Permie spotlight: Carin Clegg

Carin Clegg

Carin Clegg is our intrepid leader – the current President of Permaculture Central Coast. In a year when COVID turned our worlds upside down, Carin kept PCC moving ahead and thriving. She has been a member of PCC for three years and has played an active role in the group for most of that time. Last year Carin presented a session on Waste Free living.

In her professional life, Carin is an accredited practicing Dietitian and is the director of Bright Diets. Carin has a real zest for living life to the fullest. In her spare time she loves to be creative, do all sorts of outdoor activities, dancing, yoga and learning new skills at Roundabout Circus.

This month she is in our Permie Spotlight.

1. When and how did you find Permaculture?

I found out about Permaculture only about 3 to 4 years ago when I had recently moved up the coast from Sydney and attended a Central Coast Council worm farm and composting workshop by Therese Rutherford. One of the attendees mentioned the PCC information nights. At the workshop I remember thinking I know a lot about green living already and would love to share my knowledge like Therese is doing.

It was not until later that year when I attended the Sustainability tent at Long Jetty Festival, where I listened to Kerry Anderson’s talk on Permaculture, that I found out about PCC and then attended an information night. Honestly, I don’t remember much about what Kerry spoke about as it was probably not really new information to me, but what she said must have made me think yes, this is what I am really into and I want to get more involved. I think I am one of those people who have been doing Permaculture for a long time and didn’t realise it had a name.

2. What Permaculture training / studies have you undertaken?

I have not done any Permaculture training specifically. I am a practical person who appreciates doing things the traditional or slow way because I value the process and can often find more reasons to do it that way.

I did physics in high school and studied nutrition in uni which included the subjects of biology, chemistry, microbiology, agricultural chemistry, psychology. So I think as a scientist and someone who works with people to promote their self care, I understand a lot of the Permaculture principles. I have attended different workshops, festivals and talks on green living and have made lots of environmentally friendly changes to my lifestyle and started to get more involved in advocating for the environment. Now I plan to include environmental education as part of my work.

3. How has Permaculture changed you / your life?

I think knowing the name Permaculture for the way I do things, and being part of PCC life has helped me live more sustainably, rethinking and adapting the way I do things continuously, helped me learn and and share my new found knowledge, skills and material objects. And this makes me happy.

4. What has been your biggest ‘aha’ Permaculture moment?

It is actually a number of instances about working with nature and not against it. First learning that chemicals are not needed to have a healthy thriving garden, rather diversity and doing things the organic way.

Then, when Pat Collins spoke at PCC on useful weeds and they have a purpose and can tell you about what is going on in the garden/soil.

More recently my ‘Aha’ Permie moment was from Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture book, when he spoke of how the monoculture of agriculture has developed and gave rise to pests and diseases and the need for chemicals. Just thinking of this on a global scale made me realise how much of an impact humans have had on our Earth and how important it is for each and everyone of us to try to restore the natural balance of things.

5. Is there any Permaculture principle or aspect of Permaculture that resonates most with you?

I think Earth care continues to resonate with me. Even People care and Fair share, I feel connected to this. The human race are part of the Earth and continue to do so much damage. We can’t look after the Earth if we are not looking after each other and sharing what we have to lessen the impact on Earth. We rely on The Earth for everything to survive and have the intelligence to see what we have done to cause damage to the soil, flora and fauna, and also have the intellect to fix these problems and care for the Earth on a global scale.

The more of Earth that we can care for the better, not only the place we own or rent, but extend that to our verge, street, neighbours, friends, relatives garden and even looking after bushland and rainforests worldwide.

Carin is the President of Permaculture Central Coast.
She is an accredited practicing Dietitian and Director of Bright Diets