Skip to main content

Permaculture - creatively use and respond to change

As you know, each month this year I've been reviewing a principle from David Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability.  Now I'm up to the twelth principle (phew!), creatively use and respond to change, it is somewhat ironic that Pete and I have recently made some major changes in our life!

a stream at Fox Glacier, lots of change happening there!
This principle is about anticipating and working with change, generating change for positive results and adapting to change that we can't control.

The most obvious example of the first aspect is using succession to create a productive food forest.  Using nurse plants to shelter young trees, planting productive annuals to obtain a yield early, while the perrinials grow and generally planning for how the forest will develop over time.  There is also the aspect of working with nature and not against it.  For example, we are more and more convinced that we want to develop perrenial pasture on our property rather than fight against the weeds  in a forage crop.

In terms of generating change, the first example I think of is "disturbance" created by Joel Salatin's mob-stocking, and this is something we really want to try.  Outside of farming, my recent change of job is about creating diversity in our income (so we don't both work at the same place) and resilience (which is all about the ability to cope with change).

Change that we can't control would include climate change and declining fossil fuel availability.  This is the change that we need to be able to adapt to, and I particularly liked what David wrote about patterns of traditional life being important for our ability to adapt, if we are focussed on our home and our own food production systems, a change in the availability of goods won't be such a shock.  I also think that the books of Jarrod Diamond, particularly Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, add some context about how other societies have (unfortunately) failed to adapt to change.

This is the last principle, its been hard work reading and thinking about them, but I've really enjoyed discussing them with you all.  I'll do a sum-up in January, and introduce a permaculture guest post project that I'll be running next year.  If you're interested in writing about getting started with permaculture start thinking about what you would write and I'll ask for contributions in the new year.

How do you creatively use and respond to change at your place?

The other principles from David Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability that I've reviewed have been:

Comments

  1. Great series Liz. It has been great to hear about how you have linked each principle to your lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting post. I think we humans have to learn that change is something to be embraced rather than resisted. I know we've spent 5 years of observing our land and seen changes that alarmed us at first. Through books like Joel Salatin's and others, we're learning that change is part of a greater process.

    In my mind, I see a 4 or 5 year rotation of our pasture/forage areas, which are always in a state of change. Pigs for tilling one year, grain crops the next, then forage and grasses for the livestock for a couple of years. By that time the pasture will need reworking again, so it would be back to pigs. This is all in the idea phase so I don't know how any of it would actually work!

    I love that you're being so proactive about this. That's something we need to be as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for your comments, I've really enjoyed writing these posts :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

The new Eight Acres website is live!

Very soon this blogspot address will automatically redirect to the new Eight Acres site, but in the meantime, you can check it out here.  You will find all my soaps, ebooks and beeswax/honey products there, as well as the blog (needs a tidy up, but its all there!).  I will be gradually updating all my social media links and updating and sharing blog posts over the next few months.  I'm very excited to share this new website with you!


Worm farm maintenance

I have had the worm farm for over a year now, and I have to say it’s the easiest and most convenient way I have found to make compost and to dispose of vege scraps and other organic waste. I have not had much success with putting everything in a compost bin, I find that the food scraps go all sloppy and don’t really compost properly. I have found that my current system works much better, all food scraps go to the worms and the compost bin is for weeds and manure. The worms are able to eat all our food scraps and convert it to compost and worm tea, and there is still plenty for the compost bin, but now its not full of sloppy food scraps. People often ask if its necessary or possible to have both a worm farm and a compost bin, and I think it actually works better for us.



The worm farm really requires very little maintenance.  All I have to do is tip in more food scraps every few days, drain the tea once a week or so, check that the top tray is damp (if not, tip in half a bucket of …

Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.



How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…