Rob Avis, Dari Perusahaan Minyak Menuju Kebun Permakultur (Alberta, Kanada)

“Aku tumbuh di lingkungan pabrik kue. Kami membuat ribuan kue tiap hari yang dikirim ke Walmart, Safeway, Costco, dan swalayan-swalayan besar lainnya. Lalu dari industri makanan aku pindah ke industri energi dan mulai bekerja di sebuah perusahaan minyak yang mengirim produknya ke seantero Amerika dan Kanada.

Kuingat betul saat masih aktif di perusahaan minyak, begitu banyak masalah. Aku memang menikmati pekerjaan itu, namun kurasa itu semua hanya untuk mempertahankan status quo (baik sosial maupun ekonomi). Lalu kumulai mempelajari tentang teori ‘peak oil’, perubahan iklim, dan isu-isu global lainnya. Aku sadar bahwa industri-industri besar tak ada yang serius memperhatikan semua isu itu.

Kemudian aku menonton video buatan Geoff Lawton bertajuk ‘Greening The Desert’. Aku tergugah, ternyata masih ada orang yang menggunakan waktu dan tenaganya untuk membuat perubahan di dunia ini. Lalu aku berbisik pada diriku sendiri, “Jika aku punya 600.000 jam jatah hidup, maka aku sudah membakar sepertiganya. Tinggal 400.000 jam lagi sisanya, bagaimana akan kugunakan sisa waktu itu? Apa pencapaian yang akan kubanggakan di akhir hayatku?”

Maka aku dan istriku memutuskan berhenti dari pekerjaan kami. Lalu kami mulai keliling dunia. Hal pertama yang kami lakukan adalah mempelajari serba-serbi energi terbarukan. Kami pergi ke Denmark selama enam bulan ke sebuah institut energi terbarukan. Di Denmark, kami melihat bahwa sudah ada teknologi yang mencukupi saat ini untuk menyokong energi seluruh dunia. Namun selama di Calgary, saat kami masih bekerja di perusahaan minyak, semua orang mengatakan hal itu tidak mungkin. Ternyata memang orang-orang lebih memilih mempercayai sesuatu sebab tergantung dengan pekerjaan dan gajinya.





Setelah itu kami melancong ke beberapa negara Afrika, Kanada, Amerika, Meksico, hingga Australia. Kami menghabiskan waktu dan sisa uang kami untuk melatih kembali (reskill) diri kami. Salah satunya adalah reskill tentang pertanian regeneratif. Perjalanan keliling dunia membuat kami paham bahwa masalah energi terbarukan sebenarnya bisa diatasi. Kami menyadari bahwa kita semua makan tiga kali sehari, dan kebiasaan makan itu sungguh merupakan perilaku destruktif sebagai suatu spesies makhluk hidup. Apa yang kita makan, bagaimana menumbuhkannya, serta bagaimana kita memperlakukan lingkungan pertanian sangat berpengaruh besar.

Pertanian telah menghasilkan gas dari efek rumah kaca ke atmosfer, lebih banyak daripada bahan bakar minyak yang telah dibakar sejak dahulu kala. Setelah menonton video Geoff Lawton, kami tahu bahwa kami harus mengubah haluan karir kami. Namun saat itu kami masih tidak mau berseberangan dengan industri minyak, sebab di situlah kami bekerja. Tapi setelah tiga tahun kami melancong keliling dunia, akhirnya kami berubah haluan total. Kami pulang dan memulai membangun kebun. Lalu seiring pengalaman, kami menyadari bahwa kita semua bisa menghasilkan bahan pangan dalam jumlah yang sangat mencukupi di lahan yang benar-benar terbatas.

Aku tinggal bersama ibu mertua. Kemi menanam di kebun selama musim panas, dari bulan Juni sampai akhir Oktober. Kami menanam di halaman depan dan belakang rumah. Tiap jengkal tanah yang memungkinkan, kami tanami tanaman di situ. Tidak hanya tanaman pangan, ada juga tanaman obat dan rempah-rempah. Kami manfaatkan setiap jengkal tanah semampu kami untuk menanam bahan pangan. Hal ini sangat membantu kami menghemat pengeluaran, dan ternyata hal ini sangat berpengaruh positif terhadap kesehatan kami sekeluarga.

Alasan pertama aku memilih tanaman pangan untuk ditanam adalah sebab pemenuhan nutrisinya. Di keluarga kami ada dua anak kecil, aku dan istriku melakukan semua ini demi kesehatan kami terutama kesehatan anak-anak kami.  Alasan kedua, kami bukan petani asli dan kami tinggal di lingkungan kota dengan lahan sempit. Namun kami terus berupaya menginspirasi orang-orang yang datang dan melihat betapa melimpahnya bahan pangan yang kami hasilkan.





Kami mengajarkan 1 hingga 3 kelas permakultur tiap tahun. Setiap satu dolar yang kuhasilkan, ada puluhan ribu hubungan yang tercipta. Kami juga bergabung di Calgary Permaculture Community Guild. Kami juga ambil bagian dalam acara mingguan bernama Seedy Saturday untuk saling berbagi ilmu dan pengalaman. Permakultur benar-benar menjadi tren di seantero Alberta selatan.

Kini kami sedang berupaya membeli petak kecil atau lahan pertanian, sehingga kami bisa memperluas lahan tanam kami serta menghasilkan lebih banyak bahan pangan untuk keluarga dan kerabat kami. Kami ingin menunjukkan bukti dan mendorong semua orang agar mau dan mampu menciptakan keberlimpahan pangan dalam hidupnya masing-masing.”

Artikel ini disadur dengan ijin dari fanpage facebook Humans Who Grow Food. Berikut ini artikel aslinya;

Meet Rob Avis and Michelle St.Cyr-Avis from Calgary, Alberta, Canada 🇨🇦
"I grew up in a cake factory. I'm actually "Charlie and the chocolate factory"! We made thousands of cakes every day and supplied to Walmart, Safeway, Costco and similar retail food chains. Later on I moved from the food industry to the energy industry and started working for an oil and gas company supplying oil and natural gas to customers across Canada and United States.
I remember working in the oil industry and feeling like there were lot of problems. I enjoyed my job but I felt that I was just maintaining the status quo. I started learning about peak oil, climate change and a series of other global issues and I realized that no one in the industry was actually addressing those concerns.
Then I came across Geoff Lawton‘s video "Greening the desert" and I realized that here is a guy who is using every hour of his life and energy in changing the world. And I thought to myself "If I've got 600,000 hours of life and if I have burnt through one third of it, how do I want to spend the last 400,000 hours of my life and what do I want to say that I have achieved at the end of my life?" So my wife and I quit our jobs and decided to travel around the world.
First thing we did was we learned about renewable energy. We went to Denmark for six months to a renewable energy institute. We recognized when we were in Denmark that there is enough technology right now to repower the entire world but in Calgary when we were working in the gas industry, everybody was saying it wasn't possible. This was the first run-in with substantial confirmation bias – people believing what they believe because of their jobs and salaries depending on that belief. After that we traveled to parts of Africa, most of Europe, across Canada, United States, Mexico, Australia. We spent our money and our time reskilling ourselves. Part of that reskilling meant learning regenerative agriculture.
Travel around the world made us realize that renewable energy was totally a problem that could be solved. We started then recognizing that we all eat three times a day and that our eating habits are actually the most destructive things we do as a species. What we eat, how we grow and how we engage with agroecology has a huge impact.
Agriculture has put the most amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when compared to all fossil fuels burned combined since we started burning fossil fuels as a species. After seeing Geoff Lawton's video we knew that we had to change careers. But we did it in a way that was not against the oil and gas industry, because we liked our jobs… it was more about working towards a future that we wanted. After we traveled for three years, we came back and we started to garden and as we started going through the experience, we recognized that we can grow an incredible amount of food and build topsoil in a really, really small space.
We live with my mother in law. We grow our food during the summer from June until mid to end of October. We grow in our backyard and front yard; every space that we can possibly grow a plant has food growing on it. And not just food, but also medicine, a lot of herbs. We’re using all the space we can so that saves us tons of money, but more importantly, what people don't realize about gardens big or small is that it is not so much the volume of food that you produce but it is the microbes and the nutrient density in the food you grow that will really impact your overall health.
My number one reason to grow food is the nutrient density. We have two little kids, and my wife and I do it for our health and the health of our children. Number two – we aren't actually farmers, we live in a city with a small plot of land. But we try to inspire people so in a way we are farming inspiration and empowerment so when people come and see how much food we can grab from a really small lot, it has a dramatic impact on their willingness and decisions to grow food.
We teach 1 to 3 permaculture design courses a year. For every dollar I have in the bank, I’ve got ten thousand in relationships. We are also part of the Calgary Permaculture Community Guild, which works to empower Calgarians and Southern Albertans towards creating a permaculture future for everybody. We also take part in a weekly event called Seedy Saturday, where we get a booth to interact and share with people. Lot of the people who take part in Seedy Saturday are past students which is nice to see. Permaculture is really spreading virally throughout Southern Alberta.
We’ve been working towards buying a small acreage or farm for a number of years now, and it seems like it is getting closer so ideally we're going to scale up and produce more food for ourselves and also for our immediate family. We want to create more demonstration and empowerment so people can learn to create abundance within their lives"
THIS ARTICLE IS ADAPTED WITH PERMISSION FROM ‘HUMANS WHO GROW FOODS’ FACEBOOK FANPAGE.

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