The first step in practicing permaculture is to observe. So this week, let's start by observing nature. Take some time, step outside and observe everything around you. Look at sunlight patterns and the direction of plant growth. Are the plants in your area native and how does that affect their growth and care? Make note of where water collects on your property and where it comes from. Observe the phases of the moon and consider how that affects the natural world. Pay attention to insects and birds ... observe how their interaction with plants, animals and each other affects the environment. Then, come back here and report your findings. Were you surprised at anything you discovered? Will you make any changes based on your observations? We want to hear it all!
Our Daily Green had the incredible opportunity earlier this spring to hear about permaculture from a local expert at the Community Greenhouse Partners in Cleveland, Ohio. On a warm spring day, we toured their facilities and learned a bit more about their amazing mission, which is to:
...improve the quality of life of those around us by growing vegetables year round and selling them at low cost to urban families, employing local residents and teaching sustainability and earth science to young people.
Community Greenhouse Partners is a sustainable urban farm that applies ecological design principles and engages community participation to grow wholesome food year-round that is provided at low-cost to the neighborhood, improving personal health while generating training, mentoring and employment opportunities.Part of their long term plans are to encourage permaculture food forests. By strategic planting of trees and mounding the soil, permanent gardens will eventually fill the entire front lot of the farm. According to Ben Shapiro, site and composting manager, he looks forward to the day he will be "foraging, not farming." The food forest will be self maintaining through ecological design and engineering.
Permaculture depends on first observing the naturally occurring patterns. From Wikipedia:
In pattern application, permaculture designers are encouraged to develop an awareness of the patterns that exist in nature (and how these function) and how patterns can be utilized to satisfy the specific design needs of a specific site. "The application of pattern on a design site involves the designer recognizing the shape and potential to fit these patterns or combinations of patterns comfortably onto the landscape.
Future permaculture food forest at the
Community Greenhouse Partners location
|in the beginning: May 2012|
|a few short months later: Nov. 2012|
The more we've learned about permaculture, the more convinced this is the farm of the future. Less work, more food, less maintenance. Foraging, not farming. Sounds pretty good to us!