CTG Week 13: July 27th to August 2nd – Garden Potluck & Permaculture Talk from Claire


  • Permaculture Talk from Claire
  • Garden Potluck
The Tomatoes are Getting so Close…

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles, centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.

The concepts of permaculture were originated by David Holmgren & Bill Mollison. Last week our very own Claire Madden, one of our VCGN Teaching & Education Interns, took us through the 12 basics principles of permaculture, as articulated by David Holmgren in his book: Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. (Below). Condensing these twelve principles of permaculture into one definition is no small feat, but ultimately, it’s about caring for the earth, caring for people, and the importance of a return of surplus.

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

While it may seem to be easier said then done, transforming your backyard into a permaculture masterpiece doesn’t have to happen overnight.  It is actually recommend that you make changes gradually, observing how those changes influence and transform the natural makeup of your garden space.  So if you are considering your own permaculture project, take some time to do your research, and make changes at your own pace. Observing your own unique results will allow you to recognize which changes have been successful, as well as those that may do well with a tweak or two.

If you are looking for some additional info, check out some of these books…

     Permaculture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human SettlementsDavid Holmgren

      Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability – David Holmgren

            Farmers of Forty Centuries – F. H. King

            Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture – J. Russell Smith

            One Straw Revolution – M. Fukuoka

            Principles of Permaculture – David Holmgren

            An Introduction to Permaculture – Bill Mollison


Another amazing potluck has been entered into the record books! Delicious food and great company.  The spread was amazing, and so was the weather on that beautiful sunny morning.  I can’t believe that we only have one more community meal left. Our time together as a class is speeding by, but we will all have some great memories to hold on to, even after the bounty has been harvested and our classes come to an end.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s