closed loop in and of itself. And so it's just like, well, how how is nature doing that? How has she been continuing to recycle and restore and transmute and transform in a way that allows perpetual prosperity? It's, it's just, again, you know, observing and watching and learning, humbling ourselves, and just coming back to this more natural way of being. And also, you mentioned community quite often. And I'm curious to hear what is your what is community to you? And what are the individuals responsibility to community.
Estelle Drisdelle 48:54
Community, to me is the people and the environment that you live in, that you work in most of the time, throughout the year. And what is my individual responsible ability to community is I it's very important that we embrace the community that we live in and don't try to project our worldview on to everyone in our community. We actually need diversity, diversity of thought, diversity of opinion, diversity of action, in order to have a thriving community once again, just like nature, we can have a monolithic everything the same, it just, we see that in our in forestry where they're planting all the same types of trees, and now we have insect outbreaks. And nature wants to always go back to diversity. And I think that's really important in our communities as well is to embrace that diversity, because that's actually going to make us stronger. And our responsibility in that community is to do no harm, whether we're on the land or to other people there. And unfortunately, I see harm being done a lot, often because people think that they're in the right, or they're morally more correct than somebody else. And I think that just gets us into really tricky situations. And so I think our responsibility is to support and do no harm and embrace diversity, because that's actually going to be what allows our communities to thrive, the places that we live in work, that people that we interact with, these are the people that we're going to turn to in times of need, if something happens in our little bubble, it's going to be great to have a good relationship with your community so that they can support you to bring things back to where they used to be, if something happened, if you're no longer able to work, if you're no longer able to produce your own food, for some reason, or you live in an apartment, or whatever it might be, it's really good that we support our farmers and other people that are growing food, so that we don't have to rely on outside inputs once again. So it's our responsibility to take care of each other. And, and to kind of embrace different ways of doing things and looking at things because that's what's gonna get us to a more resilience, state. embracing diversity.
Stuart Murray 51:51
I couldn't agree more. It's, it's interesting, too. I, I love the do no harm for me is one of my main guiding principles that I also add, do no harm and take no shit. Because I think it's also important to have honest boundaries and be able to communicate those in ways because people can't read our minds. And it's been interesting, because I think what you're saying is so true, like diversity is the key to resilience, both in our ecological communities and in our cultural communities. And there's something beautiful about diversity. I mean, how boring would life be if we all agreed and believed the same things? But it seems to me, perhaps more than ever, diversity is under attack. And at the cultural level, censorship is growing, and canceling people who disagree in the name of in the name of being compassionate, right? And so how do we overcome this desire? Like how do we overcome bad ideas? Rather than censorship? You know, and how do we honor diversity in our human cultures?
Estelle Drisdelle 53:05
Yeah, that's. But my take on it is, start small and slow, and work with yourself and the people around you, and challenge yourself to change your mind because you can't change the mind of other people. That's not your job. That's their job. And I think, sometimes we can get so we can get so deep into an argument and so ingrained in our opinions that we kind of forget where we end and the other person begins. So I think really challenging yourself. To see things the way that other people do, can actually be really helpful. The more that more of us do that, the better off we're going to be. And I wrote down this quote by someone named Adam Grant, because I think it really fits here in this conversation, and it's about having an open mind, which I think is really important to addressing some of these concerns that you raise. And he says, The hallmark of an open mind is not letting your ideas become your identity. If you did not define yourself by your opinions, question, questioning them becomes a threat to your integrity. So I that quote really stuck with me because I think that we all can do that at times. We become so ingrained in our particular way of seeing things that we actually miss some really important information that would help us connect to people that maybe we don't agree with, and don't agree with us, and we can actually have a more productive conversation. But you did mention take no shit And I also think that boundaries are really important as well. We still want to make sure that our core values are being met, and that we're not just trying to appease others by not having any conflict, because we don't want to deal with it. I do think that's really important. But always approach everything with an open mind, be willing to be wrong, because that's okay. Or be be willing to embrace nuance as well. Where two things can be true at the same time. You can believe this, and disagree with this, but also see a good point that this other person is raising. And I think the more that we can do that, the more that we actually model to other people, that it is possible to disagree with someone and still treat them with respect and kindness and still see where the other person is coming from. And I think those two things are really important.
Stuart Murray 56:01
I couldn't agree more again, Nuance is something that, again, seems to be lacking lately. And it's not, we tend to get caught up in an either or situation. And I often find myself saying what, yes and right, that's like, we get into this comparative analysis. And it's like, well, one of these has to be true. And I'm going to create this paradox so that I'm going to cancel your idea that way, rather than listen and hold space for the possibility that there is truth in, in what you believe there's truth in what I believe. And really, it's probably the reality of that is probably somewhere in between, you know, what comes out for me sometimes is this Indian story, where there's like seven people blindfolded feeling an elephant, somebody feels the tail, and they think it's a brush and somebody else feels the leg, and they think it's a tree trunk, and, you know, so on, and that they're all arguing over what it is that they're feeling. And the reality is that if we were able to hold space, if we were able to listen and show up with humility, and for the potentiality of what could be, then we will actually lead ourselves closer towards a collective truth towards a collective well being, which will make us feel better our parents are partners or friends, everybody will will, I think, thrive, if we can continue to step into holding a more open space.
Estelle Drisdelle 57:34
I definitely agree. I think that we need to have compassion for each other. And sometimes we can really, really question why someone is acting a certain way. But often it just comes back down to core emotions of fear. And if we just see the human and everyone, even the people that we disagree with, and that goes to all kinds of sides of the argument, we just need to remember to have compassion and see the human in people. Most people aren't trying to be bad, or be a bad person. But they're just reacting to their own internal conflicts and their own fear and their own confusion about what the right path forward as and if we just remember to see that in every person that we're interacting with, that we're dealing with. I think often a lot of people do want to come to a solution and do want to get along with people, we just need to help create the space to make that possible, and have the good boundaries. So we don't get pulled into something that is pulling us away from our values. And I think values and principles are really good, because they're not prescriptive. They're just the way that we can enter into situations into our work into conversations with others into our community. They don't tell you what to do, but they they give you some guidance. And so taking some time and figuring out what your values are, is is really, really important to kind of addressing some of these conflicts that we're seeing today. And, and trying to help people like it's it's nonviolent communication. We want to we want to as much as we possibly can try to create that space to have those conversations. I think that is really where we're going to see progress and some of these things.
Stuart Murray 59:39
Yeah, I so agree. It's, you know, it's we will if we can hold that space, we will see that there is more that connects us and there is that divides us. And I think that's such a beautiful starting point to say well, yeah, every every human is generally doing the best they can, where they're at. And I think if we could start there And we can show up with that belief not not up in our heads, but but we know that in our hearts, if we can step into that, I think it creates so much space for potential and possibility for us to thrive. It's such a fertile ground. And a thing you mentioned too about, it's not prescriptive, right, like these value sets are more of a compass, they can orientate us, but they're not necessarily the map. And in our culture, we almost want to abdicate ourselves or, you know, remove, remove responsibility from ourselves and find a dogmatic pathway in how we could act so that we can almost point the finger and blame and say, Well, you know, I was just following this dictate, or I was following that pathway, where the reality is, is we need individual and collective responsibility. Like, if I'm not being kind, if I'm not listening, if I'm, if these things are happening, then I need to own that, I need to be open to owning that and listening. And rather than blaming some particular dogmatic path, or somebody else told me that I was just following orders, or this is what it said in this book, it's like, well, you know, that's not, it's not sufficient. And I think we can do better to hold ourselves and one another, to, to a higher standard of accountability. Yeah,
Estelle Drisdelle 1:01:15
I'm thinking of the Rumi quote, with the help I get right. Based on memory. between right and wrong, there is a field, I'll meet you there. And I think that is how we need to approach every situation. in that field, let's let's all meet in that field.
Stuart Murray 1:01:33
I love it. I couldn't agree more. Let's move beyond tribalism and identity politics, find some degree of space between who we are in our, in our essence, and the ideas that we hold in our head that are super malleable and change all the time. And sometimes they just get, they'll be let go. And somebody challenging us on our ideas does not necessarily mean they're attacking who we are. And that can be very challenging. And I'm curious, you know, around all of this, I think we've touched on a lot of it. But what problem solving strategies do you use to manage conflict and change?
Estelle Drisdelle 1:02:11
I try to be honest with myself, and, you know, dealing with conflict is really difficult. When we're in conflict with others, there's a whole bunch of physiological things happening that don't allow us to see clearly that really challenge our ego, that really challenge our view of ourselves and who we are and how we want to be seen in the world. So I think that it's really important to remember that, to take a deep breath, and to remember to try to listen and see where the other person is coming from, I think is like, the best thing that you can do to manage conflicts with others, and to have compassion for the people that you don't agree with. This is what I've done over the past two years, because there's been so much conflict in our world. And I don't agree with everyone all the time. And sometimes I agree with people on certain things and don't agree with them on others. And I don't think I've seen a lot of shame being used to try to change people's mind. And we know that that doesn't work. So to never fall into that trap, because we're feeling personally challenged, and we're having a personal physical response is just to deflect and project all that energy on to the other person, it's to remember, we are responsible for our behavior and what we say and what we do. And if if I if I'm feeling really challenged in one moment, take the time that I need to bring myself back down to a good place where I then see the other person as a human, and I have compassion and I can try to understand where they're coming from. And I think that's just the best thing that I can do in this current time to help deal with the conflicts that arise in my life. And sometimes, it doesn't go the way that I hoped it would when I'm feeling really calm, but to always just have humility, humility, and to learn from any mistakes that we made. I think that's huge. If we can just admit that we are wrong, not hold too much. Weight on our opinions and our ideas. I think we're going to be better able to move through conflict with others.
Stuart Murray 1:04:54
Yeah, it's, again, I love I love everything you're saying And I think there has to be that that honesty and that humility, yeah, we're human, we mess up, you know? But can we own that? You know, can we have enough humility to show up the owner mistakes to honor that, and not hold each other accountable? Like, yes, we're, we mess up all the time. And that person is not a stagnant individual, they also change, they're also there. And it's interesting, both. I've noticed as an educator, and as, as a human being, I'm somebody who does want to see progressive growth, you know, whatever, whatever that looks like, in my delusional mind, I want to see humanity thrive, I want to see our world thrive. And it's important for me to remember because I know it in my head, and I become more and more integrative of this, but this knowing that change, change cannot be forced upon somebody else, you can't mandate change. It's just it doesn't. It's not the way to really affect it so deeply. And I think change for me is, comes from inspiration. If we can embody what we believe, what we are become so loud, that people will hear that not not from the words that we say, but how we show up how we hold space, the work that we do. And then people start to ask questions, people want to learn more, because I also genuinely believe that people want to be the best version of themselves. And yeah, I don't think we're going to shame them into being the best version of themselves. It's just to me, it just doesn't correlate.
Estelle Drisdelle 1:06:39
Definitely. I also think that it's really important, I was thinking of confirmation bias, and to spend time, talking to people that challenge your ideas and beliefs are a great way, especially if it can be safe. And even if you disagree, it's like a good person to talk to who are you guys both are willing to listen to each other. But I think that's really important. Because sometimes we can hide away from that, we can just want to talk to people who we agree with. And that does feel really good. And I think that's important, too, to know that there's other people out there that are thinking the things that you do, but also spend time reading, listening to talking with people that challenge the way that you see the world. Again, to meet in that field in the middle to meet in the middle. I think that's one way that we're going to see progress and come to a good solution. And I think on both sides of the arguments over the past couple of years, I think we really drifted away from the middle. And again, we we really focus a lot on moral superiority, which is never going to get you to a good place. So if you're ever feeling more morally superior to someone, that's a good time to question yourself, because you're heading down, not a good road, and you're not seeing the human being and the other person anymore. And I think that's where it was a bit alarming. Actually, the things that I've seen over the past couple of years, how quickly we started to head down this really disturbing road and stop seeing people as humans and just saw them as evil people that aren't doing what we want. And I, I think that we just all need to come back to our hearts and come back to the idea that people are doing the best they can with what they have, and we're not morally superior to others. We're just seeing the world in a different way. And we need to find that middle row, that middle ground where we can meet and agree to disagree and agree on some things and really hear each other and what we're trying to say and what we're trying to do in this world.
Stuart Murray 1:09:11
Totally. And you mentioned nonviolent communication earlier. And I've been, you know, a student of that world for over a decade now. And I think we would have been able to move through these last two years and the prior to and as we move forward. It's like, you know, even if you take this health issue that we've been struggling with with COVID psych, what if we started at the idea that everybody wanted good health, everybody cared about, you know, the health and well being of their family, of their individual health of their community, and everybody wants to do what's best for themselves and for the community in terms of health. Like what if we could just honor that but it seems like oh, no, they don't care about this and you don't say If you don't, you're not, we're not in each other's head, and then all of a sudden our walls come up and that ability to listen, that ability to, to hear somebody else, instantly is cool. And so I'm curious. Again, I think we've talked about a lot of these things. But do you have tips and tools to how to listen attentively to other people?
Estelle Drisdelle 1:10:27
I think, again, I'm gonna say, spend time reading and listening and talking to people that challenge you, because then you're going to start to get used to hearing and listening and talking to people that you don't agree with. And you're going to have less and less of a physiological response to hearing and being challenged to those things, and then you're actually going to be able to listen to them. And I think that just takes practice. And sometimes it can get super frustrating. So remembering when you need a break, and having those boundaries or whatever, whatever you need to do to keep calm in those situations, that's how we're going to move forward and be able to meet a middle ground and like, just some people were just not, and I think realizing that to not putting too much energy into someone who is committed to misunderstanding you. If they're not going to listen to anything that you have to say, and just decide that you're a terrible person, we need to just recognize that after, after putting in a little bit of effort, and, and, and move on. And I think that's really important too, because sometimes things start to go bad when we're trying to really change someone's mind that their minds not going to be changed. So it's time to move on. So I do think it's really important not to just do that right away. But there are just some people where that that's not going to be possible. And I think it's important to, to move on at that point, it's and conserve your energy. Because that's where we could maybe act in a way that we're not proud of, or say something that we're not proud of, because we're just getting so frustrated with the situation, that we no longer are acting with integrity, we're just totally in a different state we're seeing read and and it's no longer a productive conversation.
Stuart Murray 1:12:41
Yeah, I agree. And it's, it's been in that state of when we're so hyper emotional, our, our ability to rationalize and reason becomes hijacked. It's just, you know, overwritten and like you said, we see read, and I think I've been toying with this idea of, of different ways of anger, or different forms of anger to it. And there's some various unhealthy forms like rage, where you see red is, is certainly this energy that seeks to demolish and destroy, but then there's also this unclean anger that I'm seeing, so much be it on this social online world or in person and in public. And this judgment is, is this anger that is full of blame and judgment, and it points externally for when we have internal conflict, we, we, we want to label and demean or dismiss somebody else and make them lower to, you know, deal with our little pain body or our ego and soothe soothe the suffering there. But then there's also this a cleaner version of anger, it's like, well, my boundaries are being crossed here. You know, and so that anger is telling me that a boundary is being crossed. And, and so we must enter into the arena of conversation where we can hold space, and try and restore the boundary, try and help have that restored in a healthy way. And I've seen it on all sides. I've seen it here how we get caught up in this unclean anger, and everybody's pointing the finger at one another way, you're crossing my boundary you're crossing, but we're not actually seeking to restore the boundary, we just want to sue there our pain body or our ego. And just, you know, dismiss that and project that onto somebody else, rather than just show up and be willing to do the work with the people that we disagree with.
Estelle Drisdelle 1:14:34
Oh, absolutely. And I was thinking, the more that we can share our ideas and opinions without pointing the finger and blaming other people, the more actually our ideas get across because we're just living and speaking from our heart from our truest self. We're not trying to project anything onto anybody else. And I think the people that do that, even though some may disagree with them in the beginning, when they see that they're not personally being attacked, they start to listen. And I think you've been doing that with the work that you're doing. And the way that you speak about things without blaming and pointing the fingers at others, you're just like, hey, listen here, like, let's look at this a different way, let's look at it this way, it can really change people's mind. Or see things in a different way when they realize, okay, actually, I'm safe here, I'm not being attacked. I'm not also being told that I'm a terrible person. And to not fall into that trap, when maybe people are pointing the finger back. I think you're absolutely right. That's just the way that we can move away from the shame and blame and into a spot where we're actually able to listen to each other. And, again, we'll just get back to the values that you have. If you're if you're living by those values, then you're you're going to live to your truest self, you're going to have your boundaries, and more and more people are going to listen, because they realize, oh, actually, I think you have something to say, I think you have a really good idea. Maybe I don't agree with every single thing that you say, but I can actually listen to you. Because you're not telling me I'm a terrible person. I really want to hear what you have to say. And I think that's really important.
Stuart Murray 1:16:26
Yeah, I think frost becomes a huge factor of change. Right? And so if we can, if we can relate to each other in a way that keeps the walls down, I think there is the seed of potentiality for growth and change. Right? And so yeah, am I coming in here with some preconceived agenda to change somebody's mind or to, you know, release some of my pain and suffering, unload that on another person? Or am I just trying to show up in my truth, and man, that's hard to show up in your truth and be honest with yourself and, and live with integrity of values, particularly when you feel like your, your backs against the wall, or you have a point to prove here, and you're in disagreement, or you're in conflict, we tend to those are the times where we really need to root down into our values and, and move forward. It's like, what is my end goal here? What am I working towards? Am I working towards peace and prosperity? For myself? And for others, then are my actions aligned with that? And what I doing? Am I sowing the seeds of peace and prosperity, because if I want peace and prosperity on this planet, and I'm trying to do so by pushing somebody else down, or censoring somebody, or or labeling and judging somebody that's not a peaceful means. And so if I don't use peaceful means, and I won't achieve a peaceful end, so I'm convinced of that. Absolutely. I completely agree with you. Yeah. So I want to bring it back. Because this is this is beautiful, I could fall down the rabbit hole of dialogue, and communication, because I think it is really important. And I'm glad we went there. But I'm curious, you had done all the work with CFI. And you've now you're quite focused on farming, and you have actually a consultation business. Do you want to talk a little bit about that transition? And
Estelle Drisdelle 1:18:18
sure, so I just really loved permaculture while working with CFI. And all the work that I did, there was in that realm I, after the food forest garden at the community garden, I did a restoration orchard at the firm that CFI had purchased near Sussex, I'm using those same principles, but on a larger scale. And I just realized, this is where I want to go. I want to put these principles into practice the ecology economy piece, how can I use these principles of permaculture and actually make a living with it because some of them they are a little bit pie in the sky ideas when you actually tried to implement them. It's it's harder than you realize. So I wanted to do that I wanted to see if I'm using these permaculture principles can I actually create a living for myself and restore the land that I live on at the same time? So I started understory farm and design near Port Elgin, and currently I'm growing herbs because I'm studying to be a clinical herbalist as well. Always just doing tons of stuff, lifelong learner. Grow all the herbs because, you know, her plants as medicine is is a really, really useful tool and it's helped me a lot in my life. And part of doing no harm is making sure that the plants that you're using for medicine were grown in an ecologically sound way and didn't harm anyone in the process. And a lot of the herbs that we can get cheaply and involve They may have even though their organic may have harmed people in the process who grew these herbs? And what is the state of the land that the herbs have grown on? What is the state of those communities that those herbs were harvested from, and what is the state of the people that did all the work to grow and harvest those herbs, has all of that been maintained throughout the whole process to get you your cheap bag of herbs at the end, and is that really good medicine at the end of the day, is that really going to heal you if all these people and land and plants and animals have been harmed in the process. So this is why I want to grow a lot of the stuff myself to be able to have to know that I have plants that I'm going to use for medicine, and it's going to be potent, because all of those things were monitored during the whole process. That's, that's part of our responsibility to our community.
And then I also the design part is the consultation part of the business, because one thing that I can do with my small and slow solution on my own little homestead and firm is to spread as much of my knowledge and ideas to others, so that they can do the same thing on their land. And that means that I actually have created more of a web of good things happening that will be more resilient because more people know what to do. So I do everything from helping people with their backyard, permaculture projects and, and kind of knowing what to do and understanding what plants are growing there and, and how to work with nature to community projects as well. So last year, I did help three schools implement three food forest projects with another organization in Sackville. And this year, I'm doing urban forest projects with that same organization to prevent flooding and to reduce flood risk in our communities. And again, I'm just sharing my knowledge with as many people who want to listen to me as possible. Because then they're going to have that knowledge themselves, they're going to implement these ideas on their own land, I could never do all the work that many hands could do. And hopefully they gain the knowledge over time where then they can spread it to other people. And it just grows and grows and grows. So that's kind of the idea behind my design business. And when I'm done studying to be a clinical herbalist, I'll also be helping people heal using the land and understanding the plants that grow in their land and using those plants as medicine. And hopefully they can then learn and pass that knowledge on as well. So I can see with my my small business, it's a small and slow solution. I'm doing what I can. And the way that I can spread that and make that grow is to give that information to as many people as possible, which is partly being here doing workshops, putting stuff on my website. So my website is understory farm.ca, go check it out, it's going to have a little revision soon. But yeah, the more people that know about this, the more people that get interested in this, the better off we're going to be. I don't want to be the only person that has this knowledge and keep it off for myself, I actually want as many people to know about it as possible, because that's how we're going to make real change. If we all work together. We're a community even if we're not in the same space. We're really all working together. And that's what gives me hope. Even though I'm just one person doing this one thing, the more that it spreads, and the more people that are doing it, I know we're actually having a landscape, community level impact. That's going to make a really big difference in the future.
Stuart Murray 1:23:54
Yeah, I think you are a tremendous tool in empowering individuals and empowering communities, particularly with the way we want to work with the land. Again, people get caught up in the idea that we need policies and corporations to change. But really, I truly believe that it is us and your actions resonate that tremendously. Last year, I was fortunate to work with you with those schools. And I got to witness directly the students that I work with at these various schools light up when they got to learn about food forests, when they got to learn about the designs and the different levels and be a part of the planning. And were drawing their own different designs and coming up with things and then actually got to be out doing this stuff working, laying down the cardboard, laying the mulch laying all of these things and that kind of value that kind of learning is guaranteed going to stick with so many of them as they become the future pioneers and the designers of land use and they will integrate those things that I know it just because I saw that passion radiate through and I was so inspired, that I had you come out to my land, and we walked through. And I've got to say, the consultation piece is so incredible. And I recommend it to anybody who has even a 10th of an acre, if they want to do something different if they want to be part of that change that environmental revolution, that way of interbeing that honors our connection with the earth, I highly recommend a consultation because I left with so much knowledge, so much inspiration, a deeper connection to the land that I am on and the land I am a part of, and also practical tips and tools from where I could put things how I can design swales, what that looks like the kinds of things I can plant. So, again, to reiterate, I recommend anybody to do a consultation with you be at a community project or individuals. Thanks. Yeah, absolutely. So I guess we've got your website, where else could people find you is that the main place to go to go check out the website and contact you through there.
Estelle Drisdelle 1:26:19
And Instagram as well. I'm on Instagram under story farm, and B. So at understory farm and B and I post a lot there about kind of what I'm doing day to day, week a week on the farm. So it's nice always nice to see pictures and what the current things that are happening. So you can contact me there as well.
Stuart Murray 1:26:40
Amazing I look forward to with your your studies and her biology and what you as you've been diving into this alchemy hair that's very needed, especially with traditional medicines that are indigenous to here or you know, that are now here is a beautiful thing to be able to take what what is in the ground, what is already working with i i look forward to getting some more help from you. As you dive deeper into that,
Estelle Drisdelle 1:27:12
yes, and yeah, the the work with herbs and with Alchemy, just further drive those values for me of taking care in every part of the process of of making a medicine and giving it to someone from planting the seed to giving the medicine over. I think it all just makes you focus and take good care and every step of the process, which is exactly what we need to be doing in all parts of our life. Just take care and and make sure you're present and, and doing things in a way that's going to make things better. So I really like how, in my studies of alchemy, those ethics and principles are coming in as well. Because I do think it's really important and something we're kind of missing. And we need to get back to in the way that we do any kind of work, not just plant medicine work all kinds of different work.
Stuart Murray 1:28:11
Yeah, agreed once again, and something that comes up for me there's this, this saying I don't really know who it comes from or where it comes from. But this idea that when you're good at something, you tell people, but when you're great at something, people tell you, and you certainly embody so much of that greatness in what you do, because the values that you stand for the passion that you have to to make this place more beautiful than you found it is apparent in everything you do and everything I've observed you do. Since the decades go that we that I've met you. So thank you for all of that work. And I have one last question for you. What is your greatest vision, be it on a personal level or collectively to to help you move humanity forward?
Estelle Drisdelle 1:29:16
My greatest vision would be that we, on a huge level start to interact with our landscape in a completely different way. And we realize it not just at the individual level, but the industrial level, that it matters, what we do to the land now. And short term gain for huge long term consequences is not the way to move forward. That we realize that we're actually harming ourselves now and in the future. And it becomes really important to look and work for the future. It becomes economically important to do so, which is kind of how we base everything that we do that we realize the the interplay between ecology and economy, and that we start to really treat the land differently. And the way that we work on the land, and more people work on the land in a good way than don't, which is, unfortunately, not currently what we do. But I do think it's possible. And we just all have to show people that as possible with our small and slow solutions and helping each other. That's my great vision. And I need to believe that it's possible that we're going to move back back to this time when we're part of nature, and we're working with ecology in a way that is always our interactions with land can actually make it better. And I, my vision is that we all see that. And we all start working with the land in that way. Beautiful.
Stuart Murray 1:31:01
Well, the work you are doing is definitely contributing to showing that is possible. And I believe we will just continue to ramp up and and take that momentum and keep seizing this in our beautiful little communities wherever we are. So thanks for this heart opening and mind opening conversation. I really appreciate it.
Estelle Drisdelle 1:31:22
You're welcome. Thank you
Stuart Murray 1:31:31
I hope you enjoyed this episode with the incredible Estelle Drizella. She is just a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. And I continue to go back and listen to some of the things she's saying. And I'm still unpacking and learning so much. And I genuinely hope that this conversation was of value to you. Once again, a big thank you to our sponsor, Karen Phytoplankton. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts. And you can also find me on Facebook and YouTube at the connected movement. Thanks again and see you next Monday.