GreenFriends Farm was proud to host a three-day Permaculture Practicum offered August 9-11. Participants gathered from around the country for the workshop, taught by the dynamic and engaging Darren Doherty. Doherty is internationally recognized as a leader and pioneer in permaculture and regenerative agriculture. He has a wealth of practical knowledge and experience in permaculture project design, implementation and management.
Doherty used the Farm as a real life example of ways in which permaculture could be used to promote ecological and economic land stewardship. The participants were able to see first hand the design and development of the techniques they were learning.
Doherty suggested water usage and storage strategies to make the Farm drought resilient. In addition he discussed ways to promote a fire-resistant landscape. One important land management strategy is having periodic grazing of animals such as cows or sheep. This not only maintains the proper balance of vegetation but also increases the presence of native perennial plant species. Unlike annual plant species, which release carbon when they die, perennials sequester carbon by grabbing it from the air and returning it to the soil.
The class also learned about profitable reforestation, focusing in on plans for agroforestry on the Farm. Productive agroforestry is the integration of native shrubs and trees into farming systems. It is a form of reforestation that creates a more productive and sustainable land-use system.
An exciting new project for GreenFriends Farm is the new Lotus Orchard. This orchard is being designed as a commercial orchard. Extensive planning of the orchard was done during the workshop as participants put Doherty’s advice into practice. Some of the fruits, which may be grown in the new orchard, are persimmons, peaches, nectarines, pomegranates, apricots, avocados and various citrus. The orchard is being designed to produce fruit most months of the year, be economically viable while being less intensive to manage, and be ecologically sustainable.
GreenFriends Farm found Doherty’s advice and design strategies to be invaluable in taking the next steps toward our objectives in sustainable land management and earth stewardship. We invite anyone who is interested in taking those next steps with us to come be a part of our efforts.