David Sugalski, an electronic music composer who is also known by his artist name, the Polish Ambassador, is using his music tour around the country to spread knowledge about permaculture. His latest album, Pushing through the pavement, is about building a sustainable world together.
Music and permaculture: interesting combination! Where did you get the idea to mix those?
“When you travel around the world as much as I do, you start to gain a different perspective. I’ve looked around and, specifically in America, I notice a lack of reverence for the earth. I go to a lot of big parties, events and festivals, and people are celebrating, but what exactly are they celebrating? Festival culture all began with harvests, where people busted their ass for weeks, and that culminated in a community celebration known as a festival. I wanted to take some responsibility. We all are a part of the earth, we should take care of it, and that drove me to dive into permaculture.”
But why permaculture? Why is that important for you?
“To me it is like working with all the elements of the earth. There’s a lot of fulfillment in that. It’s a great predecessor for community projects, like planting fruit trees with your friends. If more people were farming, there would be a lot more independence in this world. The idea of reconnecting with what’s really important and becoming more independent—that’s what brings me to permaculture.”
Can we also find ecological inspiration in your music?
“Yes, as an artist, my musical process is very reflective of my current emotional state. Pushing through the pavement is the first record where almost every track is a collaborative track with another musician. This is how I acknowledge that we need to build on this world together. I can’t do it by myself. So there are the usual electronic elements to the music, but it’s hard to define it as an electronic album, because I tried to build a bridge with soul, hip-hop, and many other styles.”
In your daily life, how do you work with permaculture?
“Over the past eight years, I saved up enough money to purchase a ten-acre parcel in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada of Northern California. The intention of the project is to establish Jumpsuit Farms, an artist residency and permaculture impact center that supports musicians, farmers and the local community. We’re still in the early stages of the development of the farm. We’re just now getting the soil ready for next season.”
So what’s going to happen during the Permaculture Action Tour?
“We’re going to inspire and educate people about how we can make a shift toward a more sustainable way of living. We’re traveling to over 30 cities during the tour, asking our fans to help out with some work. For example, in Portland we’re going to help out with a natural building project; in Denver we’re going to create a community garden out of an abandoned piece of land; and so on. We’ve also linked up with a team of permaculture teachers, urban farmers and community organizers, and we’ll be teaching permaculture at shows through spoken word and video. In every city, we want to leave a positive trace.”
The Polish Ambassador will be touring from Sept. 30 to Nov. 8. | Find out more: permacultureaction.org