Today our class took a bike tour of Fairfield, and visited three homes where permaculture is being implemented. Each landscape was beautiful and unique. These properties are proof that you don’t have to live on a farm or own several acres to practice permaculture.
The first home we visited was enveloped by a magical, permaculture jungle. The landscape was teaming with edibles. There were berries, fruit trees, perennial vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, vines, water features, stone pathways, water catchements and compost bins. This place had a certain charm, and appeared untamed–but controlled chaos was definitely at play.
The second home had a landscape with an appearance which was a bit more orderly and structured. But still, many permaculture principles were at work. There were perennial vegetables, raised beds for planting, and a patch of banana plants that were functioning as a water filtering system. One of the coolest features of this property was a rootstock which had been grafted with three different varieties of pears. *Three different pears growing on one tree. I had no idea you could do that!
The last home we visited was incredibly beautiful. The landscape had been laid out very thoughtfully; walking paths wind throughout the property’s various garden plots–making them easy to access and enjoy. Many of the plants were simply ornamental, but there were some edibles, including: fruit trees, berry bushes, and various herbs. There were also chickens–which help to scratch up and enrich the soil (with their manure).
In the center of the backyard there is a sauna, which the owners share freely with the community. They also open their gardens up to the public, so that others might enjoy the beauty of nature. What a great example of how permaculture isn’t just about permanent agriculture; it’s also about bringing people together and culturing community.
I definitely enjoyed this field trip and feel that I gained a lot of valuable knowledge from visiting these properties. The differences in the designs really confirmed for me that permaculture is not just a sustainable practice, but also an exploratory and creative one. As Brian Robbins so eloquently put it: “The world is your oyster. –Go have fun.”