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Permaculture design in the kitchen  RSS feed

 
r ranson
master steward
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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I wonder if it's possible to take some of the elements of Permaculture design we use on the farm, and apply them in the kitchen? What would that look like? How would it be different in a city setting vs a rural vs a suburban setting?

In a rural setting, I could see capturing waste water and piping it out into the orchard, and maybe setting up an outside summer kitchen powered by rocket stoves for preserving the harvest. In the city, I imagine it would look quite different.

Can permaculture design help us with what and how we cook? I often worry that so many permaculture books and techniques focus on growing food, but forget to teach us how to cook this food. I can't see why the kitchen and the garden are treated as two separate entities, but they often are. Maybe applying permaculture design to the kitchen can help us incorporate better the goodies we grow?

 
K Putnam
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Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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The kitchen is the driving force behind my interest in permaculture. What to grow? How to grow it? How to save it? How to use it? The kitchen informs my garden and the garden informs my kitchen. I could go on and on and on.... The tools are all there and easily accessible, probably moreso than any other permaculture topic. You need an energy source and you need various ways to preserve food, but then the options are limitless.

I have a solar system and an induction stove, so summer cooking from dawn to dusk is entirely on clean power. If I had more property and livestock at home, I'd be very curious about a biogas system for an outdoor kitchen for canning outside. I can't pressure can on my induction stove, so I am wanting an outdoor space that is sheltered enough to run a reliable gas burner at strong enough of a rate for pressure canning.

I finally bought a dehydrator this year to expand what I can harvest and preserve without it requiring sugar or fermentation. I do plenty of canning and fermenting, but one can't live on jam and pickles alone! Having dried fruit on hand this winter will be fantastic. The dehydrator is going to open up huge doors for me, mainly with herbs and medicinal flowers. My climate has been a bit unpredictable for drying things properly, so I have quite a few herbs, flowers, and native plants that are not being utilized at the moment. I have enough calendula that has reseeded to harvest and dry a huge number of flowers this year to make a calendula salve. I could do a solar dehydrator instead, but like the stove, most hours of the day it is being run for zero cost and pollution off my solar panels, so I feel good about that choice.

I have my rocket stove for outdoor fun, but primarily for emergencies. The ability to heat preserved food at a moments notice during a week long power outage during an ice storm brings me great piece of mind. I keep a small metal trash can full of pre-cut kindling, just in case.

Pick a topic, I could talk about it for hours.

 
Lori Dorchak
Posts: 17
Location: Patagonia
cat duck solar
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Well, this is a very interesting subject for me as I am in the process of designing my kitchen. I thought it might be useful to try and apply the permaculture principles of design. Not all seem to fit for a kitchen and I am fairly new to these principles so all may feel free to correct me or add on to my thoughts.
1. Relative location- location in the house with easy access to the dining and living areas creating an ease of flow from one room or area to another with easy access to outdoor living areas, also
But this may apply to the placement of appliances in the kitchen- the stove - fridge- and sink should form a rough triangle for ease of use- the dishwasher next to the sink or a drying rack next to the sink, racks for pots and pans near the stove- spice rack near stove - a baking station or dehydrating or canning station so all items are easily accessible- pantry or shelving easily accessible without table impeding the flow - easy access to the kitchen garden or windowsill garden and a root cellar
2. Each element performs many functions - my wood cook stove heats water for the bath and for radiant heating of the house while I cook my food. the sink and dishwasher could drain for a grey water system- using space under the stairs for desk and shelves for storage, hanging racks for easy access to pots, pans, utensils, drying racks for clothing, shelves for spices with hooks for measuring spoons and cups
3. Each critical function is supported by many elements - water - if you are on city water, what is your back up? well, cistern, rain barrels, bunches of milk bottles stored under the sink? what is you back up for hot water? solar hot water heaters, wood stove? electricity back up - solar for general power or a biodiesel generator, wood cookstove for cooking- propane fridge or cold storage in a root cellar or outdoors in a box in cold climates or maybe a chest freezer as these retain the cold much longer during a temporary outage- kerosene lanterns for lighting
4. Zones & sectors zone 0 could be the stove, the heart of the home, zone 1 the sink and fridge, zone 2 table, storage, pantry, cupboards, zone 3 the root cellar and the garden I am not sure how this knowledge would be applied maybe for location as in Number 1
5. Using biological resources not only using solar and wood for burning but this may apply to the materials you use to construct your kitchen- using wood for counters, stone for the sink, just using natural materials- you can also take this a step further in the items you use in your kitchen - for example: glass or metal or wood instead of plastic- and for reusing items and recycling
6. Energy Cycling using wind and solar power or hydro; composting or vermi composting kitchen waste or just feeding it to your chickens or pigs, grey water usage for watering the orchard, collecting rainwater for dishwashing
Well, I'm not sure how the last 6 principles would work for the kitchen but this list has really got me thinking about my new kitchen and I can't wait to get into it!
I used Deep Green Permaculture website to get the list of design principles and he had some good thoughts about them,too.
Permaculture is about self sufficiency on many levels.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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For me the most important kitchen-garden connection was to put the garden right outside the kitchen. We also have an outdoor cooking space next to the garden.

 
r ranson
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These are great thoughts.

For me, I hope to move in a few years to a smaller place and a larger kitchen. I would like to redesign or even build a kitchen from scratch. Maybe the kitchen would be in two parts - an inside every-day kitchen, and on the other side of the wall, an outside kitchen which is open to the air, but has a nice roof. Outside I would have a bread oven (wood fired, cob), and maybe a cob rocket mass heater (RMH) bench? Outside would also have a stove large enough for 6 large pots - maybe rocket cookstove? - and lovely triple sink (with running water - I love hot and cold running water). And of course, the summer kitchen melds beautifully with the cob-walled kitchen garden.

I like how you've applied the principles, Lori.

But this may apply to the placement of appliances in the kitchen- the stove - fridge- and sink should form a rough triangle for ease of use


I almost want the sink to be a little bit separate from the kitchen. Or maybe two sinks. One for cooking and one for dishes. The dishes sink needs to be in a well-lit location, preferably not facing west as that gets the hottest sun of the day. The person doing the dishes (we do it by hand) would be able to look out the window and enjoy the beauty of the garden - making it less unpleasant to wash dishes. Where I am now, the sink is tucked away in the darkest corner of the kitchen. I notice the dishes get done a lot less here than when we lived where the kitchen sink had its own window.

2. Each element performs many functions - my wood cook stove heats water for the bath and for radiant heating of the house while I cook my food. the sink and dishwasher could drain for a grey water system- using space under the stairs for desk and shelves for storage, hanging racks for easy access to pots, pans, utensils, drying racks for clothing, shelves for spices with hooks for measuring spoons and cups


Brilliant!

Working resilience into the kitchen would be a big step for me. Right now if the electricity goes out, so too does the well pump. One dream I've had would be a hand pump in the corner of the kitchen - or outside kitchen. Alas the water table is too low here, but I'm doing what I can to improve that. Sure, a handpump wouldn't provide filtered water like the electric well, but a rocket cookstove would easily be able to boil off most of the nasties.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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R Ranson wrote: The dishes sink needs to be in a well-lit location, preferably not facing west as that gets the hottest sun of the day. The person doing the dishes (we do it by hand) would be able to look out the window and enjoy the beauty of the garden - making it less unpleasant to wash dishes.


This is probably the best thing about our small kitchen - it faces east and has a window over the sink from which I can look out past wildflowers to a small field which is often full of deer.

axismorning.jpg
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Linda Secker
Posts: 87
Location: Lancaster, UK
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what lovely ideas

We have a fairly large kitchen (by Northwest England standards). The rear half is the kitchen, and the other half we sit and eat and have the wood-stove. This is where we tend to spend time together and with guests. I would add that to the above lists - somewhere to sit.

We also have the triangle arrangement of cooker, sink and fridge, and our sink is under a big window looking out onto greenery!

I don't know if we will ever be able to re-do our kitchen, but the only things I would really change are: better wood storage and comfier seating. I'd LOVE to have the space for dedicated areas for making preserves or having a bread oven, but hey-ho
 
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