Feeling trapped in his life and the rat race, Joshua Baker was interested in pursuing something he was passionate about. His wife took an Introduction to Permaculture course and she felt so empowered by the course that she told him that he had to take the Permaculture Design Certificate course (in the Spring of 2011). “We felt that I could use a design course to really propel a home business and move into the direction we wanted for our lives. Once I really started looking into permaculture, I realized that there is no other option for our planet.”
It was a love of local food, and empowering people to make positive changes in their lives, that propelled Joshua Baker to start his business, Radicle Routes Permaculture. In speaking about the industrial food system, Joshua’s enjoyment of Deconstructing Dinner (a radio broadcast out of Nelson, BC) began his reflection when he “started to look through the ‘looking glass’ and saw a corrupt world industry that fed off of people’s indifference, apathy, laziness or circumstances. I don’t blame anyone for not knowing what is really going on… But I feel the need to show them and subsequently empower them to make a difference in their own lives first. Once this happens, their communities will be affected too.”
Joshua’s passions go beyond food, however. His thoughts about garbage have been transformed since the PDC and is now “an avid upcycler, finding surplus materials and figuring out a way to fit them into my projects.” Last year, he built a 210 square foot greenhouse in his backyard with up-cycled and bartered materials for about $500. He also loves dispelling people’s preconceived notions about what can grow in Calgary, by telling them to visit the Calgary Zoo to see kiwis, bananas and papayas growing.
The favourite unit that Joshua had in the PDC was pattern recognition. Not only did he begin to notice patterns in nature but also in people’s lives. “Once you can start to identify patterns, you can see how nature deals with ‘problems’ and apply them to your own ecosystem. In my head, however, it’s gone a step further. I now recognize tendencies and characteristics in people and can identify the patterns in their lives that make them who they are… this perspective has helped me begin to correct poor behaviors in my own life and create personal momentum as well.”
The response to Radicle Routes Permaculture’s ideas and projects have been mixed. “The like-minded people are easy to inspire…. But so many people are too afraid of change or finding out that they have been thinking in a wrong way for a long time. The best way I have found to inspire everyone is to feed them.”
Currently, Joshua’s main focus is on rainwater harvesting/distribution and teaching. In the future, he hopes that Radicle Routes will displace his current profession of safety officer/ project manager/ estimator/ human resource manager for a small shallow utility installation contractor so that he can focus his efforts on full time Earth repair projects. Additionally, he has a dream of starting his own training center in a rural environment. This location would be able to demonstrate a fully self-sustaining community and give people tools to implement permaculture and lost skills like “hunting, growing food, canning for winter etc… these skills will be very important in the coming years.”
Radicle Routes Permaculture is always looking for help with projects and installations. These projects range from shoveling and growing to conduit installations and rainwater harvesting. In return for helping with projects, Joshua gives personal instruction, hands-on experience, and immediate feedback and interaction opportunities with clients.