• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

permaculture and land use  RSS feed

 
Kelly Rued
Posts: 40
Location: St. Paul, MN, USA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, I'm new to permaculture and have found myself ambivalent toward some of the larger-scale permie food forests/farms/etc. when they seem to be only supporting one family (or in some cases one family and a myriad of volunteer laborers who don't get even a minimum wage, just farm outputs).

So what are some of the modes of thought for how it would be sustainable for single-family households to own even an entire acre (much less the huge tracts of land it seems that many high-level permies have or want). I see people advocating smaller footprint homes (which I understand and totally love) but then sometimes in the same book/breath, people advocate enormous land holdings... surely land is one of our most finite resources on earth. We can't make more human-habitable without destroying more wild life (or building over oceans, etc.) so I don't get how it would be sustainable for every eco minded family to own acreage.

This isn't so much a question of why people want tons of land and to do with it what they wish for their own food security, etc. (I get the motivation there!) but more about why that would be attractive to someone who is into sustainability, since obviously there isn't enough livable land for the billions of people on earth to all own big tracts of it. I guess this is similar to my reaction to urban foraging (my impression that it ONLY is sustainable or even eco friendly if very few people in an urban area take part... the more people into the idea, the less sustainable it becomes without radically altering the amount of forage available, particularly the highly desirable gourmet finds like morels or truffles).

My only guess is that people in high-level permaculture lifestyles doubt it will catch on enough that there will be a huge run on land for permaculture uses (or that intentional communities and shared land are "good enough" for the masses or the less financially resourceful folks). However it does seem top permaculture evangelists sincerely want to spread the word and convert people, so I just wonder how sustainable it is for a book like Gaia's Garden to educate newbs like me about all these concentric zones reaching from my house all the way into a semi-wilderness (all within my household's control). It makes me wish our yard was a lot bigger, that we had more zones to work with, that we could move out to the country and have many acres to cultivate food forests on... but, hey, how is that going to work if we all do it? It sounds like the end result could be a new kind of rural sprawl that eclipses the inefficiencies of suburban sprawl and McMansions... except instead of a 4000 sq ft. house all the middle class folks might have 4 acres of food forest instead. Probably unlikely, but would love to hear thoughts from folks with much more knowledge and experience.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This kind of follows the thread 'is private land ownership sustainable' where people are discussing the moral and ethical applications of private land ownership.

 
                                
Posts: 98
Location: Eastern Colorado, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kelly Rued wrote:but, hey, how is that going to work if we all do it?


The simple answer: we're not all going to do it.  The rural life is just not for everyone.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On the most fertile land of the world metropolises are build up on. Cities grew over time and swallowed the best farmland the planet has to over. Most of the permie-people buy less fertile land which is available for little money and do something to improve it. They are doing right to save a piece of wild life habitat and cultivate a part of it. If you don't have a vision like them and hold one acre of best farmland, say: you sit in a patch of beets, think all the day about stuff and call that "cultivation", you're wasting land and should give it to someone who has a plan for it. To someone who has the strengh to bring up productivity. All those lawn owners in the cities are a waste of land in my opinion.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9697
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To me so much depends on the carrying capacity of the land.  One has to take into account the amount of watershed needed to support the water use on the food-growing land.  So it might make sense for one family to have a large buffer of land around a small parcel of food-growing land.  Also if one is building and/or heating and cooking with wood one will need a large amount of land in forest.

There might already be plenty of land under cultivation or other development, at least in some parts of the world, for everyone to have a little food-growing patch and return a lot of the land to wild nature.  Some very crowded places, like Bangladesh, this might not work.  7 billion humans might be too many on the planet. Certainly it is too many living as we do now, but we don't actually know the carrying capacity of the planet with everyone living permaculturally.  Most of our present land use is damaging and inefficient.

Personally I don't think people should stop doing permaculture because they're worried it might not work if "everyone is doing it."  Most people live non-permaculturally and we know for a fact that's not working.

Certainly if permaculturists want to hold large parcels in common for the community, they can do that.  Most people however so far find it difficult to join up with others for group purchase of land.  Ideally probably settlements would be clustered with large tracts of open land between them, managed in common by the communities. 



 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, as a land hog...  I will address it.

Most of our land (roughly 900 acres) is forest, or heading that way.  I perceive we are stewards of it, not owners, no matter what the legal documents say. I would love to have some people who lived on sections, and I don't require any money from them. I have moral issues they have to live within (who doesn't) but I suspect we could work out many things.

Even though, financially (might as well be honest) I have no need to be concerned about a sustainable life style, I approve of the idea, and we prefer to live simply - so we tend to have extra to invest in more land, etc.

And in my way of thinking, it makes sense to secure land privately instead of wait for the government to decide to do it. I am more than willing to share - as long as it isn't carry.

We have currently 3 homes not being used, a guest house, rarely used, a large house, under utilized and an apartment above a work area, being used as a storage area. Sad when so many have needs, and we have excess.

But most people I run across want to know how they are going to get rich, or make a lot, or etc.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9697
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Is no-one interested in living on your place, Fred?

I offered half our land to my sister to live on with her husband and animals but she declined, as it is not convenient for his commute or her social engagements.  She didn't even say "oh we would love it to retire on." 
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fred, I understand where you are coming from completely.  I used to try to do a lot of charity and 'sharing' work and I discovered that it was O.K. for me to give someone something but it was not O.K. for me to try to help them find ways to help themselves - the latter is most often not appreciated.

So now days instead of giving to charity I try to make as many my purchases as possible with small time locals.  Thier products may cost more and not be as readily available but these are people who are helping themselves. 

Some are needy and some are not - but they all appreciate and, as you say, are good stewards of all they have in thier possession.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kelly Rued wrote:
So what are some of the modes of thought for how it would be sustainable for single-family households to own even an entire acre (much less the huge tracts of land it seems that many high-level permies have or want). I see people advocating smaller footprint homes (which I understand and totally love) but then sometimes in the same book/breath, people advocate enormous land holdings... surely land is one of our most finite resources on earth. We can't make more human-habitable without destroying more wild life (or building over oceans, etc.) so I don't get how it would be sustainable for every eco minded family to own acreage.


I think that the only way for land use to be sustainable is for most families to have 5 to ten acres supporting small town-dwelling populations (or small villages surrounded by large tracts of permacultural land). The EcologyFund Ecological Footprint Calculator claims that 12.8 acres of land are currently consumed providing my daily stuff. I happen to know for a fact that I could get just about everything I need from 1 or two acres managed in a permaculture way. The truth is that there is a TON of land out there, a lot already being used, a lot not. If we took all the current monocrop land and distributed it in 5 to 10 (depending on land quality) parcels to families, then a large portion of the city populations would be able to live sustainably in the country. Large land holdings may or may not last into the future... For now, there is plenty to go around, but perhaps once more people start transitioning back to the land, those land holdings will shrink. Also, some properties may be best managed with say 5 families living in a little village surrounded by 100 acres. Sometimes felling and processing a tree is a bit much for one or two able-bodied people. In my book, anyone who is on their own land growing their own stuff in a sustainable way gets a thumbs up.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9697
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paleo Gardener wrote:
If we took all the current monocrop land and distributed it in 5 to 10 (depending on land quality) parcels to families, then a large portion of the city populations would be able to live sustainably in the country.


Yeah, it's hard to imagine how a 4000 acre corn farm owned by Monsanto, with maybe one family of renters living on it, is sustainable...

 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Is no-one interested in living on your place, Fred?

I offered half our land to my sister to live on with her husband and animals but she declined, as it is not convenient for his commute or her social engagements.  She didn't even say "oh we would love it to retire on."   


Only people I hire as caretakers - and even that is a bit hard to come by. It seems a lot of people can't imagine a life without a salary, and are so much in debt, they must have a salary to pay for all they have already borrowed.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
287
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Debt is a modern form of slavery.  If you can accumulate enough debt, you have enslaved yourself to the lenders.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Polk wrote:
Debt is a modern form of slavery.  If you can accumulate enough debt, you have enslaved yourself to the lenders.



Agreed, once you have accepted debt, you have lost a lot of options.
 
What's wrong? Where are you going? Stop! Read this tiny ad:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!