Andrew Martin left the fast-paced business world in order to live a more simple and sustainable life in balance with nature. He and his wife Beth bought five acres in Bay of Plenty, a region on the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and began growing a permaculture farm. In just three years it has turned into a lush oasis featuring a vegetable garden, fruit trees, a pond and wildlife habitats. His story was recently featured as the first segment of the Living the Change documentary film series by Happen Films.
The path to permaculture for Martin began in 2007 after watching the documentary “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash,” about peak oil and resource depletion. His interest in sustainability continued to rise as he conducted more research into energy and environmental issues and kept seeing permaculture as a holistic solution to modern society’s fragmented and environmentally destructive approach to living.
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Andrew and Beth’s neighbors say they can’t believe the amount of wildlife and birdlife that the permaculture project attracts, which Martin attributes to letting ecosystems flourish on their own rather than trying to control nature.
Martin’s advice is to start growing food. “Once you engage with growing and experiencing nature, then things start to happen. It’s like a flower. It starts growing, getting bigger. And then that leads to something else,” says Martin. They sustain themselves from the hundreds of fruit trees they’ve planted, the garden they tend to with kale, spinach, zucchini and more, eggs from the chicken yard, grapes from the vine and other organic edibles from the farm.
Says Martin: “This lifestyle of working on the land and doing permaculture feels more rewarding. With a lot of current society it’s take, take, take. With this sort of lifestyle I feel like this is long term. I’m putting something back.”
Images via Over Grow the System