Redefining Roundup

Roundup.

The infamous herbicide used in agriculture, spreading weed-killing glyphosate on soils worldwide.

Owned by Monsanto, which also happens to be the company that produces genetically modified seeds which are tolerant to the chemicals in Roundup. Thus, everything is modified.

At first glance it might not seem so harmful: using a molecule to get rid of persistent weeds – no back bending, no fiddling around with little roots. Quite convenient, even. But it’s not and it can’t be that simple.

It’s increasingly agreed that glyphosate is harmful to the human body, as well as to the insects and species which it contaminates. Maybe you’ve heard about the astounding loss of insects in the last few years.

But anyway, this post isn’t about doom and gloom rambling.

Short story: roundup bad, nature good.

Sometimes when words have negative connotations, they get reclaimed by the groups whom they’re aimed to offend. As permaculturalists, Roundup is one of those taboo words. As such, it made total sense to name our new permablitz group ‘Permaculture Roundup’.

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Digging in

There are a few different people, mostly couples, here in El Valle who are doing different permaculture projects. Inspired by some ideas over summer, Nik decided to organise our own ‘permablitz’ (or Roundup as we now call it). This involved inviting everyone over to our house, asking them to bring shovels, azadas, a plate of food and their good selves.

People came, and it was the least stressful work day ever. It was so much fun, and so much got done so quickly.

Before:

During:

After:

We built some terraces in order to make the steep land more plantable and manageable. Later we sprinkled this with a mix of  ‘cover crops’ or ‘green manure’: seeds that will protect the soil and add nutrients to it whilst we’re not using it for vegetables. When the time comes we will chop them down and use them as mulch.

Some of the gang also got to work coppicing hazel, sawing down big trunks to let light in to the garden. Everyone was doing something.

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Resourceful

We varnished the boards before putting them into the soil so they’d last longer.

Then, when it started to rain at about 2pm, we came inside and ate a collective feast of all the dishes people had brought. There were about 12 of us in the end, some people came who didn’t have a project, they just wanted to be involved because they liked the idea.

Since then, we’ve done two more. Helping Gerald, Noemi and Oscar lower the floor in their house and digging a pond and swales for Signe, Tarje, Roar and Liv.

Above: Gerald, Noemi & Oscar’s.

Below: Tarje, Signe, Roar & Liv’s.


It’s been so healing to work with such creative, knowledgeable people on projects similar but different to ours. Life in the Asturian mountains can get isolating at times, with the language barrier and the distance from people, but this group has really helped to make us feel like a part of something bigger than ourselves.

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Post work-out socialising

So, if you have a garden or a piece of land which could benefit from multiple pairs of hands, why not round up some friends and exchange your power to help each other out? Share food, share knowledge, and regenerate the earth.

´Til next time,

Peace and Pollen x

2 thoughts on “Redefining Roundup

  1. Pingback: Febrero – Pollen

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