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Permaculture: Home

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"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."     —Bill Mollison

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Instead of putting branches, leaves and grass clippings in bags by the curbside for the bin men... build a hugel bed. Simply mound logs, branches, leaves, grass clippings, straw, cardboard, petroleum-free newspaper, manure, compost or whatever other biomass you have available, top with soil and plant your veggies. (Continue reading from Permaculture)

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Permaculture: Build Your Own Food Forest

 

Say all the good things you want about farming—even organic farming, even “sustainable” farming—but a field of production agriculture isn’t exactly natural; it doesn’t mimic nature. When you’re truly in nature, you don’t find bare soil, straight rows or plants growing outside of their natural habitat. You find something more like what can be achieved through a food forest or edible forest garden, which are design concepts often used in permaculture and natural-garden building.

“An edible forest garden is a garden that is based off the model of a forest in nature rather than an ag field,” says Dave Boehnlein, a principal at Terra Phoenix Design and education director at Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead in Orcas Island, Washington. Food production might be one goal of this growing system, but medicine, pollinator habitat, erosion control and more can also be achieved. The diversity of plants, their traits and their functions mean a stronger, healthier ecosystem than what you find in a typical, simple food garden. Food forests take a lot of work to become established, but as they mature over time, they require less maintenance.

To build a food forest, you don’t need acres and acres—you can grow as many as 300 species on a 1⁄4-acre lot, according to Dave Jacke, founder of Dynamics Ecological Design in Montague, Massachusetts. In fact, smaller might be better, so you can enjoy establishing and maintaining your forest garden. Food forests are possible in cities, as evidenced by the Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, and even on a floating barge—if you happen to have one of those around—such as Swale, a project in New York City. (Continue reading from Hobby Farm)