Biodiversity, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Plant Systems, Trees — by Angelo Eliades February 12, 2013
Hearing Geoff Lawton speak about the effectiveness of natural pest control in food forests during my PDC studies is what originally prompted me to design and build a backyard food forest garden. Nature taking care of pests in the garden? It sounded too good to believe, and coming from a science background, I just had to test the concept out. After all, any good science can be replicated!
Four years later, after working out how to scale down a food forest into an urban backyard, and going through the designing, building, documenting and weighing of all produce, I inadvertently had created Melbourne’s first demonstration urban food forest and a proof of concept experiment that had more far-reaching outcomes than I first envisaged. Hundreds of people visit the garden each year to see it first hand and learn how it all works. Even our local government has taken a liking to the concept of permaculture and I’m often hired by them to present on the topics of permaculture and sustainable gardening to an equally interested general public. I put it down to a good teacher!
The garden productivity has been fantastic, and has been increasing steadily from year to year, but what has been even more impressive is how the garden I first designed has become a living ecosystem that has taken on a life of its own. Geoff warned us that would happen! With passing time, the system has increased in stability and resilience and the pests have clearly reduced. I would like to share some observations in this article which clearly demonstrate the proof of concept of natural pest control in food forests.Comments (17)
Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Salination, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Angelo Eliades June 6, 2012
Currently, approximately 80% of the food crops grown in the world are annual plants, and it’s been this way for quite some time. Perennial plant food crops are pretty much in the minority in terms of how the human race derives its nutrition.
Permaculture strongly emphasises the importance of using perennial plants in our food production systems. When we consider the permanent agriculture aspect of permaculture, it should be apparent that we would need to utilise perennial plants to construct a permanent system, rather than using annual crops to create temporary systems, which are there one season, and return to bare earth the next.
The preference for perennial plants is stated explicitly in the seventh permaculture design principle — Small Scale Intensive Systems. It describes the use of perennial plants instead of annual plants as one of the features that differentiates permaculture small scale intensive systems from either conventional commercial or peasant farming systems.
To many people, the reason we use perennial plants is simply because they don’t need to be replanted each year, and don’t die down each year, saving us a lot of effort digging, sowing seeds, and cleaning up at the end of the season — and then they simply leave their understanding at that.Comments (69)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Society — by Angelo Eliades May 26, 2012
In Nature, all things are interconnected to each other, and in permaculture we strive to understand the relationships that comprise the ecological web of life. Through understanding the relationships in an ecological system, we can model these to build similarly sustainable systems.
Of all the ecological relationships we might encounter, possibly the most important (to us) is the relationship of humanity to the rest of Nature. One of the greatest realisations that come from studying permaculture is that we are not above Nature, we are part of it, an integral part of the system so to speak, and when we assume out rightful and proper place, our relationship to Nature changes profoundly.
The aim of this article is to examine humanity’s relationship to Nature, how it has changed over time, how we can reclaim our unique ecological niche, and the benefits gained from reclaiming our rightful place in the ecological scheme of things.Comments (14)
Courses/Workshops, Education, Society, Village Development — by Angelo Eliades January 11, 2012
We can teach philosophy by teaching gardening, but we cannot teach gardening by teaching philosophy. – Bill Mollison
The place of philosophy in Permaculture has always been a contentious subject and for very good reasons. The very identity and credibility of the design system of permaculture rests on its sound scientific underpinnings and foundations.
Through the definition of strict boundaries of what can and cannot be added to the body of the permaculture syllabus, it has managed to retain its intended focus, and therefore its effectiveness as a scientific design discipline.
If the relationship and connection of permaculture to philosophy is not clearly understood, we run the very real risk of destroying the integrity of the discipline of permaculture, by making inappropriate additions in the misguided endeavour to ‘make it all things to all people’.
So, the best way to tackle any contention about this subject is to examine the nature of permaculture itself as well as the nature of what we loosely define as philosophy, and the relationship between them. And that’s precisely what we’ll do!Comments (15)
Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Structure — by Angelo Eliades October 25, 2011
I hate lawns…. — Bill Mollison (‘Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution – An Interview with Bill Mollison by Scott London’)
Lawns, love them or hate them, they are one of those features of modern life that we take for granted, though we’ve long forgotten their origins. We have lawn because we’ve ‘always had lawns’, without questioning why….
Most permaculture practitioners loathe them frankly, seeing the space are valuable ground better utilised for growing food!
Now, imagine if we applied our permaculture design principles to lawns, what would be the result? Can we come up with a permaculture design rationale for the much maligned common lawn?Comments (18)
Conservation, Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees — by Angelo Eliades October 21, 2011
We’re all familiar with the concept of forests — lush, abundant expanses of pristine wilderness, teeming with life, a richness of biodiversity and awe-inspiring to behold. Trees and plants intertwined, filling every possible space, the very well-spring of life itself!
Forests exist fine on their own. There’s no mowing, weeding, spraying, or digging required. No pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides or nasty chemicals. No work and no people either. They somehow do very well, thank you.
Now, imagine if everything in this lush, abundant, spectacular forest was edible!Comments (36)
Compost, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Water Harvesting — by Angelo Eliades April 13, 2011
Editor’s Note: Some of you may remember my Magic in Melbourne post, where I covered the back yard of a certain urban wizard named Angelo, and his sidekick Louie. Well, Angelo gives us a great update on his progress below. It’s a very inspiring read, as I’m sure you’ll discover.
In our modern, Western, science-centred world, proof is very highly valued. We are habitual sceptics, our minds are trained to hunger for irrefutable facts, and when these aren’t delivered, claims are met with denial, scepticism and disbelief….
When it comes to permaculture, one question that often arises from those outside of Permaculture circles is "…but does it really work?" Far too often, I’ve heard people doubting the viability of permaculture systems, I’ve even heard lukewarm responses from within our own ranks!
It’s not every day that you wake up and try to objectively prove a major system of thinking to yourself. But one morning in early 2008 I woke up like every other morning, but took that first step on a fateful journey that would change everything….Comments (24)