64/3 Moo1 Tambon Vieng nuea, Amphoe Pai, Mae Hong Son, Thailand seedlings.pai@gmail.com +66 852641331

PERMACULTURE & LAND RESTAURATION

OBJECTIVES

We have bought old rice paddies that have been abused by monoculture, herbicides, and lack of proper care for decades and want to turn them into a food heaven striving on diversity to create abundance and share it.

This land will be our playground for all workshops on natural lifestyle and permaculture.

WATER

Water is the main resource, plentiful during monsoon (June-October) and scarce during dry season (November-May). To avoid floods and drought, we started by digging ponds on the lands and a network of drains that can be used to both irrigate and drain excess water.

ORCHARD

Trees and fruit trees take time to grow, but their root system has the ability to break down through even clay soil and improve its ability to absorb water and bring it to underground water tables. They also bring shade and organic matter that can be turned into top soil used as composting material.

We have planted more than 50 young trees this year: pigeon peas and Jamaican cherry, mangoes, tamarind, lime and oranges, moringa, papaya, mulberries, coconuts, bananas and roselle.

VEGETABLE GARDEN

We have opted for raised vegetable beds with bamboo frame to avoid soil being water logged during monsoon season.

For vegetables, we will focused on varieties that like water and are resistant to bugs such as beans, corn, squash and watermelon.

COMPOST

We are lucky to have Romance Farm in Pai as a partner. They graciously provide an unlimited amount of manure from their cows and horses, an invaluable source of rich organic matter to compost and enrich our own soil.

WHAT IS PERMACULTURE?

Permaculture is a holistic approach that can be difficult at first to understand all its implications possibilities it offers. It is often described as a set of agricultural and gardening techniques (unfortunately often reduced to the famous “hill culture”). Its field of application is actually much broader, however, and includes agricultural culture as well as the design of living spaces and relations within a community or a place: it is a holistic practice.

 

 

 

The definition we propose is that of the co-founder of permaculture, Bill Mollison.

Permaculture is an ethical design approach to building sustainable human habitats by imitating the workings of nature.

Firstly, an ethical approach because we need to put together a framework of values ​​to build a world, more than simply a sustainable society. The ethical framework is therefore of great importance. The permaculture that we set up on our site is unique because it meets the values ​​we aspire to and our own sensitivity. These values ​​are: the deep respect of human beings and nature in all forms of life, the daily discipline in the work of the earth in full consciousness and the love of oneself and the beings around us.

As part of this ethical approach we have drafted an ecological charter through which we can clearly communicate these values ​​and their implementation in a concrete way (see Eco Seedlings charter). It is a design and design approach, because these sustainable human habitats are nourishing, organizational, structural systems that will  lead to energy efficiency, resilience and stability to build the sustainable world we aspire to.

The permaculture design is a methodology that allows us to realize our projects in an efficient, sustainable and economical way (time, resources, budget) starting from our context (our objectives, our site, our situation) all inspired by models in nature. It determines the capacities of the natural resources available on the site and thus the installation needs (management of the arrival of water, water quality, water filter and electricity).

Mimicking the workings of nature is also fundamental. This is done through a framework of thoughts and permaculture principles, developed by founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. These principles are guides to enable us to mimic nature at its best in order to create autonomous and sustainable “cultivated ecosystems.” We use nature as our teacher!

Why take inspiration from natural models when designing our living space and vegetable garden? Take a forest for example: does it need watering? Does she need fertilizer? Does she need the man to take care of her? How does the forest manage to produce biomass in large quantities? Because it is a stable and autonomous ecosystem.

 
The 7 Principles of Permaculture:
  • > Care for nature and the earth
  • > Habitat
  • > Tools and Technology
  • > Education and Culture
  • > Wellness and Health
  • > Finance and Economics
  • > Land and Governance

The permaculture flower describes the principles and places in relation to each other:

 

SUMMARY:

Three main ethical issues emerge from the founders’ analysis:

1. Pay attention to humans

2. Pay attention to the earth

3. Redistribute surpluses

Related to the dimension of agricultural approach, one could say that permaculture is a science of planning that allows sustainable development of activities while respecting and reinforcing the biotope (physicochemical environment). One of the main features of permaculture is to take into account the adaptation of plants to seasonal climate changes (phenology) and plant species associations (phytosociology).

The goal is to limit competition between plants while maximizing positive interactions. In the end, permaculture not only dynamically coexists different species, but also different production methods, thus considerably reducing the human energy needed to maintain and upkeep the farm. A complete permaculture system draws its ethics and strength from the integration of all kingdoms: bacterial, fungal, plant, animal and human.

The goal of permaculture is that humans live sustainably on the planet by designing sustainable and efficient systems (nursery, social, urban). This conception is enforced due to a method called design.

This design will allow us to create a space that fulfill the majority of our needs by promoting life in all its forms.

 

We will take into account:

  • > The management of the sun, the orientation of the land, the placement of the orchard area so as not to create shadows on the grain zone.
  • > Pond near the canal to the north, irrigation can be done by gravity, and from the roof of the house (recovery zone).
  • > The distance of the zones from the living areas.

The result? More autonomy, more well-being, more freedom. 

 

 

BENEFITS OF PERMACULTURE

Agricultural and Environmental Benefits

  • > Optimize (quantitative and qualitative) agricultural production through diversification and positive interactions.
  • > Strengthen production capacity over time by taking into account soil fertility.

Human benefits

  • > Minimize human tasks to the essentials by allowing nature to do as much as possible (by appropriate design).
  • > Resilience: emphasis on diversified food crops rather than on industrial monoculture.

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