Welcome to the Permaculture Vine podcast episode 15, where we had the pleasure of hosting Laura Oldanie, the founder of “Rich and Resilient Living.” Based in the Greater Tampa Bay area of Florida, United States, Laura is a green living and money coach, passionate about helping people achieve personal and financial resilience through the principles of permaculture. Join us in this blog post as we explore the fascinating world of green living and money coaching with Laura Oldanie, gaining insights on how to lead a more sustainable and financially savvy lifestyle.
Laura Oldanie’s discovery of permaculture took place approximately 15 years ago when she was in her 30s. It was an instant fascination as she yearned for more of it right after first hearing about it. Within three months, she enrolled in her Permaculture Design Certificate course, already having worked for several years in non-profits and the U.S government.
Living in Washington DC, Laura found herself in a neighbourhood where front porches fostered a Southern Culture of outdoor interactions and community building. Seeking something to do while outdoors and interact with her neighbours, Laura attended an annual picnic hosted by a city council member in the area. There, free seedlings of tomatoes and cucumbers were given away, sparking her interest in gardening and sustainable practices.
Like many others, Laura’s journey into permaculture began through the garden gate, enticed by the prospect of learning about food forests and landscape design. However, what drew her attention even more was the finance and economics aspect of permaculture. Having worked in responsible jobs and saved for retirement, Laura still felt uneasy about indirectly supporting industries and practices that contradicted her sustainability values.
Her encounter with permaculture led her to question the conventional approach to finances and lifestyle design. Laura was intrigued by how permaculture practitioners addressed their financial future, considering factors beyond just traditional retirement plans. She sought to apply the rich tools of permaculture to explore the financial side of sustainable living, seeking a holistic approach that harmonized ecological consciousness with financial responsibility.
Permaculture Design Certificate
Laura Oldanie pursued her Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) through the Midwest Permaculture Institute in the United States. The course was conducted off-site in Madison, Wisconsin, which required a trip from her home in Washington DC. While attending the Urban Permaculture course, Laura found herself immersed in a wealth of new knowledge and concepts, absorbing the content that was still relatively new to her, considering she had only discovered permaculture a few months prior.
The PDC experience was enlightening for Laura, offering a profound shift in her way of thinking about sustainability and lifestyle design. The instructors and course content left a lasting impact on her, and even after 15 years, she continues to discover new insights and apply permaculture principles to her life.
Reflecting on her journey, Laura acknowledges that the PDC is just the beginning of a long and transformative learning process. The abundance of rich content condensed into a short period requires time and effort to fully grasp and implement. It is a continuous process of absorbing, processing, and applying the knowledge gained during the course.
When asked if she would advise others to take a similar approach, Laura encourages individuals to jump into the PDC experience with an open mind and awareness that it’s a journey that requires time, space, and thoughtful application. While not everything learned can be immediately applied, the permaculture toolkit offers a wealth of valuable tools and principles that can be gradually incorporated into one’s life, making it a worthwhile and enriching endeavour for those willing to invest the time and effort.
Overall, Laura’s experience with the PDC was transformative, opening the door to a lifelong learning journey in permaculture, sustainability, and holistic living.
After completing her Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), Laura Oldanie’s personal stage two involved returning home to her small lot in Washington DC and embarking on a transformative journey. Inspired by the permaculture principles, Laura got to work by planting fig trees, raspberries, and thornless blackberries, creating her own little food forest within the constraints of her small space.
In addition to her gardening endeavours, Laura focused on strengthening her connections within the community. She had moved into a primarily neighbourhood of people of colour, a beautiful learning experience for her. By engaging in food-growing activities with her neighbours, Laura not only learned from their knowledge but also immersed herself in their vibrant culture. The community’s strong sense of civic-mindedness was evident as they had the highest voter turnout for any Precinct in Washington DC.
As an active member of the community, Laura participated in civic association meetings, neighbourhood cleanups, and house parties, fostering meaningful relationships with her neighbours and becoming a valuable resource for the community. Through her involvement, she found a sense of purpose and fulfilment in being part of a close-knit and civic-minded neighbourhood.
During this stage, Laura’s post-PDC journey extended beyond just personal growth; it intertwined with community building and active citizenship. The principles of permaculture not only influenced her approach to gardening but also played a pivotal role in shaping her outlook on engaging with her surroundings and being an active participant in community life.
Laura’s experience post-PDC exemplifies the power of permaculture to extend beyond individual practices and touch the fabric of communities, promoting resilience, sustainability, and a shared sense of purpose.
Permaculture and The FIRE Movement:
After her Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), Laura Oldanie’s interest in the economic side of permaculture gradually developed. Around the same time, she discovered permaculture, she also learned about the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement. This concept of achieving financial independence resonated with her, as it meant not being dependent on a job or lifestyle that didn’t align with her values and aspirations.
Laura delved deeper into the FIRE movement, exploring books like “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss and “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. However, she sought a permaculture-oriented version of FIRE that aligned with her commitment to sustainable and regenerative practices.
During her journey, Laura discovered Michael Hoag, who was also influenced by “Your Money or Your Life.” She looked for ways to bridge permaculture principles with financial independence, seeking a road map that combined both ideals. Her pursuit led her to learn about the Slow Money movement, which aimed to invest in local food producers and foster sustainable food systems.
Eventually, Laura sold her house in Washington DC and embarked on a nomadic phase, exploring various sustainable communities and connecting with like-minded individuals. It was during this period that she attended a Slow Money meeting in Northern California, where she learned about self-directed IRAs as a vehicle to invest in regenerative projects.
A self-directed IRA allowed Laura to move her retirement savings away from conventional investments and into projects aligned with her values, such as investing in a permaculture farm, supporting regenerative farmers, and investing in native American-owned food businesses.
As Laura pursued this pioneering path of aligning investments with her values, she encountered challenges due to the regulatory landscape and limitations for non-wealthy investors. To navigate this journey, she joined online learning portals and connected with others on a similar path to gain support and share knowledge.
Laura’s dedication to integrating permaculture principles with financial independence exemplifies how the FIRE movement can be reimagined in a regenerative and sustainable context. She continues to blaze a trail, exploring innovative ways to invest her resources in projects that contribute to a more resilient and thriving future.
By merging her passion for permaculture with her financial choices, Laura embodies the possibility of creating meaningful change through aligning values with investments and promoting sustainable practices within the realm of financial independence.
Starting Your Money Journey:
For individuals interested in following a money journey aligned with their values, Laura Oldanie offers some practical advice. One of the easiest starting points is to examine where they currently bank. Major banks often invest in fossil fuel industries, so Laura suggests exploring options like community banks that support local communities. By moving their money to banks that prioritize sustainable and community-oriented investments, individuals can make a positive impact.
Laura also emphasizes the importance of having conversations with others about their financial aspirations and values. Engaging with like-minded individuals can lead to the discovery of local investing opportunities and potential collaborations. For example, Laura’s investment in a permaculture farm came about through ongoing discussions with her community, expressing her interest in supporting local projects.
Additionally, Laura recommends researching local investing options that align with personal values. There are platforms and organizations, such as the Stockwood Community Benefits Society in the UK, that offer opportunities to invest in initiatives like organic farms paired with business parks. These investments can be more in line with one’s values and principles while still providing potential returns.
While it’s essential to note that Laura cannot provide financial advice, her suggestions encourage individuals to take an active role in their money journey. Investing in alignment with one’s values, supporting local initiatives, and engaging in conversations within the community can lead to a more conscious and impactful approach to managing finances.
Starting with manageable amounts and gradually exploring various opportunities allows individuals to learn and grow on their money journey while contributing to positive change in their communities and beyond.
In her book titled “Growing Free,” Laura Oldanie presents a comprehensive guide for individuals seeking financial resilience and empowerment while adhering to permaculture principles. The book’s title stands for “Financially Resilient, Economically Empowered,” and the subtitle aptly describes its purpose: “Building the life of your dreams without losing your soul or destroying the planet.”
Addressing a crucial aspect often overlooked in permaculture circles, the book caters to activists, artists, and permaculturists who desire to live off the land but struggle with achieving financial independence. Laura, together with her co-author, Mike, provides readers with a collection of valuable insights, tools, and strategies to navigate the financial landscape while staying true to permaculture values.
“Growing Free” aligns the principles of permaculture with personal finance, drawing intriguing connections between home gardening principles and money management. For instance, the book correlates permaculture principles like “Obtain a Yield” with financial decisions, encouraging readers to observe and interact with their financial ecosystem, just as they would with their permaculture zones.
One of the key highlights of the book is its emphasis on holistic wealth. Laura takes inspiration from Bill Mollison’s “Designer’s Manual” to explore various forms of capital: Financial, Material, Cultural, Social, Living, Spiritual, and Intellectual. Understanding these diverse forms of wealth allows readers to cultivate a comprehensive wealth portfolio that aligns with their values and lifestyle choices.
While “Growing Free” briefly mentions conventional investing options like self-directed IRAs, its main focus is on local investing and regenerative financial practices. The book encourages readers to explore opportunities to invest in projects and ventures that positively impact their local communities and the environment.
Overall, “Growing Free” provides a groundbreaking perspective on financial independence and resilience within the permaculture context. It urges readers to rethink their financial choices, adopt a holistic approach to wealth, and design their lives around sustainable and thriving principles. By integrating permaculture ethics with personal finance, Laura’s book empowers readers to create a meaningful and fulfilling life while nurturing the planet.
You can purchase the book here:
Radical Financial Planning
As a money coach and part of the radical financial planners group, Laura Oldanie offers a range of services to help individuals achieve financial resilience and empowerment while aligning with permaculture values. Through her coaching sessions, she assists people in gaining control over their finances, overcoming guilt or conflicts associated with money, and devising practical systems and plans to manage their financial resources effectively.
Laura’s coaching process involves delving into clients’ financial situations, understanding their income sources, expenses, and spending patterns. By analysing these factors, she helps her clients determine whether their current financial practices align with their values and long-term goals. Her goal is to guide them towards spending money in ways that enrich their lives and contribute to their desired quality of life.
Additionally, Laura shares her knowledge and experience on various investment opportunities that support regenerative practices. While she offers pay-what-you-can guides and courses on regenerative investing, she also recognizes the specific challenges and opportunities that investing presents in different regions, particularly in the United States.
Beyond financial advice, Laura embraces a holistic approach to lifestyle design. She helps her clients identify elements that make them feel resilient and guides them in integrating these aspects into their lives. By addressing lifestyle choices, she ensures that financial planning aligns with personal values and fosters well-being.
Laura’s work is not only about providing financial education but also addressing a gap in traditional education systems. Many individuals grow up without sufficient knowledge about personal finance and its impact on their lives. As a money coach and advocate for permaculture principles, Laura’s offerings serve as a valuable resource for individuals seeking to achieve financial stability and create a sustainable and fulfilling life.
Laura’s urban lot in sunny Florida, approximately 9,000 square feet, serves as the backdrop for her inspiring foray into sustainable permaculture practices. Her passion for nature and commitment to reducing waste have led her to create a thriving oasis filled with soap nut trees, papaya trees, and resilient perennials that flourish in the sandy soil.
Emphasizing the significance of composting, Laura diligently works to build up the soil, recognizing it as the essential first step for success in Florida’s growing conditions. Through her thoughtful foraging expeditions, she fosters community connections, rescuing fallen avocados, mangoes, and lychees and sharing them with her neighbours.
Laura’s dedication to reducing food waste extends to dumpster diving, where she salvages edible food from local grocery stores and health food shops, making a positive impact on food waste reduction.
Beyond her property, Laura skillfully engages in bartering and sharing with friends and local organizations, highlighting the benefits of resourcefulness and community collaboration. From exchanging fresh produce with her friend’s food forest to offering her garage and shed space for storage, she demonstrates the power of viewing everything as a valuable resource.
Her innovative mindset transforms liabilities into assets, like repurposing bamboo from her yard into a sustainable shower curtain rod. Laura’s journey exemplifies how simple shifts in thinking can foster regenerative practices and create a positive impact on the environment.
In her pursuit of growing local and embracing permaculture principles, Laura inspires others to rethink their relationship with nature and seek sustainable solutions for a harmonious world. Her journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of resourcefulness and the potential for meaningful change in our communities and beyond.
Capitalism Survival Strategy
In her quest to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of capitalism, Laura offers insightful strategies that foster sustainability and envision a brighter tomorrow. With a focus on growth and efficiency, she sheds light on the importance of refining existing practices to effectively reach a wider audience.
At the heart of her discussion is her latest book, “Growing Free,” which hit the shelves in November. Laura passionately emphasizes its role in bridging the gap between permaculture and personal finance, urging more individuals to embrace its principles and explore the potential benefits it holds.
As a dedicated content creator, Laura aims to inspire and engage younger generations in adopting alternative lifestyles guided by permaculture thinking. Stepping away from technical jargon, she masterfully communicates the essence of permaculture, encouraging others to embark on a more conscientious path.
Looking towards the future, Laura sparks dialogue on retirement planning and lifestyle design for later years. She prompts reflection on how to sustain the legacies of our efforts, especially in fostering a supportive community for aging gracefully.
Delving into the flaws of the healthcare system, Laura exposes the unsettling correlation between financial incentives and a sicker population. Her advocacy for a shift towards holistic and preventive healthcare measures aims to nurture healthier and more resilient societies.
In conclusion, Laura shares invaluable resources for those seeking transformation – her upcoming course and book recommendations. Her vision encompasses building a robust permaculture community, nurturing sustainable practices, and fostering meaningful discussions that shape a promising future.
Laura plans to continue her journey in permaculture, regenerative living, and financial empowerment. She will keep working on her small urban lot, expanding her food forest, and experimenting with various permaculture practices. Building up the soil and increasing the diversity of perennial plants in her garden remains a top priority.
In terms of financial empowerment, she will continue her work as a money coach, helping individuals gain control over their finances, align their spending with their values, and explore regenerative investment opportunities. She aims to share her knowledge and experience through coaching sessions, pay-what-you-can guides, and courses to support others on their financial journey.
Furthermore, she will remain actively involved in her local community, connecting with people, building relationships, and finding ways to share resources and reduce waste. Whether through bartering, foraging, or participating in local initiatives, Laura strives to create a more resilient and sustainable community.
As for her writing, she is open to the possibility of exploring new book projects or sharing her experiences through articles, blogs, or other platforms. Laura believes that storytelling is a powerful tool to inspire and educate others about permaculture, financial empowerment, and regenerative living.
Her journey is ever evolving, and she is committed to living a life that aligns with permaculture principles, financial resilience, and positive impact on the planet. Laura is looking forward to continuously learning, growing, and connecting with like-minded individuals on this path.
- Website: Rich and Resilient Living Laura’s website, “Rich and Resilient Living,” is a treasure trove of valuable insights and information. You can find her at richandresiliantliving.com, where she shares her expertise in permaculture and financial resilience.
- TikTok and Instagram: @Rich_Resilience Stay updated and engaged with Laura on her active TikTok and Instagram accounts. Follow @Rich_Resilience to catch her latest posts, videos, and tips on living a rich and resilient life.
- YouTube Channel: Laura Oldanie Venture into Laura’s burgeoning YouTube channel under her name, Laura Oldanie. There, you’ll find a growing collection of enriching content that aligns with her passion for permaculture and holistic wealth.
Laura encourages us to embrace the abundance that surrounds us, not only in permaculture practices but also in our financial and economic choices. By adopting a holistic view of wealth, we can discover new opportunities and create resilient, sustainable lifestyles.
Don’t miss out on the wealth of knowledge and insights Laura has to offer. Connect with her through her website, social media platforms, and YouTube channel. Join the community of Rich and Resilient Living enthusiasts and embark on a journey towards a more fulfilling and sustainable life.
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