“Permaculture, Rewilding and Herbalism” – Interview with The Perma Pixie (aka Taj Scicluna), Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne, Australia. By Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Media
Excerpts from Interview with The Perma Pixie by Willi
One of the first impressions of you in your community is as alchemist. How do you transmute soil and people into new realities?
I am honored to be perceived as an alchemist!
I try to transform energy where ever I go. The second law of thermodynamics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed, so I am always trying to transform energy to a more usable form and harness it before it becomes less usable. This can apply to landscapes and social structures alike.
Soil can be transformed by harnessing the energy of microbes, and giving soil vitality and life. I build as much compost as I can, and am on the path of studying microbes to ensure that our soil is as nutrient dense as possible, thriving with life.
As for people, my goal is to invite them into a completely different atmosphere. I take care when preparing for Herbal and Wild Food workshops to bring all my wooden bowls and jars of herbs… everything is wrapped in twine and printed on brown post-consumer recycled paper… I like to see people’s faces light up, for them to feel their life is an amazing and magical place.
My goal is to have an Education center that is a little cottage, with a fire place and a constant cauldron of soup, books lining the walls, many cushions and a massive garden to step into to learn about Permaculture, Herbalism and Rewilding.
Are there any special struggles or barriers around being a woman in permaculture?
Yes, there are. Being a woman is one thing. Being a woman with dreadlocks and piercing is another. I have actually had people tell me to my face that they were surprised I was intelligent and focused after speaking with me. People judge at face value all the time, and I feel if I changed myself to appeal to a wider audience then I would be perpetuating the discrimination.
Men are taken more seriously in a lot of areas than women, and this is true in Permaculture as well. A lot of men within the Permaculture movement are very intelligent, incredible, extremely practical people, and deserve to be recognized for their expertise. Many leadership skills are actually male traits, and so women do not appear to gain as much exposure as men within the industry. One of the main barriers is talking to earth-movers and surveyors- very male dominated industries- where your opinion as a women is not taken on board with as much acceptance and respect. I am hoping that things become a little more balanced in future. Although I am professional with my work, I do approach course participants with warmth and even nurturing, and that is something I am proud of.
One of the many key permaculture / transition movement concepts in my quiver for years is localization. Is this a political process?
The answer to many Permaculture related questions is; it depends. It can be political, and most of the time when dealing with invisible structures such as economics, community and legalities, politics and planning are a large part of this. I believe just as a landscape should have a design, so should a business, social structure or economy. This is where social Permaculture plays a part, and is a facet within the movement which I have become increasingly interested in.
When dealing with landscapes, often there is a predictable action – reaction process. It can be quite easy, with research and design, to shape a landscape and encourage an outcome. When dealing with people and concepts however, things become more complicated. I do believe that in order for us to localize our food and economies, we must learn to accept and respect a wide range of people, and be open to educating one another.
Localization can be taken into the hands of the community, and in many ways we need community backing in order to stabilize our food supply and deal with legalities that do not take environmental rights into consideration. This could well be a political process, but how that process is designed and its outcomes are up to the community.