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Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 05:06 PM

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Seeding GroundFrom Toby Hemmingway, "Of all the various incarnations of ecological design, sustainable living, holistic systems management, and related big-picture ideas for living on a small planet, the one that grabs me is permaculture ...seem so complete, self-contained, and naturally integrated...combines a set of coherent and interlinked principles, an energy- and resource-conserving attention to relative placement of elements, and... a set of ethical guidelines. It is also amply broad-reaching to appeal to a discipline-roaming generalist like me." Click Read More...
Pattern Literacy

Toby Hemenway is the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, and associate editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture.

Readings in Permaculture, Ecological Design, and Pattern Literacy

After obtaining a degree in biology from Tufts University...he was growing unsatisfied with the direction biotechnology was taking, he discovered permaculture, a design approach based on ecological principles that creates sustainable landscapes, homes, and workplaces. A career change followed. Toby now lives with his wife in southern Oregon. He teaches permaculture and consults and lectures on ecological design throughout the country. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener. He is available for workshops, lectures, and consulting in ecological design.

Primary Principles for Functional Design:

1. Observe. Use protracted and thoughtful observation rather than prolonged and thoughtless action. Observe the site and its elements in all seasons. Design for specific sites, clients, and climates.

2. Connect. Use relative location: Place elements in ways that create useful relationships and time-saving connections among all parts. The number of connections among elements creates a healthy, diverse ecosystem, not the number of elements.

3. Catch and store energy and materials. Identify, collect, and hold the useful flows moving through the site. By saving and re-investing resources, we maintain the system and capture still more resources.

4. Each element performs multiple functions. Choose and place each element in a system to perform as many functions as possible. Increasing beneficial connections between diverse components creates a stable whole. Stack elements in both space and time.

5. Each function is supported by multiple elements. Use multiple methods to achieve important functions and to create synergies. Redundancy protects when one or more elements fail.

6. Make the least change for the greatest effect. Find the "leverage points" in the system and intervene there, where a the least work accomplishes the most change.

7. Use small scale, intensive systems. Start at your doorstep with the smallest systems that will do the job, and build on your successes, with variations. Grow by chunking.

Principles Derived from Living and Energy Systems:

8. Use the edge effect. The edge¬óthe intersection of two environments¬óis the most diverse place in a system, and is where energies and materials accumulate. Optimize the amount of edge.

9. Accelerate succession. Mature ecosystems are more diverse and productive than young ones, so use design to jump-start succession.

10. Use biological and renewable resources. Renewable resources (usually plants and animals) reproduce and build up over time, store energy, assist yield, and interact with other elements.

11. Recycle energy. Supply local and on-site needs with energy from the system, and reuse this energy as many times as possible. Every cycle is an opportunity for yield.


12. Turn problems into solutions. Constraints can inspire creative design: "We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities."

13. Get a yield. Design for both immediate and long-term returns from your efforts: "You can't work on an empty stomach." Set up positive feedback loops to build the system and repay your investment.

14. Design limits yield. The designer's imagination limits total yield more often than do the laws of physics.

15. Mistakes are tools for learning. Evaluate your trials. Making mistakes is a sign you are trying to do things better.

Rules for resource use:
Ranked from regenerative to degenerative, different resources can:
1) increase with use;
2) be lost when not used;
3) be unaffected by use;
4) be lost by use;
5) pollute or degrade systems with use.

other sites:
Open Permaculture
Permaculture Wiki
Eugene Permaculture Guild ¬ď Events
Portland Permaculture Guild ¬ď Events
Bill Mollison [wikipedia]
PermaCulture Information Web

updates coming soon.............

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