Sunday, March 19, 2017

Permaculture Design Course - Setting Goals

Here is a simple map which helped me articulate what my goals were for the permaculture design course I've signed up for.  Articulating goals was one of the tasks for the first assignment in anticipation of the first class (next weekend).  The benefit of the map and the mapping process is that it allows me to see how the top level goals are related and part of a broader system.  I don't use color-coding very often but in this case it was a simple way of identifying what I had already completed, what I wanted to do in the near term, and some vision for the longer term.

Map #25 - Goal Setting with Color-coded Prioritization (simple)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Permaculture and Design Thinking

I have developed an obsessive interest in permaculture in the past few weeks.  I've binged watched countless YouTube videos, including an entire MOOC provided by Oregon State University and everything my local library had on the subject.

Why the sudden interest?  Some of it may have to do with the fact that spring is coming and I have been trying to do something about the yard (front and back).  But there is more to it.  Permaculture isn't your typical backyard gardening.  It's much more intriguing.  

1) The thinking that goes into it, the design thinking part of it is critical;

2)  You don't wait for a perfect design. Clearly, a lot of thought goes into where to plant what, but it's really a matter of learning over time what works best for the unique characteristics of the site you're working on and starting small;

3) It's simple, trying to mimic nature, and yet very complex (just like nature) because of all the interactions among the different elements of the system.

I signed up for a hands-on permaculture design class that will take place over 6 weekends through the spring, summer and into early fall.  Some things you can learn with books and YouTube videos, but this requires playing with dirt (and compost).

My favorite YouTube videos so far on this topic are the collection from the Bec Helloin farm in France (mostly in French).  This is a great little piece of paradise but the permaculture principles have been applied on a large scale in other countries, including China (see the experience of the Loess Plateau).

Here's a little map synthesizing what I've retained so far at a very high level.

Map #24 - Understanding Permaculture - A Beginner's Map