The Econ Farm was purchased in 2003 by Tia and Terry Meer, and is used for demonstrating sustainable living practices and for educational classes on topics such as organic gardening, permaculture, and sustainability. This fall from Sept. 15 – Nov. 4th they are offering their third Permaculture Design Course in Orlando, FL.
Permaculture is a design for sustainable living and agriculture. The methods can be applied around the world to turn degraded ecosystems into productive and thriving communities. It is not only a way of life, but also the future. It takes methods and strategies from around the world and weaves them into an applicable example that can be used in urban and rural land designs. In a time when environmental health is at risk, permaculture is one of the solutions that will help us rise above the ecological problems that we are currently facing.
To learn more about the Econ Farm and how you can get involved visit, http://www.simplelivinginstitute.org/econfarm.html
Tour of the Econ Farm
Now, is a great time to get those plant seedlings going. The cool fall weather in Florida is a relief from the heat for human and plant life. With good potting mix, water, and sun, these plants are off to a good start.
The herb spiral is a garden that is highly productive in a small space. It allows the free exercise of creativity. It is best to place it near the kitchen where it can be reached easily when needed. Part of permaculture is positioning structures in a place that is close by and easily accessible to obtain the maximum efficiency.
Compost and nutrients are a necessity for a healthy and bountiful organic gardening. Worm composting (left) and composted chicken manure are beneficial amendments for any garden.
In a sustainable settlement, providing water for all the facilities can be achieved by installing a rain barrel system. The system at the Econ Farm has a large storage tank so that excess water can be saved until it is needed. The pump for the system is run by using solar panels which makes it sustainable.
After water has been used for kitchen sinks, dishwashers, bathroom sinks, tubs and showers it becomes know as “grey water.” Water that would normally be sent off to a water treatment plant can be filtered and reused. This pond at the Econ Farm is an example of how this can be accomplished. The water is piped into the pond and the impurities are filtered out as the water makes its way through the roots of these lily plants. This small ecosystem is home to crabs, shrimp, and mosquito fish.
During our first day of permaculture, we studied the different patterns that occur in nature. We each found three things that displayed the specific patterns we had discussed. This caterpillar though wasn’t too thrilled about participating.
As part of day 1 of the course, we learned how to make a Hugelkultur. This process is composed of organic materials derived from plant or animal matter that has been decomposed mainly through aerobic decomposition. To begin, our group worked together to dig a trench and pile in wood, branches, and yard waste.
Next, we began covering it with nitrogen rich manure, mushroom compost, and soil.
This is the finished product along with all the plants that now call this pile home.
At the end of the day, we all wrote down what we learned and received from the class. I’m looking forward to the next class as I work towards being certified in Permaculture Design.