Erin from the Karma Marketplace in Penetanguishene sent us this. We are doing a workshop there on May 5th.
By Jennifer Harker of the Midland Mirror, Apr 26, 2012
Learning from Mother Nature
Participants in permaculture workshop May 5 will discover a new/old way of growing
PENETANGUISHENE – Permaculture may be a fancy word, but it’s actually a simple idea. “Permaculture is a type of ecological gardening that aims to be beneficial to the garden, to the environment and all wildlife in the area,” explained Jenn McCallum, marketing and communications co-ordinator for Hundred Mile Huronia.
It also benefits the gardener, as a permaculture garden takes very little input once established. Weeding, watering and maintenance are minimized, as plants are selected for their ability to shade each other, offer natural pest control and provide valuable nutrients in a supportive cycle. “It’s a way of modelling a garden after nature, where you work with it instead of against it,” McCallum said. “Nature doesn’t need any help.”
She pointed to natural edibles that grow lushly along the sides of trails without additional water, weeding, fertilizer or pesticides as an example of permaculture in action. With a little planning, home gardens can achieve the same effect. “Initially there is some work to set it up, but after, it should mostly take care of itself.”
Hundred Mile Huronia is a yearlong project aimed at promoting local food in the area. It will present a permaculture workshop on May 5 at the Ecology Garden in Penetanguishene. “We’re bringing in Jennifer and Tim of All Sorts Acres from Guelph,” said McCallum. “They have an ecological farm and they will show us how to design permaculture gardens.”
Topics will include practical principles to design a yard, garden and landscaping, as well as the top 10 permaculture plants for the region and how to create a “food forest” – a sort of engineered, biodiverse, richly productive garden. Hundred Mile Huronia is presenting the workshop to encourage the community to learn more about working with nature in their own garden. The symbiotic relationship between various plants and animals is not new. Terms such as bio-organics, biodynamics, agri-forestry and permaculture are simply being used to describe and resurrect ideas that were prominent pre-1950s, before the advent of intensive, large-scale farming.
Historically, there are many examples of symbiotic planting, such as the First Nations use of the three sisters (corn, beans, squash). The three plants provide mutual shade, support, nutrients and natural pest control.
“The idea of permaculture is really important for sustainability,” McCallum said. “Food in the grocery stores has travelled thousands of kilometres to get to us. If you grow your own, it’s a matter of metres, and no oil was required to transport it. Low-intensity gardening doesn’t require a lot of water, which is a worldwide issue.”