The Story So Far

about_opt_2Hi – my name is Pam Marshall. I’m the creator of The Self-Sufficiency Shoppe and the ‘Living in Harmony with the Planet’ Workshops and author of ‘The Shoppe’ publications.  Here’s a little about me…..

I was born and raised in country South Australia.  After leaving school I went to the ‘big city’ (Adelaide) to pursue a career. I first trained and worked as a general nurse before venturing into the psychiatric field – which I enjoyed and remained for 10 years. But something yearned inside me for a more ‘earth-connected’ and self-sustained ‘occupation’, so in 1986 I left full-time work and pursued a (less reliable) ‘career’ as a writer of topics related to self-sufficiency and environmental responsibility.

During those years I researched and published over 100 publications. I have continued to be an avid writer and researcher of all things ‘alternative’.

The Environment

From my youth I have felt concerned about the plight of the environment.  The planet has limitations on how long it will be able to sustain the human race and it’s environmentally extravagant ‘consumer lifestyle’.  The problem has originated from the fact that short-term ‘profit and progress’ have become far more important than protecting the environment for our future.  I believe the basic skills of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and resourcefulness (i.e. working with the planet as opposed to against it) are vital for our future survival as a community.

Even in my short life, I have noticed a significant change in the natural habitat and wildlife. As a small child I would catch tadpoles in pools of water by the side of the road – today, due to changes in the natural environment, tadpoles are a rarity and echidnas, that were once a source of great delight, have long since disappeared. Where eucalypts flourished now remains soil of high salinity and deteriorated native trees and scrub-land.

So, having given up a career in full-time nursing to fulfill a driving ambition to ‘work for the planet’ in 1989 I came across the idea of a ‘self-sufficiency shop’ based upon the ‘back-to-basics’ and self-sufficiency concepts of my writings.   Over that time I have developed The Shoppe through various phases – from publications to offering stock and basic materials to products and more recently – the ‘Living in Harmony with the Planet’ Workshops.

Establishing the Workshops:

In 2004 I was invited by my local Community Centre to run workshops along the theme of my back-to-basics writings. The workshops quickly became quite popular.  Since then I have extended the range of workshops to offer sixteen different topics.  I now spend the majority of my time running workshops at various suburban Adelaide and country venues – for councils, community centres, community groups, business and groups/associations.

I attribute, in part, the success of the workshops to the six years of my nursing career spent co-ordinating a rehabilitation unit.  The unit’s focus was on alternative approaches to dealing with health issues.  An important part of its programme was  ‘group-work’ on social and living skill development.  Many of my clients at the time were facing surviving on a low income – I became adept at finding ways to teach people how to live frugally (but comfortably).  My learning and experiences in this area have proved invaluable in making the ‘Living in Harmony with the Planet Workshops’ successful.  Educating’ people about the simplicity of self-sufficiency and environmental responsibility has been a very pleasurable experience.  The look of surprise on people’s faces when they make or use something that is ‘cheap and simple’ is wonderfully encouraging.  They are genuinely surprised.  It reflects the huge impact consumerism and commercialism has had on people’s lives.

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