A flick of the curtain shows a clear sky, the sun has returned. Another stunning Scandinavian morning! As we enter this second week of the our PDC here at Ridgedale Permaculture, the students’ design imaginations have been activated to start applying the skills they have learned over the last 11 days.
We learn about the wonderful tree bog, an above ground compost toilet integrating surface heavy feeding plants. A boundary of Birch or Willow encompassing cuttings of dynamic accumulators like comfrey should do it. The benefit, “it’s just getting consumed and you just get useful products like baskets, fencing materials and firewood from the willow. We love these systems because we've got better things to do than empty shit buckets.” The groundcovers could be harvested and used as fodder materials for animals or put into composts to kick-start the nutrient cycle. Even in drylands you could connect roof water catchment, add some water from a well, drive grey-water from the kitchen, and sink the whole system into a small depression with deep mulches to ensure the water remains for a while to support the process of breaking down the waste by the plants. Besides the WET systems (described below) This is one of my favourites - multiple functions, energy cycling, using biological resources, small scale intensive systems, diversity…. loving it!
“In 1993 we created a WET System for Weston's Cider - a large family owned cider mill in Herefordshire and in 2001 we created a WET System for The Otter Brewery - an expanding family owned ‘micro-brewery’ in Devon. Then in 2007 another cider mill WET System was created; this one was for Sheppy's Cider Farm in Somerset.” http://www.biologicdesign.co.uk/page.php?pageid=wetsystemsestablished
Bio-gas digesters are also introduced as we learn how such systems are used in India to provide fuel for 5 million people. Important – “you need some kind of flashback collar or airlock…. otherwise you might die.” Good advice! Tom Kendall has built one at the Maungaraeeda at the PRI Sunshine Coast and you can check out the build here - http://permaculturesunshinecoast.org/2013/02/24/biogas-project-at-pri-sunshine-coast/
Heading back to Australia I’m going to be able to look at all of our access roads and perhaps re-model them to act as water suspension and collection systems, rather than delivering water to the natural flow that leaves our site directly. The water will eventually end up assisting the regeneration of these systems, we’re just keen to avoid supporting any erosion we may inadvertently be creating with the current placement of our roads.
A cool book to note is “Let Water do the Work” by Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier, but it’s currently out of print and you’ll have to place an order (or pay $1000 2nd hand!)
The Vision is outlined as ‘the establishment of resilient perennial crop systems to support the development of a stable, off-grid community’. The mission statement reads: ‘The restoration of soils and reduced erosion and water loss by implementing Keyline Design and Holistic Management techniques to work towards abundance by increasing production and establishment of perennial crop, grains and animal systems’.
Armando asks if the spiritual context of the community needs to be considered in the design. This gets me thinking. I reckon that the community’s spiritual endeavour will exist whether the project is applied or not, however it raises a very poignant design element. Can there be a partnering of practical and effective methods of food production and the representation of the character or essence of a place… hopefully so.
The evening involves mostly continued work on design, some students head to the lake, while Lars, Richard and Thoma head out on the new row boat to score some more predator protein from the deep. The sauna calls once again before settling in to a wonderful TEDx presentation by Alf Orpen in Byron Bay about regenerative enterprise. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzkAkyMu5Kw)
PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE 27TH SEPT - 11TH OCT 2014
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