“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”
Bill Mollison, co-creator of Permaculture
Companion-Planting: Instead of a few herb monocultures, our three-acre garden is filled with over 200 plant species. This diverse ecosystem develops a soil health that nourishes plants, inhibits pests and diseases, and supports native pollinators by blooming throughout the season.
Perennials: The majority of our garden consists of perennial plants that gain in vigour each year, as their root systems develop. The garden becomes fuller and more productive each year with little input.
Rainwater Conservation: We have designed our garden to be very water efficient. Its slopes are terraced with hugels (German for “little hills”) that channel and capture rainwater. Hugels are swales built out of brush, logs, and soil. As the wood decomposes, the hugels become immensely fertile sponges, absorbing water and releasing nutrients to the surrounding plants.
No-Till, No Pesticides: We do not disturb the microbial and fungal communities of our garden with plows or pesticides. Instead, we focus on supporting beneficial bacteria and fungi in our soil, which then manage the job of recycling nutrients and feeding our plants effectively.
Reduced Erosion: The swales in our garden significantly reduce erosion and runoff into lakes and streams (the most common agricultural pollutant) while they replenish the groundwater table.
Compost: We create our own compost by processing organic matter from our gardens and animals within large stone-walled compost areas.
Pollinator Power: We tend our own beehive, to help support our flowering plants and our local wildflowers. ifarm also has a number of “bee hotels,” crafted shelters that provide homes for our essential native pollinators.
Terracing: We designed our garden to take advantage of sunlight at every possible height, which maximizes the efficiency of small spaces. We have trees, bushes, and ground level plants all sharing space. Over the next five years, the trees and bushes will grow larger and more productive, complementing our ground-level plant harvests.
Modern Technology: We have solar panels that offset all of our electricity costs, as well as a greywater reclamation system that minimizes waste.
By working together with nature, the permaculturist can achieve abundant organic crop yields while supporting the local community and ecosystem. Permaculture is rooted in the following three ethics.
Humans can only flourish if the natural ecosystems we rely on are healthy. Permaculture creates an environment where all species can thrive.
Permaculture provides communities with access to the nutrient-rich resources necessary for health.
The world has finite resources. By respecting natural limits with creativity, we can provide for ourselves and the future.