The garden and surrounding landscape have been the best places to experiment with permaculture designs and experience the changes over the years. Since 2004, the farm has undergone improvements one small step at a time.
Landscape management, conservative maintenance of woodland forest, reusing and reducing natural waste (manure, compost, wood chips, tree cuttings), appropriate budget practices, and using “green” elements, recycling, and promoting clean water have been apart of our permaculture design and/or a result of it.
Permaculture design principles highlight many different landscape solutions for creating a healthy environment, including zone planting and maintaining a wildlife corridor. Placing elements together that will mutually benefit each other and choosing locations that will save time and energy are permaculture design practices. Additionally, we’ve turned problems into solutions by working with nature rather than against it and continue to incorporate food plants into the garden to ensure a healthy and balanced ecosystem. A goal is to leave the natural environment alone and mettle as little as possible.
Premaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability Permaculture has been defined by David Holmgren (2002) as “Thinking tools that allow us to creatively re-design our environment and our behavior in a world of less energy and resources.”
Permaculture is unique among alternative farming systems (e.g., organic, sustainable, eco-agriculture, biodynamic) in that it works with a set of ethics that suggest we think and act responsibly in relation to each other and the earth. The ethics of permaculture provide a sense of place in the larger scheme of things, and serve as a guidepost to right livelihood in concert with the global community and the environment, rather than individualism and indifference.
“Permaculture integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture studies and applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics and community development.” http://permaculturenews.org/about-permaculture-and-the-pri/
Care of the Earth
…includes all living and non-living things—plants, animals, land, water and air
Care of People
…promotes self-reliance and community responsibility—access to resources necessary for existence
Fair Share: Setting Limits to Population & Consumption
…gives away surplus—contribution of surplus time, labor, money, information, and energy to achieve the aims of earth and people care
1. Observe and interact
2. Catch and store energy
3. Obtain a yield
4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
5. Use and value renewable resources and services
6. Produce no waste
7. Design from patterns to details
8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small and slow solutions
10. Use and value diversity
11. Use edges and value the marginal
12. Creatively use and respond to change
Ethics & Design Principles System Evolution:
Land & Nature Stewardship: agroforestry and nature-based forestry, keyline water harvesting, integrated aquaculture, bio-intensive gardening, organic agriculture, wild harvesting forest gardening and seed saving.
Build Environment: water harvesting and reuse, biotechture, natural building materials, owner-building, passive solar design, charcoal and wood gasification.
Tools & Technology: microhydro, hand tools, bicycle transport, reuse/recycling.
Culture & Education: home and Steiner education, reading landscapes, participatory arts and music, social ecology and action research.
Health & Spiritual Well-being: home birth, preventative health, holistic medicine, spirit of place, dying with dignity, yoga and other body/mind/spirit disciplines
Finances & Economics: energy accounting, ethical investment, community supported agriculture, fair trade products.
Land Tenure & Community: holistic rangeland management, native title, co-operatives /body corporates, conflict resolution, eco-villages/cohousing.
“Permaculture addresses the health of watersheds, as well as broadscale land restoration to revert desertification, loss of biodiversity, and soil erosion. Reversing the process of landscape degradation and pollution, permaculture design strategies repair watersheds, purifying water, reducing flood danger, slowing erosion, and increasing water availability. More often than not, the ability to accomplish these lofty goals lies in the patterns of the watershed itself. In permaculture we say, “the problem is the solution”, and in degraded watersheds the problem is erosion, which often exposes bare rock. This bare rock, rearranged in appropriate ways, is used as the solution to halt erosion, increase infiltration, and reestablish vegetation, leading to clear flowing water once again. With vegetation return other life forms and land begins its own restoration process.”