Matt and I kind of hijacked family dinner last week. Our weekly potluck, with everyone who lives on the property plus a couple of special friends, is for the specific purpose of good food, conversation, fun and generally keeping the farm relationships healthy. Business is not supposed to be part of it. However, a few days before, Matt had been inspired to map out the property using pacing and Google earth. I have been reading a great book called Gaia’s Garden which is about small-scale Permaculture design and gives a good overview of the design process which includes 1.Observation, 2.Visioning, 3.Planning, 4.Development, and 5.Implementation. All that to say, with map in hand, Matt and I jumped into “Visioning” much to the boredom of some family members who are a little less involved in the project.
The basic idea behind Permaculture is a slow and thoughtful observation of the land in order to use its natural strengths to the gardener’s advantage. If designed well it will minimize work and external inputs (energy, fertilizer, city water) while maximizing yield and wildlife habitat as a positive feedback loop takes over and nature takes care of itself. Sounds idealistic I know, but it has been done successfully all over the world and that is what we will attempt here.
As I said, the first step is observation which we have been doing for the last year. The second step is Visioning which kind of comes about naturally but last family dinner we made a list of some things we’d like this property to be. Here they are in no particular order. . .
Garden of Eden, edible forest/perennials, waste recycling/soil building, wildlife habitat, safe imagination and creativity fostering childrearing environment, aesthetically pleasing, water recycling, storage and use, community educational resource, sacred space (relaxation/meditation /spiritual wellness), holistic health for vegetation, animals, and humans, income generator (even if just enough to maintain farm tax status), Minimal labor/high yield (I know we may be dreaming on this one but hey, that’s what we do!)