Category Archives: Permaculture

All Hallows’ Community Garden work afternoon

There has been a lot of interest and support for the idea of a Community Garden at All Hallows’, we have done some thinking and planning and shortly some actual work will get under way! We have a work afternoon planned for Sunday 14th April starting from about 12:30pm.

On our first work session we hope to cut back some of the more invasive and neglected plants, prune, cut grass, start to mark out and dig vegetable beds, build compost heaps, clear litter, sit and drink tea, and think and plan!

We hope to develop the garden along Permaculture Principles (which you can read about elsewhere on this site) and develop the garden as a space for the Community Project and local people to grow fruit and vegetables as well as having a green space to relax and enjoy nature and whatever sun we get this year.

ahcg_logoThe logo on the right indicate the three Permaculture Principles of

  • Earth Care
  • People Care
  • Fair Share

and it has the All Hallows’ rainbow of hope and inclusivity superimposed on it.

Everyone is welcome to come and help though if you are a child you will need to bring an adult that you can supervise! Do bring gardening gloves and tools if you have them.

We also need the following:

  • palletes to build compost heaps
  • wooden stakes for marking out plots
  • fruit and vegetable plants – if you are able to propagate some of your own at home that we can use that would be brilliant!
  • learners and teachers of gardening skills
  • ideas

Do come and join us, we will make sure that the kettle is kept hot!

All Hallows’ Community Garden Project

20121113-090636.jpgWe are developing plans to turn the church gardens into a community based project based on permaculture principles that will allow members of the community to learn more about growing their own food. Our first meeting to discuss the project will be on Sunday March 10th at 1pm in the church cafe and then in the gardens themselves. If you are interested in joining us then please let me know or come along on that afternoon.

Permaculture Ethics 1: Earth Care

The first permaculture ethic I am going to look at is Earth care which can be summarised as “enabling all life systems to continue and increase”.

I sometimes think it strange that we, as Christians, don’t seem to value the Earth on which we live. We, like most of the the rest of the world’s population, continue to consume and treat the Earth as if it were a consumable resource, like toilet roll – when the roll runs out there will be another in the packet. But the truth is, there isn’t a packet, we only have one Earth, and if we use it all up then we will be in the ……

I think that part of the problem is that we don’t see the gorilla in the room because our focus is elsewhere, we are too busy counting things, we are not paying attention to our “home”.

As a person of faith, a seeker after truth, as a Christian, I believe that the Earth is part of “creation”. In other words, there is a power, a deity, a “god” who is ultimately responsible for bring everything into existence and sustaining it. All life is a gift from the creator, not to just me or just you, but to all things. All things are a gift to each other, we are all intrinsically linked, we are all parts of the whole creation. As such, I have a responsibility to treat all those gifts to me with care, and I have a responsibility to treat myself with care as a gift to the rest of creation.

I believe that Jesus did just that. He saw all creation, all people, all animals, plants, soil, water, food, everything, as God’s creation, as part of a giant gift economy, to be cared for, to be tended, to be loved, to be appreciated, to be valued.

Not to be consumed, abused, treated as of no or little value, commoditised, discarded.

So for me, the first Permaculture ethic, Earth Care, rings so true. It resonates with my faith and my being.

What is Permaculture?

As some of you will know (since I’ve talked about it so much!) I participated in a Permaculture Design Course earlier this year and many of you have asked me “what is Permaculture?” So I thought I would do a short series to explain it. In this first post I will give you the summary given by the Permaculture Association UK. I will then try to explain a little more in subsequent posts and why I think it is so relevant to my faith.

Permaculture Explained from “Permaculture Works” by the Permaculture Association

Permaculture works with nature to make a better world for all. By observing the natural world we can see that there are a set of principles at work.

Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems to provide for our needs of food, water, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. Through permaculture design we can improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Permaculture has an ethical basis:

  • Earth care – enabling all life systems to continue and increase
  • People care – enabling access to the resources people need for a good quality of life
  • Fair share – limits to population and consumption – to share resources for Earth care and People care.

Twelve permaculture design principles allow us to creatively re-design our environment and behaviour in a world of less energy and resources. They are universal – how they are applied vary greatly from project to project:

image1. Observe and interact – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

image2. Catch and store energy – “Make hay while the sun shines

image3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach

image4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation

image5. Use and value renewable resources and services – “Let nature take its course

image6. Produce no waste – “A stitch in time saves nine“, “Waste not, want not

image7. Design from patterns to details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees

image8. Integrate rather than segregate – “Many hands make light work

image9. Use small and slow solutions – “The bigger they are, the harder they fall“, “Slow and steady wins the race

image10. Use and value diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

image11. Use edges and value the marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well beaten path

image12. Creatively use and respond to change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be

I hope to expand on these ethics and principles in further posts but if you can’t wait talk to me or visit:

The Permaculture Association

Permaculture Principles

Permaculture, soil, soul and society

I’ve been reading around the topic of Permaculture for many years but it took until the beginning of this year when my wife showed me an an advert for me to sign up for a Permaculture Design Course, the first step towards being recognised as a Permaculture practitioner.

The Permaculture Association describes Permaculture in the following way:

Permaculture works with nature to make a better world for all. By observing the natural world we can see a set of principles at work. Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems that provide for our needs of food, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. We can use permaculture design methods to improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Permaculture is not just about growing plants to feed us, it is also about the buildings we live in, the organisational structures we set up, it is about our society and it’s relationship to the environment around us. In fact, Permaculture ethics summarise this:-

      Earth care
      People care
      Fair share

Permaculture Ethics and Principles

I have also been a regular reader of Resurgence since re-discovering E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. Satish Kumar summarises the the philosophy of Schumacher and Resurgence with the phrase “Soil, Soul, Society”.

As I reflect on my Permaculture studies, other readings and my faith I think that these are excellent ethics for our time. If we need a new emphasis for our times it has to be life giving, life enhancing, for people and planet. Our current economics and global politics seem to be geared up to making the minority rich at the expense of the poor and “sod the planet”. Caring for our planet, caring for it’s inhabitants and sharing the abundance of natural wealth in a sustainable way seems to me to fit in so much better with my understanding of Christian faith than the “money for nothing” route that our society and current banking system seems to be pursuing.

Over the next few years I intend to investigate further how I can apply Permaculture ethics and principles to “Soil, Soul and Society”. If you want to know more or want to join me on this path do chat to me or follow my own personal blog.