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!!!!! What is your permaculture/homestead/food forest Vision & Mission?

 
pollinator
Posts: 200
Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
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I believe that before we start planning and designing our homestead/food forest, it might be a really good idea to get clarity about our mission, vision and values.
This way, we'll make our dreams come true quicker and easier...

Before we started planning and designing our own food forest (that was 6 years ago) we asked ourselves these seven questions:

  • What are the values we want our food forest to embody?
  • What do we want or need from our food forest?
  • What does the landscape need?
  • How should the end result feel?
  • What will we do there?
  • What kind of produce we’d like to have?
  • What will be the overall theme or function of our food forest?

  • With the answers to these questions, we were a lot clearer about the mission, vision and values of our food forest, which helped us tremendously in making it happen quicker, easier, and closer to our ideal picture.

    This is a never-ending process, and we keep asking ourselves the same questions once every year.
    As we do that we notice how empowering this process is, how much it focuses us, and also we can see our progress much clearer.

    I would like to offer this post as a space of inspiration for all of us, by inviting you to share your own answers to (some or all of) these questions.

    Can't wait to learn from you and get inspired.

    Make it an awesome day.
     
    N. Neta
    pollinator
    Posts: 200
    Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
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    So let me be the first to answer by sharing our own answers to these 7 questions, from the week after we purchased our land in Tenerife, about 6 years ago:

    1. Our Food Forest Values
    Sustainability, biodiversity, abundance, Garden of Eden, connection to nature, co-creation with nature, role model for holistic, sustainable living, joy, harmony, beauty, silence, love, sensuality, health and wellness…

    2. What Do We Want and Need from Our Food Forest
  • A place of beauty, tranquility, inspiration, energizing.
  • A place to connect to something bigger, older and wiser.
  • A meeting place between plants, animals & humans.
  • Providing 80% of our fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, herbs and honey – year round.
  • Throughout the year the land will be covered with the flowers and flowering trees and bushes for honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
  • Medicinal herbs garden.
  • Edible mushroom garden.
  • Tropical garden filled with ferns and orchids – a habitat for birds, insects and amphibians
  • Privacy from south and north neighbors.
  • 2 new ponds to collect rainwater and create humid microclimates as habitat for birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and  fish.
  • Wetlands to collect greywater.
  • Greenhouse for sensitive vegetables, sprouting seeds and growing cuts.
  • A sauna.
  • Storage place for firewood.
  • Flat playground.
  • Meditation/sanctuary.
  • Hammock(s) between shade trees.
  • Benches under shade trees.
  • Aviary for small seed-eating birds, with jungle-like feeling.
  • Beehives producing honey, wax, propolis and pollen.

  • 3. What do the landscape and area need?
  • The soil everywhere needs rejuvenation, using either compost, deep mulching or preferably green manure cover.
  • Some trees are dying & need to be healed.
  • The barranco (ravine) needs to come back to its glory days of running water (during the rainy season) and green, shady, cool, wet microclimate.
  • The west barranco side should become a fire-barrier.
  • The north garden could benefit from a few tall, shade giving trees.
  • The original pond needs shade to reduce the rate of water evaporation.
  • The pond needs water movement and filtering, so the water contains more oxygen and are clearer.
  • The very south patch in between the wooden fence and the neighbors needs to become alive again.
  • Everywhere we could use more humidity in the soil.

  • 4. How should the new landscape feel?
    A combination of a forest feeling and a subtropical Garden of Eden, with several small special microclimates and sanctuaries (even a bench will do)

    5. What will we do there?
  • We see the place as a place where we work, meditate, relax, enjoy chilling out with friends, learn from nature, get inspired…
  • We love the visioning and strategic planning part.
  • We love the DAILY strolling down the patches and checking on the growth of everything.
  • We like pruning and grafting (need to learn how to do those correctly).
  • We love sprouting seeds and propagating plants from cuts.
  • We love harvesting the fruits and vegetables.
  • We love taking care of small animals (birds in the aviary, fish in the ponds, turtles, guinea-pigs, chickens, etc…)
  • We see ourselves working in the garden for 1-2 hours a day.
  • We love sitting in different corners and enjoy the peace and sounds and smells, meditating and reflecting… allowing creativity, imagination and dreaming to take place.
  • We love falling asleep on warm days on hammocks between shade trees.
  • We love having friends coming for outdoor meals and enjoying sunsets and star gazing over a good bottle of wine warmed up by outside fire.
  • We don’t plan to do the more demanding physical work ourselves (earthworks, digging, heavy lifting, etc…), but we plan to have a small team doing these jobs once or twice a month.

  • 6. What kind of produce would we like to have?
  • Fruits (local, citrus, tropical)
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Perennial and annual vegetables
  • Edible and medicinal herbs
  • Medicinal trees and plants
  • Edible mushrooms
  • Honey

  • 7. What will be the overall theme or function?
  • Self-reliant living
  • Sanctuary
  • Playground
  • Healing space


  • Looking forward to learn from you, and get inspired...
     
    Posts: 34
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    I really appreciated this & your other recent post (what's your why). I spend some time working through these questions for my six acres in northern Wisconsin, near the shore of Lake Superior. The land is mostly wooded and high above the water table. I put in a small garden last year (three small beds) with plans to expand. My little flock of hens has already produced more than 24 dozen eggs in their first season. But we have been here for less than two years, so I am just getting started.

    Values:
    Stewardship, Generosity, Learning

    What we want or need from the land:
    Sanctuary, Nourishment, Healing

    What does the landscape need:
    Culling (problematic species, overcrowding)
    Soil building (soil is rocky & sandy)
    Water (rain barrels? pond? groundcover/mulch to reduce evap?)

    How should the end result feel:
    Cohesive and flowing (replace abrupt and jarring changes from woods/clearings/drive to more gradual transitions; create meandering but functional pathways; systems work together)
    Peaceful and playful, beautiful (not just a working landscape; not overly tidy, a bit wild)

    What will we do here:
    Rest, play, learn, take care of each other.
    More practically - raise food and medicine, harvest firewood, run a household.

    What kind of produce we’d like to have:
    Our local native foods - blueberries, grapes, wild plums, sunchokes, hazelnuts, strawberries (if we can expand by acquiring the adjacent low land with creek, wild rice)
    Our traditional crops - corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, greens, etc
    Wild medicines (some are present in the woods, some must be added to garden)
    Maple syrup (sugar maples in the yard are productive, but need to identify large red maples in the surrounding woods & make trails, acquire sled for hauling sap)
    Chicken eggs for now - would be nice to add dairy, honey bees (can get meat from neighbors)

    Overall theme:
    Living in relationship with the land

    p.s. I hadn't considered cultivating mushrooms, but now I will look into it.
     
    N. Neta
    pollinator
    Posts: 200
    Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
    41
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    Marisa Lee wrote:I spend some time working through these questions for my six acres in northern Wisconsin, near the shore of Lake Superior.


    Thank you sharing your vision and values, Marisa.
    It's very inspiring...

    I loved how you divided the produce into local native foods, traditional foods, wild medicine...
    It makes so much sense, and it clearly communicate your "why".

    Make it an awesome day, in your own Garden of Eden...

    (PS. I would love to see some photos, to get a feel of your place...)
     
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