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Animal-less permaculture  RSS feed

 
                            
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Is it possible to have a largely self-sustaining food production system without the use of domesticated animals?

Is it possible to have a largely self-sustaining domesticated animal population such that you could leave your plot for over a month and then return to healthy happy animals?
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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These are very open ended questions, without examples of what your thinking exactly.
All things are possible.... what are the restraints, conditions, limitations and such?

I can think of examples which answer yes to both your questions.

Is there something specific you have in mind.... or are you just throwing out a hypothetical questions?
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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A bit anthropocentric of me, but I always think of humans as the primary domesticated animal in any permaculture system... ...so from that perspective what would be the point of having a permaculture system without animals?  Semantics aside...

A nice fish pond with a little duck island at the center will maintain itself fairly well with few inputs.  Turkeys are quite capable of looking after themselves.  Plenty of ruminants will graze contentedly given enough forage.  is in the details.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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other than our two cats we don't have any domesticated animals..but we do have a LOT of animals on our property (white tail deer, bear, fox, coyote, mink, racoon, skunk, squirrel, opossum, lots of smaller animals and maybe a few other large ones and a ton ton ton of birds and insects.) they provide a LOT of manure, esp the deer, bear and turkey, rabbits and birds. They spread it pretty much themselves so I don't have to distribute it..occasionally i rake the larger piles up and move them around, but the deer and rabbits and birds are really good at putting it around everywhere.

they also do a lot of the other work around here..

i don't know if we would be better off with domesticated animals or not, but these we don't have to put any care into, no worry about vacations, etc.

i don't believe that if you have a permaculture property ..unless it is severely fenced about 10'high, and has a wire cover over the top, that you'll keep very many animals out of it no matter how hard you try.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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    There are always animals in permaculture systems (and any other stable ecosystem). Whether or not these animals are domestic is a matter of choice and getting the maximum amount of food out of the system.
 
Travis Philp
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tropical wrote:
Is it possible to have a largely self-sustaining food production system without the use of domesticated animals?

Is it possible to have a largely self-sustaining domesticated animal population such that you could leave your plot for over a month and then return to healthy happy animals?


I think it is.

-Plants can give all the nutrients that animals provide. They can also replace manure in the form of mulches, compost teas, and prepared compost.

-People can perform the physical tasks that animals provide (eg. soil preparation: though it may take longer)

 
Emil Spoerri
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Permanent

There is a book out there known as "the good life" about a vegan couple who started a sustenance farm in vermont around 60 years ago.

Well, they are long dead and while I think their children are very much alive, they don't have anything to do with vegan farming as far as I know.

It would be interesting to hear about a vegan civilization that survives for even a hundred years in the frozen north.

I think it is very possible for you to live that way and perhaps even raise your kids that way, though I am not sure if it will be possible for them to raise their kids that way or for their kids...
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Emile Spore wrote:It would be interesting to hear about a vegan civilization that survives for even a hundred years in the frozen north.


I think humanity's closest attempts to this were in somewhat moderate climates, and vitamin D deficiency seems to have strongly selected for low pigmentation in those populations.

Travis Philp wrote:Plants can give all the nutrients that animals provide.


Very nearly so. Vitamin D is difficult without bright sunshine or pale skin. Vitamin B12 is from microbes rather than plants or animals. From Wikipedia:

While lacto-ovo vegetarians  usually get enough B12 through consuming dairy products, vegans will lack B12 unless they consume multivitamin supplements or B12-fortified foods. Examples of fortified foods include fortified breakfast cereals, fortified soy products, fortified energy bars, and fortified nutritional yeast. According to the UK Vegan Society, the present consensus is that any B12 present in plant foods is likely to be unavailable to humans because B12  analogues can compete with B12 and inhibit metabolism.

Claimed sources of B12 that have been shown to be inadequate or unreliable through direct studies[30] of vegans include laver (a seaweed), barley grass, and human gut bacteria.


Traditional vegan societies seem to have consumed enough insects accidentally to avoid deficiency, so a yearly oyster or egg would probably be plenty.

Speaking of which, I think bivalves would be a good low-maintenance food animal. They're even less domesticated than bees, and unless some invasive species is introduced, they tend to be good for whatever body of water they inhabit.
 
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