“Have you heard of permaculture?” “No, I just treat Earth like an object I can take advantage of whenever I’m hungry, then leave it barren and filled with deadly deadly chemicals.”

17 08 2010

The cold that joined my body is mostly dissipated.

I’ve been healing with Ranier Maria Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet (all ten letters are there).

I’ve also been greatly inspired by William Turner’s paintings, specifically his use of BRIGHT LIGHT!

In the seed gardens, we’ve been pulling weeds outa the ground, picking chard and yarrow and bean seeds offa stems, and fingering seeds out of tomatos (and then making tomato sauce with the tomato shells).

Ross, living in Copake, hired to work days at Turtle Tree Seed Shop, has been marinating my mind in thoughts and techniques of PERMACULTURE, possibly the most important method of survival the huwan species can utilize. Permaculture (permanent agriculture) sets up areas of land, of ANY size, be it 600 acres or 20 square feet, to grow and yield products (usable/edible by people and other organisms) in such a way as to nurture the organisms and surrounding mini and macro ecosystems designed to grow. Chemicals are a HELL NO! ARE YOU STUPID?! In fact, 50+ years of research is proving that plants grown naturally, without chemicals, yield WAY MORE CROP than plants with chemicals.

Some examples of permaculture techniques: planting some seeds early in the season that will grow tall and create shade (and food); then, smaller plants (with food) that grow best in shade will grow underneath; when those plants die and wilt, other plants will grow in the same place, using the old plants for their nutrients to grow strong. There are permaculture water-cleansing methods, directing water to flow through certain grasses and root systems that NATURALLY purify polluted water. There are farmers who have spent many (20-30) years cultivating their soil so as to never need to weed. Gardens grown in spirals that naturally protect their own plants from invasive bugs, and never need tractors to maintain. Certain plants compliment and increase each others’ production; plant them next to each other! “Food forests” are intentional, planned forests, with trees and bushes, all growing naturally, without huwan assistance, and all growing edible crop! From wikipedia:

By attaching a chicken coop to a greenhouse you can reduce the need to heat the greenhouse by fossil fuels, as the chickens’ bodies heat the area.

The chickens scratching and pecking can be put to good use to clear new land for crops. Their manure can be used in composting to fertilize the soil. Feathers could be used in compost or as a mulch. In a conventional factory situation all these chicken outputs are seen as a waste problem.

The possibilities are as endless as nature…………………………..

Overall, permaculture looks to nature for its ideas. A jungle works way better than Ethopian irrigation. How can WE be more like a jungle? Design is key, and the rest, let it be, and then harvest the natural miracles. First, where’s the wind come from? Then, where should we plant trees. Next to consider, where can fire happen? Where would that be best? Then, sun exposure. And so on. Instead of the more common model for dealing with nature, a rather forceful, thoughtless, MAN MUST MASTER or MAN MUST PROTECT or MAN MUST NURTURE nature perspective, people can work with nature. Nature is the best teacher we have. Trying to master nature, without listening to what nature is saying, is like walking into NASA and explaining how to get to Pluto. Nature’s the boss. Nature knows what’s best. If we model our lives after natural processes (i.e. river flows; cloud speeds and patterns; seasonal / yearly plant growth; effects of natural fires etc. etc. etc. etc.), our consumerist / wasteful culture could be a lot more balanced.

This is all wicked interesting to me. For you, know that (and please, if you couldn’t care less about gardens, read this with an open mind, or take it as a metaphor, where gardens mean… ‘family’, or ‘partner’, or ‘job’ or something)

  1. Maintaining a small garden with a few vegetables for yourself or your neighbors is NOT difficult. Planning is essential for an easy gardening experience—make a blueprint. In a house, you’re gonna need to build a wall somewhere; find the best place for the wall (considering ALL conditions), and it’ll make your life much easier and happier when you’re living with the meditated, thought-out wall, you have a real connection with.
  2. QUESTION WHAT WORKS. Sure, our culture has a lot of things that work. But there are always more ways to do things, and very often, it’s the sixth or seventh or fifteenth idea that is the best.
  3. If you’re going to do something, do it FULLY, as best you can. That may mean research, meditate, feel, listen, gather ideas… do this before starting. It’s much easier to make your life easy in the decision making process at the beginning, rather than in the activity process in the middle / end, when all your conditions are set up, and you’ve forced yourself to work in certain circumstances. Indeed, WE CHOOSE many many things. One hour of planning is worth the hundred+ years of immovable trees. And we all know, once our roots take hold of whatever ground we plant ourselves on, we become hella difficult to move.

(the following is from wikipedia)

Principles of Permaculture

  1. Observe and interact – By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy – By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback – We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services – Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste – By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details – By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate – By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions – Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity – Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal – The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change – We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

It’s a holistic, expansive, super-comprehensive, and infinitely vast field. Call it permaculture, sustainable agriculture, ecological architecture… whatever you call it, if you’re planning on interacting with earth, keep it in mind. Pee outside. We are ALL in this together.

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