I’m taking this great Permaculture course by Open Oregan State University
It was really easy to sign up for and is hosted on the Canvas Network.
The Canvas Network has a selection of free online learning opportunities
Week 1 What is Permaculture?
Twelve Permaculture design principles
Twelve Permaculture design principles articulated by David Holmgren in his Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:
- Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
- 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.
- Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Layers are one of the tools used to design functional ecosystems that are both sustainable and of direct benefit to humans. A mature ecosystem has a huge number of relationships between its component parts: trees, understory, ground cover, soil, fungi, insects, and animals. Because plants grow to different heights, a diverse community of life is able to grow in a relatively small space, as the vegetation occupies different layers. There are generally seven recognized layers in a food forest, although some practitioners also include fungi as an eighth layer.
- The canopy: the tallest trees in the system. Large trees dominate but typically do not saturate the area, i.e. there exist patches barren of trees.
- Understory layer: trees that revel in the dappled light under the canopy.
- Shrub layer: a diverse layer of woody perennials of limited height. includes most berry bushes.
- Herbaceous layer: Plants in this layer die back to the ground every winter (if winters are cold enough, that is). They do not produce woody stems as the Shrub layer does. Many culinary and medicinal herbs are in this layer. A large variety of beneficial plants fall into this layer. May be annuals, biennials or perennials.
- Soil surface/Groundcover: There is some overlap with the Herbaceous layer and the Groundcover layer; however plants in this layer grow much closer to the ground, grow densely to fill bare patches of soil, and often can tolerate some foot traffic. Cover crops retain soil and lessen erosion, along with green manures that add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, especially nitrogen.
- Rhizosphere: Root layers within the soil. The major components of this layer are the soil and the organisms that live within it such as plant roots (including root crops such as potatoes and other edible tubers), fungi, insects, nematodes, worms, etc.
- Vertical layer: climbers or vines, such as runner beans and lima beans (vine varieties).