|Winchester, Virginia, United States
(projects i'm involved in)
Posted by Stephen Trauger over 11 years ago
Growing Wild includes roughly 2.2 acres of improved property that is half cleared and half forested. The initial development did not include a Permaculture plan. As we set out to remodel the existing structures, more and more sustainable concepts were included. The success of these ideas resulted in a commitment to continue to emulate permaculture as we continue to develop this property.
This project growing Wild has evolved slowly and steadily, and more and more Permaculture concepts came into play over a period of 18 months. After seeing the initial success and advantages to incorporating Permaculture into her renovations, Adi began employing other basic design principles. As we progressed, the idea kinda took us over and we are realizing co-creative power and having a wonderful time learning and advocating sustainable and healthy living using not only permaculture but other healing modalities as well. We are heart centered and hope to co-create an environment that assists community with learning earth stewardship, living sustainably and healthy and balanced lifestyles
Although I have learned to create a Permaculture Design Plan prior to building anything, I am finding the design process to be more practical if it is allowed to evolve. This is especially true if one is just discovering Permaculture. As a person finds more of what works and what gives them joy, they design changes to incorporate this new information. There is definitely a learning curve involved, but by letting the design evolve allows for a more realistic and sustainable end result.
Observation is key to understanding Permaculture, and for this reason I believe the design process may be better served if it is allowed to evolve naturally with the resources that become available. As one discovers the abundance of the inherent elements embodied in any property, they become incorporated in the design. ex. While digging the water line to the farmhouse, we were able to understand just how much water lay on the property. We were able to then piece together the reason the farmhouse was abandoned, which was due to extensive water damage to the subfloor. This was the result of a damming effect that occurred many years ago. We then decided to add a perimeter drain along with a pond. We also added a nearly level swale with only a 16 inch fall over 150 feet. This allows for some water retention while keeping the property from flooding. This swale is also part of the ponds spillway.
Weaving the whole process of learning permaculture, categorizing the elements, understanding the microclimates and then designing and implementing the relationships is I believe a never ending process. The success of the design is also predicated upon the occupants interacting with the system, and this requires certain levels of commitment. This can be difficult to quantify if the occupants are only just learning about what they are committing to. It also needs to be fun.
Some of the elements of Growing Wild:
Our system is on the grid with 12 12V 20 Watt panels connected to a Sony Boy Inverter. Because we are on the grid, we have no batteries and must have a disconnect system. The disconnect interrupts the flow of electricity back into the grid in the event power is shut off from the grid. This protects workers who may be attempting to repair any power outage. The Sony Boy Inverter is rated for 550 Watts, and will allow us to double the PV array with no other modifications. The price of the PV system runs around $2500.00. plus another $50.00 for materials for the array.
Modular home This building, a 1970's mobile twin home was kept in place and renovated. This resulted in an enormous savings by keeping this structure out of the landfill, and also negating the need to purchase and use new materials. Some of the sustainable improvements include:
Insulated crawl space
Reinforced exterior walls
Disconnected the oil burner system
Added a woodstove
Added water shed and filters
Water shed constructed of 40% old wood from abandoned farmhouse
Installed Pex plumbing system
Remodeled to form one large room
Some other Elements:
Peach, Pear, Plum, Persimmion
Photo Voltaic array
Slab on grade heating/cooling
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|Permaculture Design Certificate
|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
|Teacher: April Sampson-Kelly
|Location: Great Cacapon, WV
|Date: Mar 2010
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|have acknowledged being taught by Stephen Trauger
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