Sunday, May 17, 2015

Permaculture Ethics and Principals at Green Goddess Eco Farm

Permaculture Ethics and Principals at
Green Goddess Eco Farm
  • We value care of the Earth - kindness and compassion toward all of Earth’s inhabitants; sharing of permaculture information and ideas; building/rebuilding natural capital by implementation of permaculture systems, thereby ensuring healthy, diverse soils that support regenerative systems
  • We value care of People - care of ourselves, our family, neighbors and community; growing healthy food; growing medicinal plants; reinvestment of surplus (see below); teaching permaculture related classes; treating each other and all others with care and respect; inspiring others through our examples of sustainability and resilience
  • We value fair shares - reinvestment of surplus: information (Facebook, blog, demonstration & learning center, classes, farm stand, farmers markets, participation in Grange, community events, etc.); plant materials (composting, mulching, etc.); fair pricing (affordable vegetable, fruit and perennial plants, eggs, mushrooms, honey, herbs, etc.); money (supporting local businesses, planting perennial food systems, upgrading farm to clean energy, investing in health of family and animals)

  • We value observation before interaction - continuous, careful and thoughtful observation and interactions; looking at problems and seeing how we can turn them into solutions; observing nature’s solutions and designing them into our farm’s systems
  • We catch and store energy – rainwater collection; swales; hugelkultur mounds; ponds; thermal mass; photosynthesis; eventually solar and wind power
  • We value obtaining a yield (yield defined as more outputs than inputs) – minimum inputs to create overyielding polycultures of vegetables, nuts , fruits, herbs and fungi; fruit trees/shrubs and perennial plants; eggs and ducklings; mushrooms; honey; herbs; biomass and living mulches; compost; rainwater harvesting; ponds; aquatic plants, etc.
  • We value self-regulation and readily accept feedback – continuous observation and willingness to make changes; designing systems that are self-correcting; utilizing customer comments to ensure satisfaction
  • We value and use renewable resources – wood heat; eventually solar and wind power; smarter purchasing decisions; using reclaimed building materials
  • We value producing little to no waste – limitation of consumption and reinvestment of surplus; composting; vermicompost; recycling; reusing; growing our own foods and medicines
  • We value designing from patterns to details – design based on access and circulation/energy patterns; use and creation of microclimates
  • We value integration rather than segregation – we remember that everything is connected; we create positive loop systems; multifunctional solutions
  • We value multifunctional solutions – recognize and plan for multifunctionality in energy, food, medicine and other systems; utilizing plants/systems/materials with/for multiple functions (example: Duck ponds fertigate (irrigation with fertilized water) swales and food forest while adding beauty and attracting more beneficial insects and wildlife)
  • We value small and slow solutions to allow for observation, self-regulation and feedback
  • We value and use diversity – polycultures; multiple enterprises; habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife
  • We value the marginal and use edges – edges are where the action is, they are opportunities for diversity and transformation; we create many intentional edges, as we know that where two biomes meet there is 3x the diversity. (examples: microclimates, swales on contour, wavy edges & paths, hugelkultur mounds, ponds, forest edges, zones and sectors)
  • We creatively use and respond to change – climate change-planting for a zone down (crops for zones 3 and 4a); planning for sustainable future before peak oil; self-regulation and feedback
  • We value redundancy and self-reliance moving toward sustainability in food; water; energy; fertility; medicine; multiple systems; multiple enterprises

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What is Permaculture?

What is Permaculture? 

When I found Permaculture (2012ish), my life was forever changed. I had finally pushed aside the branches and stepped onto the path I had been searching for. A name had already been given to my carefully developing philosophy. Not only was there a name for this incredible collective of principals, ethics, and actions. There was this whole community of people, all over the world, who share a multitude of similar values, hobbies, and general way of life! I was immediately addicted to articles and videos labeled Permaculture. One amazing topic turned into the next. The tabs on my web browser piled up to the point where they were testing the limits of Firefox. 

So what the heck is Permaculture anyway? At its most basic, it is a set of simple ethics and principals (posts to come). The implications and applications of which could literally change the world. I'm talking reverse climate change and create a truly sustainable planet where all of the people, animals, plants, fungi, etc live completely healthy lives together. All of our needs; healthy whole food, water, housing, medicine, energy and so on, would be met. However answering the What is Permaculture question is not as simple. Since a lot of people have answered this question amazingly well, I will share some quotes to help define Permaculture. 

"Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way." - Graham Bell, The Permaculture Way

"Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements.  It is a philosophy and an approach to land use which weaves together microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soil, water management, and human needs into intricately connected, productive communities" - Bill Mollison (co-creator of Permaculture)

"The word permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison and myself in the mid-1970’s to describe an integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.

A more current definition of permaculture, which reflects the expansion of focus implicit in Permaculture One, is ‘Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs.’ People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture." - David Holmgren (co-creator of Permaculture)

“Permaculture is not a thing. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a process of design. And the word Permaculture comes from permanent and agriculture. And it’s putting those things together & asking the question: Can we create a permanent agriculture? Not permanent in the sense of concrete, but permanent in the sense that it is built upon, and grounded in the resilient diversity of how ecosystems work. And it’s also a permanent culture, in the sense that culture can become something that is grounded in the real resilience of biology.” – Andrew Faust from the film Inhabit

“A conceptual framework and decision-making system, formalized to a large extent initially by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, that is aimed at the development of human systems fitting into more-than-human (“natural”) systems in synergistic ways such that the health of both is increased. Permaculture, in contrast to most gardening or farming views, yields as a logical side benefit of ecosystem partnering, not as a singular goal. In this way, permaculture doesn’t truly aim to grow “crops” but to promote vigor in whole systems.” - Ben Falk – The Resilient Farm and Homestead

Permaculture is applied common sense. Beyond sustainability. A design system that seeks to meet human needs while increasing human health. Interdependent in a way that benefits ecosystems. - Derived from my notes from a lesson led by the amazing Mark Krawcyzk, during the Whole Systems Skills Permaculture Design Course, July 2014. Other teachers and classmates participated in creating the list. 

Some of the subjects that turn us Permies (Permaculture Geeks) on are organic gardening/sustainable agriculture, biointensive gardening (mixed with healthy doses of Permaculture), holistic farming, holistic orchards, agroforestry aka food forests/forest gardens, guilds, water storage (swales, ponds, dams, cisterns, rainwater catchment, greywater, etc), hugelkultur, land restoration, alternative energy (solar, wind, hydro, biodiesel, wood burning stoves, biogas digesters, rocket mass heaters,
etc), natural building (and here) (earthbag, cob, earthships, wofati, etc), conservation,  bees and beneficial insects, rotational grazing, livestock and poultry, fungi, silviculture, silvopasture, coppice agroforestry, keyline design & plowing (moving water from valleys toward ridges)