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!!!!!!!! Why do you grow food using permaculture?

 
gardener
Posts: 1772
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Hello!

As many of you know I write blog posts weekly on my site Wild Homesteading. These posts are focused on helping people to grow their own food and build their homestead by working with nature. I want to make sure that my site and posts are written in a way that really will help people who visit.

And you can help me do that! Please take a moment to answer these 2 questions and if you do I got an apple waiting for you!

Question 1: Why do you want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment?

Question 2: What's the hardest part about it?

Your answers will really help me make sure the content on Wild Homesteading is helpful for you and others!

Thank you!
 
pollinator
Posts: 3123
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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1) I want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment because it's better for me, because the product is better and cheaper, and you feel good about not contributing to all the commercial food badness. Eating is a thing we all need to do. It's not like some things that, while difficult to do without in some cases, you could manage without and keep living, like driving a car versus using public transit or a bicycle.

2) The hardest part about it is seasonality, I think, unless it's the SQUIRRELS! Seriously, urban pests are a pain in the fundament. I will add to that the difficulties of gardening in urban spaces without adequate sunlight, and making choices based on shade-tolerance.

-CK

 
Posts: 525
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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1. Sustainable food production and a reduction in my ecological footprint, particularly in regards to food miles and nasty chemicals used in mass production.

2. Working in a profession unrelated to food production means TIME is a critical factor - the seasons seem to come and go so fast! In our warm climate, growing things may not be as challenging as colder climes, but, that just means it's almost a 365 day opportunity (potential workload). Additionally, one of the hardest parts is using all the food e.g. An apple tree produces a LOT of apples, and if you're not interested in selling or using them to feed livestock, then it can be problematic if there's no bartering opportunities around.

 
Posts: 1978
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm lazy. Is that an acceptable answer? lol Traditional food crop growing is pretty labor intensive with the weeding and watering and on and on. I'd rather put a bunch of labor in up front so I don't have to put as much in every year. I've done crazy earth works and watching them fill with water brings me happiness.


As for the second question it's my climate. We are high, dry, windy and cold. Everything is stacked against me being able to grow anything.
 
Posts: 50
Location: Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (7b)
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I want to grow food and regenerate the environment. I see this as an investment for everyone. If I improve the soil and the environment around me, and the land I steward - wildlife, insects, my family, and the community will reap the benefits - hopefully for generations. It’s an investment for everyone!


The hardest part is waiting. Growing trees from seed, or watching my annuals fail can be simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. On one hand, I’m learning from these experiences and experiments, but on the other — I’d love to taste those apples and plums NOW!
 
Posts: 307
Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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The world is a most interesting place, filled with all sorts of connections and unities and Spirit. It's not so much that we grow food that's good for the environment, it's more that we grow food that is part of the environment. We recognize that the Stones have a point of view, and the Animal People, and the Plant People. They want to live their lives in a happy and fulfilling and learning way, just as we do. The Nature Spirits and Fairies also have their ways and needs and wants and gifts and lessons to teach. We want, ~~we need, to be a part of that. Recognizing that there are all sorts of other Peoples that inhabit this wonderful Earth. And that if we join with Them we will help co-create the Earth as Garden, as it once was, and still is in places. It is what is most healthy and uplifting for All the Peoples of Earth.

The only "hard" part of this is the Remembering. The Remembering that we are a simple part of the Whole. And all of life and the living of life extends much beyond our sometimes small Human focus.
 
pioneer
Posts: 1158
Location: 4b
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1)  Growing food in a way that is good for the environment is a side effect of growing food in a way that is good for me.  I want to eat food that is grown without poisons, so I do my best to create good, healthy, living soil to do that.  I help nature as much as I'm able, and nature helps me.  It's a win/win.

2)  The hardest part for me is growing dealing with the climate here.  Our growing season is much shorter than some.  We have long cold winters, and being in zone 4, many things I would like to grow struggle or simply don't survive here.  My variety is necessarily less than in a warmer climate.  Much more food has to be grown in a shorter time and then storage has to be accounted for.  Canning is a great way, but it's pretty time consuming.  Freezing is great, but dependent on things outside my control.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 580
Location: South of Capricorn
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1) reducing the footprint- I like things that are not common here, so growing them makes it so I don't have to import them from another continent. And as permies know, once you start you end up going down the rabbit hole.... a worm bin turns into an urban farm with rabbits and bokashi....  Plus it's cheaper than therapy!

2) the hardest part is adapting all the info out there to my climate and region. I'm out of sync with most of the gardening wisdom out there, since I'm southern hem, and even for Australian resources our "mini-seasons" don't generally match up in terms of precip and sustained cool or warm weather. I get too much rain for compost to stay aerobic, I have bugs that nobody else has ever heard of, etc etc. Bright side, it means I must experiment, and sometimes I learn cool things (tomatoes grow here better in the winter, for example). Learning keeps me happy.
 
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: San Diego, California
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Ranked in terms of importance to me (although I'm sure "objective" importance could be greatly debated)

Food/Material production to eat/use/sell
Fun!
Shade
Family time AND break from family time
Improve the soil
Pride of accomplishment/"making" something
Oxygen production/Carbon sequestration
Wildlife Habitat
 
gardener
Posts: 689
Location: Western Washington
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1. Permaculture gives me a sense of security and empowerment. Security because it creates a system that can withstand economic and social turmoil, and empowerment because it gives me a practical way of working on issues like climate change. It gives me an avenue to provide for future people, including my family, which is important to me.

2. The challenging thing is being a bridge between the people I love and a more sustainable future. These last months I've really done a lot of outreach with churches, temples, and friends, and meeting people where they are has been hard but productive.
 
gardener
Posts: 1121
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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I was raised by an "environmentalist" before the word was common, and gardening was part of our lifestyle. Moving from Ont to a Wet Coast property with huge trees has changed what grows easily but opened up options I wouldn't have had where we used to live. I believe that growing with nature improves the nutritional value of what I can grow, and the micro-nutrients available in the food. I wish I could grow a greater percentage of the calories I eat, but the lack of sunshine and animal pressure pushes back hard. I have really enjoyed adding helpful companions around fruit trees that the former land-owners had surrounded by grass. I've enjoyed experimenting with uncommon fruit/berries looking for fruit that will do well on my property.
 
Posts: 278
Location: South Central Kansas
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Daron Williams wrote:Hello!

As many of you know I write blog posts weekly on my site Wild Homesteading. These posts are focused on helping people to grow their own food and build their homestead by working with nature. I want to make sure that my site and posts are written in a way that really will help people who visit.

And you can help me do that! Please take a moment to answer these 2 questions and if you do I got an apple waiting for you!

Question 1: Why do you want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment?

Question 2: What's the hardest part about it?

Your answers will really help me make sure the content on Wild Homesteading is helpful for you and others!

Thank you!



Answer #1: I for one like to grow things in harmony with nature if I can - nature is far smarter than me! Food and flowers in particular. I plan on donating non GMO and chemical free (meaning I don't use any chemicals) to a food bank if I have too much. Will help others who are in need. The charitable thing to do too. It gives me a nice feeling helping others in need.

Answer #2 - hardest part is all that dang LABOR it takes. Far less if I used chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc are labor savers). Far more if I do not. So I have time to do it the hard way - organic. I feel a better sense of accomplishment and appreciation for ANYTHING I had to work for, not just plants/gardens.
Besides I like a well fed happy wife! And she loves pretty flowers too. Happy wife = no burnt supper for me!

In my research I ran across an article a long while back.
They USA (supposedly) on average had 12 FEET of topsoil when the country was first settled. Now we barely have inches in many places.

Here is some info in the issue of lost topsoil:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_010152.pdf

So If I want to do my part in slowing that rate I need to do things the natural way - organic.




IMG_1827.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_1827.JPG]
Happy wife pic - food AND flowers!
 
pollinator
Posts: 445
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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1) laziness and cheapness- why buy fertilizers/pesticides/etc when you don't have to? And they take time to buy and apply, whereas leaving my trees to get on with it does not.

2) A few things- time. I am time poor (which is self inflicted but something I'm going to continue). Also shade- my actual garden is under deciduous trees so is limited, so I also got a very open community garden- but then I have to put up with other peoples opinions of my space and growing methods.
 
Daron Williams
gardener
Posts: 1772
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Thank you all so much for the responses! Keep them coming - still got apples to throw
 
pioneer
Posts: 215
Location: The Arkansas Ozarks
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Hi Daron,

1.  Our Creator designed the environment and he made a garden.  I believe that HE used the same principles in designing both and that all of Creation was in harmony (before the tree of knowledge incident).   As we attempt to return the earth to that harmony, growing in a way that helps cleanse the environment of our filth is a small contribution that each of us can make.

2. The hardest thing for me personally is that my physical mobility limits what I can accomplish in a timely fashion.  I can still do most things, but it takes much longer to do them from a 10% standing & 90% sitting position.  Alrhough it is easier to spot squash bug eggs in a sitting position.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Fear. Fear of the collapse of the food chain, biodiversity extinction like never before, societal collapse, war, desertification, soil erosion, ocean depletion, what hopeless mess we made of this planet and increasingly doing so.
Love. Love of the miracle of nature , the endless finesse in the small and the enormous, it's perfection , love for the future we can have in harmony with nature the promise of endless spiritual growth when we get there. Love of the joy and wonder an unexpected flower or rare insect can bring while working hard, the love of accomplishing the growth of one of the most essential things, we tend to overlook: food, healthy food while increasing the soil fertility and local biodiversity, pulling people in, showing them we're not powerless. Love of the simplicity and strength permaculture methods encompass. Love for the chance we all have to give it our best shot to avoid all i fear when implied en masse.
The hardest part about it for me is that i'm unsure of putting all this time and effort in in vain while the large majority of sleeple just keeping lounging about, flying all over the place, making tons of money, patting each other on the back, doing everything God forbade and consuming it's paradise and wondering why the heck i don't just join them in their nihilistic orgy of limitless consumption and superficial serotoniine jacuzzi hot tub disney world.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3123
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I resist doing anything out of fear.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

-Frank Herbert, Dune

I have adopted the principles of permaculture not out of fear, or because I think some bad juju will fall on me if I step out of line.

I do so because it makes sense to mimic natural systems and patterns in my food systems. Knowledge is power. Reason shows you how to apply it. Permaculture is practical and pragmatic and real.

That's why I adhere to permacultural principles.

-CK
 
Kai Walker
Posts: 278
Location: South Central Kansas
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One good thing about gardening: at least the plants don't try to rob you!
 
Posts: 201
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Daron Williams wrote:
Question 1: Why do you want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment?

Question 2: What's the hardest part about it?

Your answers will really help me make sure the content on Wild Homesteading is helpful for you and others!



1. Without an environment, there won't be any food.

2. These tropical pasture grasses are so aggressive, I can't keep up with cutting them back. I have to hire labor. And none of the locals think it can be done without glyphosate.
 
pollinator
Posts: 244
Location: Basque Country, Spain-42N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
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Daron Williams wrote:
Question 1: Why do you want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment?

Question 2: What's the hardest part about it?



Q1. I think it's literally insane NOT to grow food in a way that's good for the environment. Or do anything else in a way that's not good for the environment. I just don't really understand it on a basic level. What kind of nutso thinking got us here? I think our weird social-economic-psychological system at the moment is almost a one-off in human history. "Modern" society fantasizes that we can produce endless amounts of poison with no consequences. Continuing to sweep it all under the carpet when it's been clear we have a problem for my entire lifetime and then some. By keeping the consequences not-too-in-your-face-for-most-people for the longest time possible, we keep wishing away the day when our fantasy bubble will burst, when we run out of carpet to sweep under. So... I think we need to get our act together. Quickly. And I want to be part of it.

Q2. The hardest part for me is devoting the time necessary to do my part in a really great way (or even a half-decent way) while keeping my day job. For instance, I just started reading about Korean Natural Farming. It sounds great, and worth experimenting with. And it has a huge amount of depth. Imagining fitting in these experiments with my existing daily activities is making my head spin at the moment. And I still haven't read, much less digested all of Redhawk's Soil Series, nor have I prepared my last raised beds to plant my squashes, melons and hot peppers. And I have a couple of proposals due back at the day job. You get the idea.
 
Posts: 14
Location: Nebraska, zone 5/4
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I want to grow food in a way that's good for me,  healthy, nutritious, not poisoned in any way. Turns out, good for me is also good for the environment. Interesting how that works out, isn't it? My biggest problem, like many others, is time.
 
pioneer
Posts: 80
Location: Sydney, Australia. Subtropics
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1. Ecological gardens are more beautiful, healthier for your mind and body, make you feel connected to the natural world and give your life a sense of purpose.

2. Modern society values working long hours in conventional jobs. To find the time to garden I have to work less and consume radically less, and these lifestyle habits can come with a social cost.
 
pollinator
Posts: 276
Location: wanderer
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Daron Williams wrote:
Question 1: Why do you want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment?


I want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment for many reasons. Lately, one of the top reasons is because the food I grow in my own garden does not come into my kitchen wrapped in trashy, single-use plastic packaging.
I also produce my own soil from composting kitchen scraps & yard "waste" so I have no need to buy "soil" & "soil amendments" in trashy, single-use plastic bags either. Oh, and because I walk my food from my garden into my kitchen, no trashy fossil fuels & all the trashy vehicular waste (tires, fluids, brake pads, etc) are used to bring that food to my kitchen.

Daron Williams wrote:Question 2: What's the hardest part about it?


Growing food is easy now that I understand soil biology & permaculture design. It was challenging at first when I thought plants only ate by photosynthesizing sunlight. Now that I understand the soil food web, how to keep the soil healthy, & permaculture design growing food, fuel, fiber, timber, & medicine is way easy. In fact, I now grow an abundance & "have to" give away a lot to my neighbors, friends, & family now. I'm glad potlucks are such a big thing nowadays. Otherwise, I'd have no idea what to do with all this stuff I grow!

Cheers
 
pollinator
Posts: 147
Location: Monticello Florida
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1) That's a tough one! Healthy evnironment=healthier me. I do permaculture because it works better than other methods with less effort.(why water? Just bury logs. Why spray pesticides that will fail long term? Just mix your plants and keep em healthy)

2) Where I am now, it's paralysis by analysis/ don't want to do something the "wrong" way. I keep learning more and more and have to modify my philosophy and garden very often.
 
pollinator
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Fear. Fear of the collapse of the food chain, biodiversity extinction like never before, societal collapse, war, desertification, soil erosion, ocean depletion, what hopeless mess we made of this planet and increasingly doing so.
Love. Love of the miracle of nature , the endless finesse in the small and the enormous, it's perfection , love for the future we can have in harmony with nature the promise of endless spiritual growth when we get there. Love of the joy and wonder an unexpected flower or rare insect can bring while working hard, the love of accomplishing the growth of one of the most essential things, we tend to overlook: food, healthy food while increasing the soil fertility and local biodiversity, pulling people in, showing them we're not powerless. Love of the simplicity and strength permaculture methods encompass. Love for the chance we all have to give it our best shot to avoid all i fear when implied en masse.
The hardest part about it for me is that i'm unsure of putting all this time and effort in in vain while the large majority of sleeple just keeping lounging about, flying all over the place, making tons of money, patting each other on the back, doing everything God forbade and consuming it's paradise and wondering why the heck i don't just join them in their nihilistic orgy of limitless consumption and superficial serotoniine jacuzzi hot tub disney world.



Thanks for your honesty and gut level beautiful words.

Many of us have felt the same way. At times, the fear can impede clear thought or trigger emotional reactions which sabotage human interactions. Degrading the days we do have within our control.

I have, in my study of plants, come across some (legal for now) significant relief from disadvantageous fear. I do make a distinction between advantageous fear and disadvantageous fear. Fear is normal part of being human. We should fear touching the hot stove again...

But our bodies keep score and sometimes get stuck in a reactive pattern (like ptsd) long after the threat has passed. Modern methods dont offer much beyond pallative care for this, but indigenous methods do.

Anyway, thanks for your post. It resonated.
 
Kai Walker
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Location: South Central Kansas
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My PTSD -
Please Take Son Planting....
 
gardener
Posts: 2778
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I felt disabled from replying to this thread when it was fresh because my instant reaction was "Grow food using permaculture?  I'm not sure that I do!"

I just now stumbled across something I wrote several years ago about my ambivalence over claiming that I use permaculture:

I'm physically lazy and rather broke, see. And I want stuff. So growing stuff is really appealing, especially if I can grow it for free or "dirt" cheap, with no purchased inputs. Our land is not so great, and our rainfall regime has terrible timing, and there are a zillion critters that want to eat my stuff. And for years now, every time I do a Google search on the specifics of how to grow awesome stuff with minimum effort on indifferent dirt with unreliable rainfall under massive bug and browse pressure without buying any sort of inputs, all I get is permaculture in my search results. I dunno if that makes me a permaculturalist? Or maybe I'm just a hillbilly with mad Google skillz, not sure if different.



But I'm more relaxed, a few years on, and view all this as as a sort of quibbling with myself.  Whether or not Mollison, Lawton, or Wheaton would recognize my methods as permaculture, I do what I do because the methods I use are the most sustainable methods I can come up with using the available resources under the local conditions.  

But why, though?

Somebody mentioned fear.  Naw.  Not for myself.  There's pretty good odds that the Walmart trucks will keep running and my various global-capitalism-connected revenue streams would keep me in beans for longer than my projected remaining lifespan.  

But I guess I've been living in the Creek Nation a little too long, among Creek and Seminole people.  The land itself deserves better than what we have wrought, are wreaking.  And everywhere I look, there are young people.  Oh, man, so many young people.  

I can't do much for them, I'm just a not-very-industrious dude.  And, all due respect to Paul for trying, but the world is damn hard to change.  What I can do is tinker with perennial food crops on this piece of land I live on, and maybe tune up the local ecosystem and the soil and water situation a bit. There's a deep sense of dread deep in my gut that tells me that chaotic hard hungry times are ahead, maybe not for me, but for the nieces and nephews in my family, perhaps when they are grown and have kids.  Maybe not much will survive me, but there was feral garlic and day lilies and a couple of diehard fruit trees from the previous gardener, who died thirty years before I came onto the property.  I think I can leave behind more of a legacy than that, even if the winters and summers and the rainfall patterns aren't as predictable as they used to be.

 
Huxley Harter
pollinator
Posts: 147
Location: Monticello Florida
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I already replied, but now I have more reasons.
I do it because I want to facilitate the earth's healing. We've messed up big time and the amount of pollution and ecocide is horrifying.
 
Posts: 62
Location: Central NJ, Zone 6b
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A little late to the party here, but here's my newbie perspective.  I bought a house a few months ago after being in an apartment for 12 years.  The yard hadn't been cared for in many years, and I'm trying to apply permaculture principles where I can as I develop my garden.

Question 1: Why do you want to grow food in a way that's good for the environment?

Because doing it any other way just doesn't make sense to me. I can't wrap my brain around the concept of doing anything else.

That's not to say that I always do (or will do) the most perfectly environmentally sound thing.  My sins are legion.  But my gardening default value is to do the environmentally sound thing.

Question 2: What's the hardest part about it?

Getting my garden established has been hard - labor, expense, having to do so much research and make so many decisions.  Perhaps even more difficult is trying to explain myself to friends, family, and coworkers who don't quite get what I'm trying to do.
 
master pollinator
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1. I did not understand permaculture at first, but when I realized it was a method of farming that had traditionally been used in the past, I realized it was not something "new", but rather something that people had not passed down. Some methods have new names, and some have just stopped being used in agriculture, but it is not really something "new". That is important to me because we have always been told by many new farmers, "You are doing it all wrong, let me show you how to farm", and now they are long gone, and we are still farming. Permaculture is not like that, because it is just a method that fell out of favor. That does not mean it did not work, it just means modern agronomists are now like the new farmers, trying to convince me the modern way is the only way to farm. But that is not so...

2. Applying more permaculture practices. I have quite a bit of land, and just using 100% of it has been tough, much less converting it to Permaculture Farming. If people want to beat me up they certainly can because I deserve it, but I have probably 10% of my land in Permaculture use. But in my defense, a single field may mean converting 30-40 acres to permaculture, and that can get expensive to convert. BUT what I have converted is doing really well.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11364
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Travis Johnson wrote:I realized it was not something "new"



"Permaculture as a design system contains nothing new.  It arranges what was already there in a different way, so that it works to conserve energy or to generate more energy than it consumes.  What is novel, and often overlooked, is that any system of total commonsense design for human communities is revolutionary!"  Bill Mollison, Introduction, Permaculture a Designers Manual.

 
Ruth Stout was famous for gardening naked. Just like this tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
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