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what are the key questions?

 
pollinator
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If you were to do a first design approach with complete newbies, showing them what's special about permaculture design, where would you start?

Which key questions do you think we need to ask to get going towards a good design, in the space of a day?

How do you address the spread between a broadacre design to an apartment dweller, the middle ground being a standalone house with 200-1000m2 area around it (including two parking spaces)?
 
pollinator
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I think the absolute easiest base for permaculture would be to design a guild. You only need a few hundred square feet for these, maybe less if you get creative!

For example, I already had pecan trees growing on my property, so I decided to go with a hickory guild.

Once you decide on which plants you will need for your guild, or which existing plants you wish to build off of, then you can design your earthworks in this small area.

This is where you will figure out where to put your swales, which will be dependent on topography and annual rainfall. You can design this to mesh well with your guild, or you can plan you guild to mesh well with your earthworks, but they go hand in hand, so understand that your topography may limit the number of plants and or layers to your guild. This is also the time when you would think about hugelkultur, as this would be the recommended way to build mounds or hills.


If you have more than a small lot, you can continue to add new guilds to suit your needs.
 
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Does Permaculture work in ALL types of terrains and circumstances... (low rain fall, bad soils, no animals, etc) is there ever a piece of land of which it may be said "is too far gone" even for permaculture?

Welcome to Jasmine Dale! I am a total novice at this so I ask odd questions...
 
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Susan Wakeman wrote:If you were to do a first design approach with complete newbies, showing them what's special about permaculture design, where would you start?

Which key questions do you think we need to ask to get going towards a good design, in the space of a day?

How do you address the spread between a broadacre design to an apartment dweller, the middle ground being a standalone house with 200-1000m2 area around it (including two parking spaces)?



For me over the years of teaching permaculture, I reckon complete newbies really respond to this: permaculture design is based on the principles of wild thriving ecosystems and societies that live in balance with their resources (mainly indigenous people). Thriving ecosystems have every need met by the yield/output of anotherpart of a natural system, requiring no extra energy, garbage collection and creating no pollution. This idea in combination withgoing outside and observing the principles in action, and then a bit of self reflection on whether they also apply to human life as well as plants and soil, seems to deeply ring true with people. This gives them confidence in the design of nature and motivation to find out more.

Key questions torwards a good design in a day: think earth/resources, wind/ideas, sun/shade/ personal burn out and situations you thrive, water sources and flow/aspects of the site and its people in transition. This follows the elements of earth, air, fire and water and  is a good, comprehensive, quick way to address the whole design. I also add the fifth element: spirirt: what special qualities do I bring to this design, those of the people involved and the essence of the place.

Addressing the broadscale to the apartment scale is for me the beauty of the flexibility and universality of the core of permaculture: principles, design process, observation. The permaculture principles eg whether a molecule or a mountain, 'catch and store energy' applies at either scale. With observation and design process, this is naturally going to entail much longer and in depth time if the project is large and complex or small and simple, the time and level of research and analysis will differ a lot. However the framework is the same and equally applies to both. Both deserve a survey, analysis, designing, implementation and maintenance strategy, and a process to evaluate and tweak.


 
Jasmine Dale
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Marco Baldi wrote:Does Permaculture work in ALL types of terrains and circumstances... (low rain fall, bad soils, no animals, etc) is there ever a piece of land of which it may be said "is too far gone" even for permaculture?

Welcome to Jasmine Dale! I am a total novice at this so I ask odd questions...



Hello! getting late here in the UK, so odd questions are welcome and may get odd answers!

Yes definitely permaculture's magic is the universal applicability of the principles, observed in all thriving and wild systems. Mollison and Holmgren, the permaculture founders, were inspired by the desire to repair and regenerate land 'too far gone' and all the principles and practices that have come from this do in essence address this. Some land may take longer to recover or may be too contaminated to grow food on, however permaculture thinking would turn the 'problem into a solution'. For example, contaminated land from mining might be best served by regenerating with trees, which may in turn provide vital shelter, soil repair, water catchment and biodiversity that would support food growing relatively nearby.

Some of the best world examples of permaculture have turned deserts into food forests through simple interventions, transformed desperate communities into safe, resilient places. The early films such as Global Gardener are full of such example. There's lots more recent examples on you tube, of Geoff Lawton and others, of real examples of bringing water and life back to arid lands where droughts have lasted for many years and permaculture has seen results within a season. Also, check out Marine Permaculture Arrays, simple technology that has restored the food chain in oceans in a very short time, creating livelihoods, local food supply as well as ecological benefits.
 
And now I present magical permaculture hypno cards. The idea is to give them to people that think all your permaculture babble is crazy talk. And be amazed as they apologize for the past derision, and beg you for your permaculture wisdom. If only there were some sort of consumer based event coming where you could have an excuse to slip them a deck ... richsoil.com/cards
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