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Some Good Examples of Permaculture

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  • Richard Morris
    Hi Folks, Theres been an interesting discussion on the permaculture mailing list about assessing the pros and cons of permaculture. I though I d gather some of
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 9, 2002
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      Hi Folks,
      Theres been an interesting discussion on the permaculture
      mailing list about assessing the pros and cons of permaculture.
      I though I'd gather some of the points and turn them into
      a web page. If anyone on the list has some other good examples of
      projects I'd love to hear about them and add them to the list.

      All the best

      Rich

      Some Good Examples of Permaculture

      There has been a lot of discussion recently over the merits of
      permaculture and the how to measure its the success. Conventional
      measures such as yields don't really capture the benefits of
      permaculture so instead I've gathered together some messages about some
      really good examples of permaculture obtained from a discussion on the
      subject on the permaculture mailing list at ibiblio.

      One of the best examples I've seen is a wet land system designed to
      treat the waste from a Cider farm in Herefordshire, England. Its a four
      acre plot, consisting of lots of ponds and swales and planted with 200
      species and varieties of willows, reeds and other plants. You can see
      its working as some very mucky waste is going in one end and at the
      other end clean water is coming out the other end. Its also producing a
      lot of willows for all the thing willows are good for. It was put
      together by Jay and Claire at Biologic design.

      Steve Bonney sustainableearth.steve@... writes:

      There are many, many examples of farm features that embrace the
      principles of permaculture. Even in Indiana, we have good examples:
      constructed wetlands cleaning wastewater from a milkhouse, alleycropping
      of agronomic crops between rows of black walnut trees, managed intensive
      grazing systems that maintain a permanent crop cover on the soil and
      increase water infiltration instead of runoff. These are all features of
      permaculture, or rather, demonstrate principles of permaculture.

      There are many striking examples of permaculture that have been
      developed by listmembers. I don't want to slight anyone, but what Robyn
      Francis has built upon the principles of permaculture in a short time is
      truly amazing to me.

      Toby Hemenway hemenway@...

      The best ones I've seen are: Flowering Tree in New Mexico, Roxanne
      Swentzell's place designed by her and Joel Glanzberg. Rox has taken a
      1/2 acre of bare gravel desert and, starting with swaling, mulching, and
      lots of N-fixers, now has a nearly closed canopy of walnuts, fruit
      trees, N-fixing trees, with fantastic habitat and more food and mulch
      than she can deal with.

      Permaculture Institute of Northern California, Penny Livingston's place,
      an acre of suburban jungle with chickens, ducks, and again, more food
      and biomass production than she can use. It's got a cob office, and two
      load-bearing straw-bale buildings, a marsh and pond system that handles
      all the greywater and supports the duck and some irrigation. There's a
      Bed-and Breakfast attached, so lots of visitors come away inspired. Too
      bad Penny just dropped this list, but she's busy with a thriving design
      business.

      The Bullock's property on Orcas Island, north of Seattle. 10 acres
      that's the best developed food forest I've seen, plus several acres of
      wetland that has chinampas in it (mostly for wildlife). They hold
      classes for 3 weeks each summer with 30 students, and there's enough
      fruit to support grazing for the whole class the whole time. They're off
      the grid, and supported by a nursery business and teaching. These are
      all very attractive sites, too.

      None of these people are measuring yields, though I think they all have
      some idea of rough quantities of certain crops. I'm sure that converting
      each property into a conventional, row-crop farm or orchard would
      generate more total output (ignoring inputs) than they are currently
      getting, but at a severe loss of habitat, multiple function, and
      education about integrated systems.

      And that reminds me of Jerome Osentowski's Central Rocky Mountain
      Permaculture Institute in Colorado. The particular interest here is that
      Jerome's income source for about a decade was a many-specied
      salad-growing operation he ran in raised beds and two large greenhouses
      (a real feat, going year-round at 7000 feet elevation). He sold to tony
      restaurants in Aspen. He got sick of the huge amount of work, and
      demoralized by the vast quantities of organic matter that he was
      importing, burning up, and exporting as C02 and salad. Really high
      inputs. So he shifted to a food forest, which is just reaching good
      production now and supported a lot of heavy grazing during a class I
      helped teach there last summer. Again, no hard data, but his decision to
      shift from intensive row-cropping to food forest, and his enormous
      happiness with the result, is a powerful statement.

      Ute Bohnsack sustag@... writes:

      for anyone interested in this topic, the Swiss Institute of Organic
      Farming has done some very interesting work on this front. They have
      assessed the long-term agronomic and ecological performance of
      bio-dynamic and bio-organic systems in comparison with conventional
      arable farming systems in a replicated 21-year field trial study (the
      famous DOC-trial in Therwil). Some of their results are given in
      http://www.fao.org/organicag/doc/RTS58.pdf and at
      http://www.sac.ac.uk/envsci/external/bsss/poster2.htm I translated some
      more recent results for FiBL in 2000 but can not share them for
      copyright reasons. However, the author of that particular paper, Paul
      M├Ąder paul.maeder@..., can probably be approached for the info. The
      general 'gist' of the results is: "The variety of substrates utilized by
      soil microorganisms serves as an indicator of microbial functional
      diversity, which was higher in bio-dynamic than in conventional soils.
      Concomitantly, microbes in the bio-dynamic soil decomposed added plant
      material to a higher extent than in conventional soil with a higher
      proportion of the plant material being used for microbial biomass
      build-up. In conclusion soil quality as indicated by the abundance and
      diversity of soil organisms as well as by their activity tends to be
      improved under organic agriculture. "

      The article Holistic approaches in organic farming research and
      development: a general overview by Urs NIGGLI also addresses some of the
      aspects debated here in relation to the possibilities of comparing Pc
      with other systems/paradigms/models, whatever you want to call them.

      From: Maddy Harland

      "The Woodland Way" by Ben Law is full of data. There is also an analysis
      of income and pc woodland management which was part of a MSc in the
      centre pages. Greg is out of date. We now have lots of post graduate
      data here proving pc works (not the wild kind but serious, cool
      temperate systems which have been thoroughly researched) and pc design
      is taught at university and horticultural colleges.

      From: Graham Burnett gb0063551@...

      John Comben & Sue Ferguson have compiled reports on Cool Temperate PC
      (i.e. UK).

      From: Chris Dixon mawddach@...

      With regards to yield figures, I did collect some basic data which is
      available on my web site; http://www.konsk.co.uk/design/argelacs.htm
      this is a page on Argel, the wilderness regeneration site and my
      attempts to quantify yield there.

      --
      Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
      Web: http://www.pfaf.org/ or http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/
      Main Site: Blagdon Cross, Ashwater, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5DF, England
      Tel: (+44 845) 458 4719
      Email: webmaster@... (web related queries only)
      PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf
    • Robert Allen
      Hi all, For the past 15 years or so I ve been experimenting with multi-species close companion planting. Over the last few years I keep hearing a reference to
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 1, 2002
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        Hi all,
        For the past 15 years or so I've been experimenting
        with multi-species close companion planting. Over the
        last few years I keep hearing a reference to a
        European study of something similar. The last time was
        in reference to different species of grasses but I'm
        sure I heard of a study involving self-seeding
        annuals. Ultimately I am hoping to create forest
        garden conditions with self-seeding annual edibles.
        Does anyone know anything about these European studies
        and if anyone else is creating similar conditions, and
        what the results are?
        Robert
        An Talamh Glas

        =====
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      • Robert Allen
        Hi all, For the past 15 years or so I ve been experimenting with multi-species close companion planting. Over the last few years I keep hearing a reference to
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 1, 2002
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          Hi all,
          For the past 15 years or so I've been experimenting
          with multi-species close companion planting. Over the
          last few years I keep hearing a reference to a
          European study of something similar. The last time was
          in reference to different species of grasses but I'm
          sure I heard of a study involving self-seeding
          annuals. Ultimately I am hoping to create forest
          garden conditions with self-seeding annual edibles.
          Does anyone know anything about these European studies
          and if anyone else is creating similar conditions, and
          what the results are?
          Robert
          An Talamh Glas

          =====
          BLUE: http://www.bluegreenearth.com

          __________________________________________________
          Do You Yahoo!?
          Great stuff seeking new owners in Yahoo! Auctions!
          http://auctions.yahoo.com
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