By Kerry Lark
TREVOR JOHNSON, THE FOUNDER OF NEW DAWN GARDENSCAPES LLC., is an energetic fellow with a genuine passion for plants and our planet, and a true educator at heart! His green industry education and experience is impressive and diverse, including:
• Student Teacher and Farmer at MSU’s Student Organic Farm 2003-2007
• Owner/Operator of New Dawn Gardenscapes LLC since 2006
• Awarded a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2006
• Earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Horticulture from Michigan State University in 2007
• Resident Farmer and Manager at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital since 2014
• Oakland County Food Policy Council Member since 2014
• Earning a Masters of Public Health Degree from Oakland University in 2022
What is permaculture? The word comes from combining “permanent” and “agriculture.” It is credited to Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, two educators who observed how the unsustainable methods employed by modern industrialized humans were destroying our planet. They became inspired by studying how our indigenous ancestors lived in better harmony with the earth and climate around them, so they published their ground-breaking book, Permaculture One in 1978. According to Mr. Mollison; “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature.”
The philosophy describes an approach of creating better designs for us to manage our land and resources, designs based on mimicking the successful ecosystems currently existing in nature. It starts with observing and understanding what makes nature succeed and then uses this knowledge as a template to implement a better way for humans to co-exist with the earth.
Permaculture doesn’t focus only on how human actions affect local air, water soil, animals and plants. Rather, it includes the effects our actions will have on ecosystems far away. Practitioners of permaculture call this “whole system thinking.”
Like all great ideas, permaculture has evolved and expanded drastically in the last 44 years, far beyond its rural roots to now including urban areas. It is urban areas that Trevor is focused on, using permacuture as his guide to improve the overall public health in local communities. Trevor embraces the importance of re-attaching the lost connections between people and plants, and the positive effect this has on human health.
We know that modern mega-farms waste precious non-renewable resources such as soil, water, minerals and nutrients. The short-term pain of the current high food prices and food shortages highlights this fact, but this is small potatoes compared to the long-term damage these negative practices are doing to the planet.
We can all help to restore our ecosystems, producing sustainable, self-reliant communities. Doing this will give future generations a better world, one that values and preserves its resources. The great Chief Seattle summed it up best long ago, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR A “NEW DAWN” AND A FRESH START FOR OUR PLANET. Sure, our local governments can help, but what are you going to do?
While you ponder that, keep in mind what Albert Einstein once said; “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything!”
To learn more about how permaculture can make a difference in your community, check out www.newdawngardens.org.