Permaculture Kids: Integrate – Don’t Segregate

There is always a lot to do when practicing regenerative agriculture on a worn out horse property. But instead of the children getting in the way of getting work done, we try as much as possible to integrate them into the day-to-day workings on the farm, as well as with special events.

Verti, who is nearly 4, helps feed the birds every afternoon. She also loves digging drains, planting in the garden and picking fruit. Manu is still too young to help, but I can put him in a backpack and get a good three hours worth of work done. (I do occasionally forget he’s on my back and accidentally bump his head into a branch or low doorway.)

Another one of Verti’s jobs is to welcome visitors onto the farm and give a little tour. Here she is with 17 teenage boys from Wanganui Collegiate School this week.

We believe integrating the children with our work on the farm is all a part of instilling in them what is normal for a family: composting, cutting firewood, growing veges, raising hens, eating cockerels, and soon milking goats.

When we look towards an uncertain future of environmental decline and when many current occupations will not even exist, it’s really time to think, “What are the characteristics and skills we need to develop in our young people and how do we help nurture their development?”

The short answer is getting them outdoors as much as possible and away from screens of all types. That’s a start anyway.


Peace, Estwing

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