We Grow From Here's Blog

A Community Garden Project


Inner Peace and Passion of the Vine

Hope is passion for what is possible.
Søren Kierkegaard


[suhren-der]  Show IPA

verb (used with object)

  1. to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress: to surrender the fort to the enemy; to surrender the stolen goods to the police.
  2. to give (oneself) up, as to the police.
  3. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life ofhardship.
  4. to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.).
  5. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.

verb (used without object)

  1. to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.


  1. the act or an instance of surrendering.
  2. Insurance. the voluntary abandonment of a life-insurance policy by the owner for any of its nonforfeiture values.
  3. the deed by which a legal surrendering is made.

1425–75;  (v.) late Middle English surrendren  < Anglo-French surrender, Old French surrendre  to give up,equivalent to sur- sur-1  + rendre  to render; (noun) < Anglo-French; Old French surrendre,  noun use of theinfinitive


What maypopdo hope, passion and surrender have in common?  Why, the lowly yet lovely Passion Flower and fruit, of course!  This blog began with a “Maypop” flower, and over the course of the past two years I’ve watched my own vine grow, flower, and finally fruit this year.  My ‘homestead’ yard has begun to function and have the look of a true food forest, and the only items I now purchase from the store on a regular basis are coffee, milk (non-dairy), gluten-free flour, and cat food.  Oh, and wine—thus, my trips to the store are often punctuated by wry commentary on my ‘food’ choices…which, of course, I have to engage the cashier in conversation about my garden, because who wants to make the ‘crazy cat lady’ thing that obvious, really?

What about ‘surrender’, you ask?  That’s a wee bit more complex, and may I draw your attention to the first words of the definition above:  “to yield” and “to give”.  In permaculture we often speak in terms of yield—only it’s usually the outcome kind—here is an opportunity to explore the other kind of yield—the kind which could feel like ‘submit’ if not taken in proper context.  A couple of scenarios to illustrate:

  • Bully at school accosts you to forfeit your lunch money—
    your choices:

o   You surrender the money, and either go hungry or rely upon the kind
ness of strangers to feed you; or

o   You refuse, he beats you up, and takes the money anyway; or

o   You run, fast, to the principle’s office, in hopes of discouraging further graft.

Potential yields:

o   Hunger, perhaps a new friend or two, certainly a little wisdom.

o   A black eye.

o   School reputation as a ‘tattle-tale’, perhaps a spot on the track team.


So, what’s the point I’m trying to make here?  Maybe there is none, maybe this is just a rambling rant designed to clear my own head and it has absolutely no bearing on anyone else.  Or, perhaps I am still poking a stick at the concept of ‘surrender’, because, see—here’s the rub:  all of my spiritual friends will tell you that surrender is the way to peace, and they could be right—I mean, it’s certainly not very peaceful to allow a 2 ton machine to run over your body as it lies prone in the way of something deemed ‘progress’ by the dominant culture.  And yet, it’s no more peaceful to comply with rules which simply no longer make sense—ones that do more harm than good.

Here’s where I’m going to break in and interrupt my own musings, in order to shed some light on what brought me to here:  my dentist.  More specifically—the situation which took me to my dentist, which by the time I got there had me convinced I had a brain tumor, or something else equally as unpleasant.  I love my dentist, even if I can’t pronounce her first name—she said: “Good news!” and gave me high dose Ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, and a mouth guard.  Apparently, the stress of avoiding a ‘battle’ and attempting to comply had led me to grinding my teeth with a vengeance while I slept.

See, sometimes when we ‘try’ not to fight, we’re still fighting—we just hide it under the veil of our dream life.


So, I let go—it took about a week, but I slowly relinquished the grip I had on what ‘must be’, and took down the bloody Warka that had the county code enforcement officer, zoning director, engineering department, and god-only-knows who else in apparent chaos.  It just.wasn’t.worth.the.stress.  It needs a new home, my lily warka—I’m not giving up on the concept, because it is a good one—but, perhaps this slightly above-per-capita-average-income county is not quite ready for such innovations.  Yet.

For now, I am taking the advice of some very evolved people:


Peaceful Egg-in-a-Basket Breakfast

“Don’t give your energy, time, & attention to anyone with a clear investment in drama, victimhood & negativity. Be an atmosphere that evokes transformation & healing. Stop trying to “change” people who have taken out a mortgage in misery. The best way to impact change is by the example of our living. Meet people where they are, not where you are…and know that where they are is perfect on their unique path, and know that this does not make you better, special or greater than them or where they are with themselves…different not better. No one escapes the work that their soul came to do, so no need to police & judge. See them as Whole, separate the behavior from the Being and be clear we live in a Universe of Love, Perfect Order, & Harmony…surrender will restore harmony to chaos. Trust the Process and do not be fooled by appearances. See beyond circumstance and condition…let people BE. Stop trying to “rescue” people. Saving people is a conversation of your E.G.O…Save your self. Empower those that are open to your support and keep strong boundaries from toxic energy.
Be compassionate and exercise discernment with people…trust and yet still be wise. Serve people, don’t fix them, they are not broken…simply they have fallen asleep…you can’t want for another more than they want for themselves. Be the best you, that is the greatest gift you can offer the world.”  ~Judah Isvaran



Read the Permaculture Principles Series:

Introduction:  ”Unplugging”

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from patterns to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change


© Loretta Buckner, 2014, We Grow From Here

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Loretta Buckner and WeGrowFromHere.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.




Obtain a Yield

Category            Permaculture Principles

“You can’t work on an empty stomach.”

Any gardener is keenly aware of the end product they intend to harvest at the end of any season. Only a generation or so ago, it was commonplace for a family to supplement the food on their table quite heavily from their own gardens, particularly during time of war—you may be familiar with the “Victory Gardens” during the World Wars, or may even have parents or grandparents who did this. The yield from a garden is very simple: stretch the food budget, add vitamins and minerals to the diet, eat well. The ‘gazintas’ in this scenario are also pretty easy to see—a good gardener, after all, is a soil-tender, right? We know what the soil is to start with, and we augment with other essential nutrients for the plants to thrive. We give the plants enough water and light, and some sort of protection from predators. All are elements of the formula for ‘gardening’. The formula for larger-scale, or market gardening/farming is much the same—the desired yield in this case is one or more steps up—have enough harvest to sell to the public and obtain a yield in cash or trade. In permaculture, regardless of what system we are designing, our first desired yield must always be to provide for our own essential needs. Thus, if one gardens, one ought to expect a yield equivalent to a substantial portion of our food supply—75% at least, to have a resounding impact, both on household budget as well as the local market. Whether we choose to grow it ourselves or support a local farm or garden, our food supply needs to be the very top priority. The greatest possible impact on both our health and the health of the planet means the highest possible proportion of our food must be unpackaged and unshipped. Even so, in practice, I have observed that many people, having taken one or even more permaculture courses, may make a few minor changes in their lifestyle, but for all intents and purposes, go back to ‘business as usual’—slap a coat of paint on it, cover it with a band-aid. The most common post-PDC* scenario I have witnessed is the ‘fired-up activist’, who goes forth, waving his or her newly-stoked passion for the planet in anyone’s face they see, while stuffing their own with junk food–chemical-laden packaged products purchased at ‘big box’ stores.

They may attend many permie-style gatherings where seeds and plants and growing tips are exchanged, but the essential lifestyle and #1 priority is still a J.O.B. ‘to pay the bills’, and everything else comes second. The ‘second generation’ may still be dependent upon some parental input, financially, therefore have less debt and more personal freedom, but also far less experience actually putting food on the table. So, then, what is the desired yield of a PDC graduate? How can we expect any freshly coined permaculture designer to provide for their own needs, without going back to a J.O.B.?

Simple, really: teach them to fish. Or some other sustainable means of subsistence—whether it be growing food, creating some useful product, or teaching what they know and do best. The best teachers are the doers—those who have and do actually ‘walk the walk’—

Those Who Can, Do—Those Who Can Do More, Teach.

Thus the yield is far greater then 1 + 1 = 2, this is potential exponential growth—this is Fibonacci-style yield: 1+1+2+3+5+8+13+21+34. This is the process of nature, of natural patterns. When we keep things to ourselves, when the harvest is hoarded, ultimately we end up sitting on a huge pile of dung—ok, compost, maybe, but even that becomes useless if not utilized to nourish the soil and grow more plants. Does this mean that everyone must be a teacher? No—but those who do need to be acutely aware of the outcomes of their classes—the harvest from each and every student having basked in their light. This means that those who teach permaculture also need to be taking some responsibility for the skills which the students leave the class with, regardless of the tools they came in holding—by the time they walk out, they should have a fully-stocked toolbox. In our current economic climate, this toolbox must contain true ‘tools of the trade’, which means economic survival skills—a mindset for the self-employed. Those who graduate with a PDC had better be self-motivated and disciplined enough to get up in the morning and ‘feed the children’ or they will be hungry and the cupboards will be bare.


One of my absolute favorite highlights at the IPCC 11 (International Permaculture convergence) in Cuba last fall was one of the sessions, in which a young man (far too young for such wisdom, thought I), stood up and said: “I like to think in terms of yields—when I attend a class and might have otherwise been disappointed by the content, I look instead at what other outcomes there may have been. Often, the yield is patience.” The entire conference and convergence was just this sort of lesson for many, and most of all, a chance to break free of ethnocentricities. Sharing a ‘harvest’ in group sessions is how we become aware of the differences in perception. Everyone perceives things differently—four people may attend the same lecture and come away with four different observations. One of the most powerful tools any culture has is the arts, because of this factor of insight—have you ever shared a popular song interpretation with a group of friends? Try “Hotel California” sometime. Sharing these perceptions with others is also a crucial part of the creative learning process—case in point, recently we began poetry potlucks at the ‘Casa Seranita’ eCo-house, and these evenings have been not only entertaining, but certainly have helped simmer my own creative juices. Being in a group of people willing to bare their souls and expose their vulnerability doesn’t hurt, either—but that is for another post—for now, let us feast on this bountiful harvest! For the whole series of Permaculture Principles: Permaculture Principles: Unplugging

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from patterns to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

    *PDC: Permaculture Design Course

©Loretta Buckner, We Grow From Here, Inc. (No part of this may be reproduced without express permission of the creator.)