My Permaculture Journey – Crystal Heier

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My life started on a family homestead which was run by my parents and grandparents. We had quite a number of different animals, mum had her veggie gardens, and they hosted big community BBQs regularly. Every now and then a bush band named Diamantina would come out and play too. It was a wholesome start to life!

Growing up in Queensland I also had a huge exposure to Steve Irwin, Ranger Stacey on the morning cartoon network, indigenous studies through the school system, family camping trips, and conversations under my grampa’s orange tree. These have been foundational on my life-long permaculture journey.

After moving to the United States I became a military spouse, which can be a rather lonely life. Friends tend to come and go, my family were across the pond, husband was deployed a lot, and we had 4 small children in the space of 6 years… I had become a stranger in a strange land, surrounded by a concrete jungle and desperate to give my children a piece of the joyful upbringing I had.

So, in order to stay sane I started growing plants and food on a 215ftx6ft concrete patio under a couple of big crabapple trees. While spending time in my garden, mothers with young children would walk by and ask about what I was growing. Their kids would play with my kids while we talked, as they do, and new friendships were born. A mothers group formed and we would gather under the trees to talk about the world, plants, growing healthy food… all while the kids played and snacked on salads, peas, and edible flowers. It was a warming experience for us all.

I decided to formalise this by taking classes in design, horticulture, landscape history, digital design, accounting, permaculture, ecological studies, biology, geography, philosophy, and more! The more I studied the more I realised how easily everything tied back into natures patterning, and how useful the practice of permaculture was in tying it all together.

I completed 2 PDCs from Geoff Lawton, as well as a PDC and Teacher Certification from Morag Gamble. I’ve taken advanced ecological studies with Dan Halsey, at united designers, and for the last 18+ months I have been a designer and manager at Food Forest Abundance. Currently I am a Teaching Assistant for Geoff Lawton’s 2022 online PDC.

In 2023, our family will be returning to the motherland where I will continue to learn, grow, and teach permaculture. My intention is to develop a permaculture property while teaching others regenerative practices. This pivot means I will get to watch my children have a yarn with their great-grandfather, under the very same orange tree, developing their senses and learning from the wise. And just like in nature, we come full circle.

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