Re: RE: Permaculture market garden [PC class file under Invisible structures: ec

In a message dated 1/27/97 2:58:03 AM, you wrote:

>permaculture and market garden are a bit of an oxymoron
>- the role of permaculture is by pass market gardening,
>if we want to do sustainable market gardening we 
>have a number of costs to address 
>which was covered earlier by many of us
>sustainble farming imports less than it exports [ref Andrew Erb]
>local production is best as it involves less packaging and transport
>use locally available materials
>other costs involve more picking time as the plants are mixed up not
>sitting in rows
>sacrifices may be made in order to get a large enough harvest
>you may have to treat all the plants with same setup (micro climate, light,
>in a good permaculture system the fruits DON"T all ripen at the same time.

Well, I have to disagree partially here, April.  Permaculture people need
money too and if they get it pumping gas that isn't permaculture at all.  If
they get it by carefully tending land according to permaculture principles,
that's fine.  It always helps to have value added steps to minimize the
nutrient egress but there are other was to achieve this balance, such as
backhauling garbage to be used as animal feed (ends up as manure), etc.  

I have to also protest the apparent assumption that market gardening and
sustainable farming are the same.  As we have discussed in other contexts,
sustainabile farming is an oxymoron whereas sustainable gardening is quite

Crops that mature at one time are not excluded from permaculture, they just
need to be designed with good sense, so that even work flow is maintained.
 If you had said that the first goal of any permaculture design is the
self-reliance (not the same as self-sufficiency) of the people living within
the design, I would agree.  They can also use resources at hand to produce
cash crops.  Mollison talks about this a lot and in this case I have to agree
with him.  

Consider, if you will, market gardening as part of the staging.  When society
is so enlightened that it does not assess taxes on land and when we are so
well capitalized that we can generate all energy on site, we can become
isolationists and genetically inbred.  Meanwhile, we need some flows in and
out.  The design is to help us be sure that they are balanced and neither
exploiting remote ecosystems nor  home ecosystems.

I'll use our personal case as an example.  Cynthia is a midwife and her
employment is with the health department and hospital.  She goes there maybe
three times a week depending on the call and clinic schedules with the other
midwives.  We will plant far more of everything than the two of us need, as I
always do, figuring that in the worst of years I'll have enough.  One can sop
this up on site by adjusting animal populations, minimum breeding stock in
lean years and feeding lots of hungry young in good years.  We'll do some of
that, but again it will be more animals than we want to use, too.  What we
need that we can't make on site is cash to retire the mortgage.  This is
real--this is our starting point and most people's starting point.
 Permaculture is realism, we deal with the actual situation instead of saying
how an ideal society should have treated us.

It makes sense to me that Cynthia will haul our persimmons and figs and water
chestnut and Indian potatoes to market when she goes to work and back haul
food wastes and yard wastes when she returns.  We will also be using our
center as a place for local trials of fruits, mainly, and some
non-traditional vegetables and other crops (e.g. Asian water buffalo,
mayhaws, etc.) and we will have starts of these--grafted seedlings, breeding
stock, tubers, etc., to sell to foster self-reliance and phase us out of
markets.  Moreover, in every box of eggs and with every stack of Indian
potatos or persimmons or feijoas, we will have an item saying a bit about
permaculture, how these particularl crops were grown (don't believe in
certification) and how people can develop their own crops.  So as we face out
of markets because everyone is growing their own, we gain markets in
propagation materials, workshops, etc.  This sounds like permaculture to me.
 When we have paid off the mortgage, we can decide whether to give it a break
or send my grandkids to college (first due next month). 

Part of this permaculture design, also, is the opportunities for interns to
participate in projects on a profit sharing basis and the eventual
possibility that they can situate on adjacent land as part of a small
community of purpose.  You can't depend on education projects for production,
however, because education has to include freedom to make mistakes without
penalty.  People learn from mistakes and comparing mistakes to when they hit
it right.  Needless to say, appropriate scale has to be governed by the
teacher so the mistakes aren't ruinous anyway.  So some other source has to
subsidize education and again market gardening can be a part of that

I assumed that when we got the post the market gardening was not the whole
picture but the part they wanted information about.  I figure this is a
permaculture mailing group and that's what I expect.  If you think market
gardening can't be a part of a permaculture design, I have to disagree.  If
you are suggeting that it should not be the final stage in staging, in many
cases, but not all, I would agree.  Lets give people many sustainable ways,
including market gardening, to make their money.

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
permaculture training by email. Copyright, 1996, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O.
Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA  YankeePerm@aol.com  

We don't have time to rush.