Permaculture- A Designer's Manual excerpts...

Here are some excerpts from Bill Mollison's "Permaculture- A Designer's Manual".  It is a thick text book, a dense read, but the ideas are incredible.

In the section on Cycles: a Niche in Time (p.23), the following two paragraphs wrap permaculture into deep ecology, and the yogic principle of oneness.

"Each such cycle is a unique event; diet, choice, selection, season, weather, digestion, decomposition, and regeneration differ each time it happens.  Thus, it is the number of such cycles, great and small, that decide the potential for diversity.  We should feel ourselves privileged to be part of such eternal renewal.  Just by living we have achieved immortality- as grass, grasshoppers, gulls, geese, and other people.  We are of the diversity we experience in every real sense.
If, as physical scientists assure us, we all contain a few molecules of Einstein, and if the atomic particles of our physical body reach to the outermost bounds of the universe then we are all de facto components of all things.  There is nowhere left for us to go if we are already everywhere, and this is, in truth, all we will ever have or need.  If we love ourselves at all, we should respect all things equally, and not claim any superiority over what are, in effect, our other parts.  Is the hand superior to the eye?  The bishop to the goose?  The son to the mother?"

The importance of observing and interacting as a designer (p 46)

" To become a philosopher is not necessarily to be of benefit to the natural world, but to become a designer or gardener is to directly benefit nature or society, and one will inevitably generate natural ethics and philosophies.  To become a good designer is to be in search of an understanding of nature , and to be content with the search itself.  It is to design by natural example, becoming aware, taking notes, sitting a long time in one place, watching the wind behave and the trees respond, thrusting your hand into the soil to feel it for moisture (it is always more moist on the shade side of tussock grasses, for example),  and becoming sensitive to processes and sights about you."

This section is about using zones in design.  To delineate zones is to carefully look at the areas influence, work, interaction around you house/site.  In a permaculture design, one area (zone 5) is left undisturbed, to be a wilderness zone, in part to learn from nature, for biodiversity, for the whole that we cannot understand by manipulating or studying individual parts (p57-58).

1. Everything is of use.  It is not necessarily needed by people, but it is needed by the life complex of which we are a dependent part.
2. We cannot order complex functions.  They must evolve of themselves.
3. We cannot know a fraction of what exists.  We will always be a minor part of the total information system."

Digging up heritage seed potatoes near Castlegar to distribute into the community

I have been designing a food forest, and sometimes it is challenging with limited time to set the priorities. I will be doing the prep this summer for planting next spring and this is a good reminder of what to focus on.

"On a rural (and sometimes urban) site, Fencing or hedgerow, Soil rehabilitation by mulch (or loosening by tolls), Erosion control, and water supply are the essential precursors to successful plant establishment, for we can waste time and money putting out scattered plants in compacted, impractical, and dry sites.  Any soil shaping for roads, dams, swales terraces, or paths needs to be finalised before planting commences."

Grape Arbour Guild plan to do with highschool students in Creston

This is the benefit of people finding solutions for themselves...  and having communities of people that can talk about the ways that they have found to live in resilient life-affirming ways (p.68).
"We can design any expensive, uncomfortable, or ruinous system as long as we do not have to live in it, or fund it ourselves.  Responsible design arises from recommending to others the way you have found it possible to work or to live in a similar situation.  It is much more effective to educate people to plan for themselves than to pay for a permanent and expensive corps of " planners" who lead lives unrelated to those conditions or people for whom they are employed to design."

Before- grape arbour with one row of grapes

There is always the idea of evaluation.  How do we know we are making a difference?  How do we know we made the right design? (p.68)

"Over a relatively short evolution of three to six years, a sound design might well achieve:
-Reduction in the need to earn (conservation of food and energy costs).
-Repair and conservation of degraded landscapes, buildings, soils, and species at risk.
-Sustainable product in short-, medium-, and long-terms.
-A unique, preferably essential, service or product for the region.
-Right livelihood (good work ) for occupants in services or goods.
-Sound and safe legal status for the occupiers.
-An harmonious and productive landscape without wastes or poisons.
-A cooperative and information-rich part of the regional society."

Adding keyhole beds with insectary plants, mulch plants, dynamic accumulators and nitrogen fixers


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