Permission to change please, I’m heading to the garden.


SO… it’s been six months since my last post… what have I been doing?

Well first I completed a graphic design course online which led to me dipping into surface pattern design again. I enjoyed the course – but it was still me sat a desk and staring out the window to watch birds. Then winter and Christmas happened which slowed me right down!

Then I met a few new people who listened to me ramble about my journey from AI chatbot product owner to person who wants to hug trees and save them and get other people to hug trees and save them. It turns out my big love of everything and everyone working together organically and in harmony is very much linked to permaculture.

What is permaculture you ask? I’ll tell you…

To quote The Permaculture Association it’s about “living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature.” Makes sense right? Why wouldn’t we want to make sure our planet is happy and that the people on it can stay there?

It’s also about these three things:

  1. An ethical framework
  2. Understandings of how nature works
  3. A design approach

check, check and check! Here are three things that I am mildly obsessed with. But permaculture wasn’t the breakthrough I had when it comes to what on earth I want to do with myself now – it was gardening.

Yes, did you know that gardening is actually a career option? Now I’ve lived in a great big garden most of my life, have parents who are very keen gardeners, have always loved nature, and I’m British! So why had it never crossed my mind that I could actually choose to work with plants as a way to earn my crust?

I think I’m starting to figure this out as I begin my journey as the humble gardener…

First of all to learn about gardening you can gain a qualification with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) – a name which immediately makes me stand up straight and speak like the queen as I say it. Second of all everyone I’ve met so far who actually does any gardening is retired or about to be retired. The conclusion: gardening is aimed at the upper class and/or people with a lot of spare time on their hands. This needs to stop!

So we have societal norms and consumerism against us – which tends to be about the exact opposite of gardening (buy this, buy that, get into debt and buy more things). Somewhere between being a care-free child and being a wise old human we lose touch with nature altogether.

So what happens between infant school – where we’re talking to the animals and planting cress, and retirement – where we’re talking to the animals and planting rhubarb? What happens is ‘we grow up’. We take on responsibilities, lose any spare time to stop and smell the roses, and most likely lose our regular access to a garden or open green space. We forget about the animals, and the cress, and the connection to anything that reminds us that we rely on plants COMPLETELY.

Don’t worry though – I HAVE GREAT NEWS! The world is changing. We’re right in the middle of a wave of global consciousness where it’s completely normal to be vegan and you’d be nuts not to want to stand up for what you believe in (I’m talking about you Extinction Rebellion protestors)! Yes this happened in the 70s too. It’s the backlash to consumerism and feeling like everything in our lives is controlled by the government, and now the digital robots.

So we’re already in good company. We already have permission to close the laptop and spend a few minutes walking bare-foot in the grass. I’ll bet £100 this is office policy in some forward-thinking organisations already.

So things are clicking into place for me. I’ll be taking the human design, graphic design and product design skills from my digital career and bundling it up with the knowledge I’m now learning about how plants work. Then maybe in a year, or maybe five years, I’ll find myself in job where I’m helping to create something that helps the planet and the people in a very real and practical way.

What a trip it’s been to get here – can’t wait for the next bit. Now where are my gardening gloves…



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