I’ve mentioned before I’m taking a permaculture design course and right now I’m working on the class project.
We have been asked to create an idea for a permaculture business, or organization (the details and what that looks like are up to us to decide). The project has to reflect all these different aspects of permaculture, such as community, ethics and social impact, along with the physical stuff like site design, zones and sector mapping.
While the class project itself is based on design and not implementation the instructors do stress that it’s something that would serve as a really good starting point for doing your own real-life permaculture project in the future, which is great because that was my plan anyway!
I plan on starting an organic farm/greenhouse business. The business will be modeled after permaculture ideas, and will help to show people in my area what permaculture looks like. I plan on donating a percentage of all the produce and crops I raise to shelters, food pantries or just people and families in need. My hope is that I can inspire other people in the community to do the same while at the same time helping people to start their own organic gardens and pursue their own permaculture ideas.
Before all that can happen, there’s a lot of work to be done. I’ll need to have a good design in place first. To make a good design, I need to know what I’m working with, what things will be a benefit and what potential challenges might I face along the way?
To help me answer some of those questions, I’ve created a few maps. I’ve put them together in one image, much like a transparency. I’m using Adobe Photoshop to create the maps so this allows me to play around with different layers, having a different “map” on each layer.
There’s a map of the property, it includes all the buildings, fences, trees, and permanent or semi-permanent structures. Some of these structures I plan on moving around when I get to that stage, but first I need to know the rest of the details.
There’s a flow map(the gray lines) that shows the way the landscape flows, the high points and valleys. It will help me to see where water might flow, what areas might get flooded, what might dry out, etc.
There’s a zone map (the curved red lines)which marks out the boundaries for stuff we might want close to the house, or further away. Elements that require more attention will be closer to the house. Elements that require less attention will be further from the house.
Finally there’s a sector map that lists different variables to consider when designing; like traffic, winter and summer sun, wildlife, wind, flood zones, neighboring farms and more. I’ll use these maps when I start working on the future design and it will help me decide where I want to place different elements within the system. While I don’t consider these maps to be complete just yet, they’re a good start, however there is still much work to be done. You can be sure I’ll continue to share this project on here as it develops. 🙂