The principles held by this term are an integral part of Peace Valley Community. The word ‘Permaculture’ was coined by Bill Mollison and has been defined since by many people. For the purposes of this project the following definition will be used:
Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems which have the diversity, stability & resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape, people & appropriate technologies, providing food, shelter, energy & other needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture is a philosophy and an approach to land use which works with natural rhythms & patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual & perennial plants, animals, water & soil management, & human needs into intricately connected & productive communities.’ - Bill Mollison & Scott Pittman, La Tierra Community CA PDC flyer
Further to the above definition are the principles listed below which more specifically guide the practice of permaculture. It could be said that permaculture is a way of living as relevant for social as land David Holmgren’s Permaculture Design Principles:
- Catch and Store Energy
- Obtain a Yield
- Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
- Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
- Produce No Waste
- Design From Pattern to Detail
- Integrate Rather than Segregate
- Use Small and Slow Solutions
- Use and Value Diversity
- Use Edges and Value the Marginal
- Creatively Use and Respond to Change
Low Tech and Off Grid
To reduce our impact on the environment we can reduce our reliance on petrochemical products and energy. To increase local resilience, building local solutions to our needs is necessary.
Peace Valley uses solar power, generated on site, local water collection, and compost toilet systems. It will aim to be a plastic free zone over time. Currently plastic is used as recycled or recyclable items e.g. the water tanks, tents and the tarp.
Building the first Garden Area
It's important to be self reliant as far as possible for food production. To this aim the first experimental vegetable gardens were started. An area near the campsite was chosen which is sloping gently to the NE. It has full sun both winter and summer. Evening shade comes early due to the trees and the ridge to the west. This is an advantage during the hotter months. As the camp sits at a low point on the property the garden is in a frost hollow, altering what vegetables can be grown through the winter. The bedrock is Rhylite which is very close to the surface in large flat sheets, the soil is therefore shallow and deficient in calcium and magnesium. After taking these things into account it was decided to create raised beds, to add basalt soil from another area at Bindarrabi and to enrich this with ground dolomite stone. Thick layers of grass mulch were used to kill the underlying grass and soil was added on top of this. Another thick layer of mulch tops the beds off to protect from drying out and to maintain a steady temperature for the plants roots and the microorganisms in the soil.