There is a Life after GEN
It is not better or worse – it is simply very, very different
Max Lindegger, permaculture activist and founder of Crystal Waters in Australia, has been involved in GEN for more than 20 years – indeed he was around when the idea was first mentioned by Hildur and Ross Jackson. Although Max has not been active in GEN or GENOA for a number of years, his own life is still very active in community. He shares with us what his life is looking like now.
Work for GEN/GENOA has taken me around many parts of this globe and the many friends I have made over the years are still close to me. These days my daily routine is very different. I spend a lot less time in my office. The only person I have working with me in the office is very part-time (yes, Robin Clayfield is still here).
I still mail out a monthly gardening News sheet and a seasonal Newsletter for beekeepers. From teaching many courses around the world I teach now one or two Permaculture courses a year as a fundraiser for our Crystal Waters Coop. I do very irregular consultancy work in the field of Ecovillages. I did a stint in China last year and have been asked to do some work in Vietnam this year.
From travelling many months a year I limit myself (out of choice and financial necessity), to two trips a year to volunteer in Cambodia. I mostly work in the same remote area not far from the Thai border with very poor farmers/refugees. I try to help in improving the water supply, food reliance, hygiene and economic wellbeing and, after 8 years, the improvements are there to be seen. This is incredibly satisfying and rewarding work which I plan to continue as long as I’m able (and as long as we can save the money for airfares).
Every second trip I try to include Manila in the schedule. In Manila I work with some old permaculture friends in a slum area. Trudi and I have been giving out some small loans but this is extremely difficult work with few positives but many disappointments.
Most of my time I spend at home. Trudi and myself still have some cattle. We don’t milk anymore but always have enough meat. We are keeping some poultry for eggs. The Pecan Nut trees we planted nearly 20 years ago have yielded 100’s of kg of nuts this year. Most are sold “in shell” but some we do shell as the return is much better. And Trudi makes a great Pecan Cake!
We also have a large garden and sell directly to the public – picked minutes before the harvest is collected by the customer. Our salad mix is well known. We mix up to 25 different leaves from the common vegetable to the rather rare and unusual.
Most of our hours are spent with our bees: taking care, harvesting honey, bottling the harvest and labelling, making up boxes and frames….and selling at two markets and the local IGA, our biggest buyer. Last year we produced about 3500 kg of honey. We also sell wax, beeswax candles and honey in the comb.
I attend about one meeting per month. Now this is a positive change!!
Most of our activities are within 1 km of our home. While we are always busy, I like the pace of work guided more by the sun and rain and the seasons than by a schedule.
I would miss the trips to Cambodia. I find that after so many years of travelling and teaching/consulting that these trips give me the stimulation I still need.
There is life AFTER GEN/GENOA. It is not better or worse – it is simply very, very different. I find it interesting that Hildur and Ross and Hamish and others have also decided to get a taste of the rural live. The view over our dam and river with the morning mist rising is definitely my preference over hours in boring and overly busy airports.
With my best wishes
Max ( and Trudi)