Permscape - Permaculture Food Forest Oasis and Education Center
Permscape - Permaculture Food Forest Oasis and Education Center
Details
Commenced:
01/02/2015
Submitted:
08/03/2017
Last updated:
16/03/2017
Location:
1220 Valley Forge Road, Suite # 27, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, US
Phone:
use email
Website:
http://www.permscape.com/
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate





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Our first setback - “Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” ― Phaedrus

Project: Permscape - Permaculture Food Forest Oasis and Education Center

Posted by John Stevenson 7 months ago

Our journey continues….in Valley Forge Pennsylvania to create a permaculture design and education center.

My wife and I were very excited when we saw the aerial view of the canopy. It appeared to be full of large healthy deciduous trees. We could not wait to get in there and plant the Kiwi, Grapes, Akebia, Hops, Passion Flowers, Schisandra Vine, and Climbing Yams to grow up on such a beautiful natural trellis. Our inventory of vines had been steadily "growing" through our cloning, dividing, and seed starting efforts.

 Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Permscape Permaculture )

We had it all wrong! This was not an old growth forest. These were not healthy beautiful trees.

 Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Permscape Permaculture )

The property was obviously a mismanaged regrowth forest. At some time in the past the trees had been clear cut. This provided the opportunity for an extremely aggressive understory of creeping vines and suffocating groundcover species to thrive. Eventually these vines conquered the entire ecosystem.

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

The succession trees were dwarfed if not completely strangled by the vines that ruled this system and kept all the sunlight for themselves.

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

Poison ivy and invasive English Ivy carved into the trees providing paths for the invasive insects, canker disease, and pathogenic fungal conks. They were literally eating the larger trees from inside out while simultaneously depriving the understory of the solar energy it needed to grow beyond the pioneer stage.

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

Old brick, car parts, metal, cinderblocks, plastic bottles, and other trash littering the property.

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

I realized a thorough inspection of the property should have been completed before purchasing it to better budget for its revitalization.

It was always our intent to create an oasis which was green, producing oxygen and sequestering carbon completely organically.

We intended to provide employment opportunity opting to invest more heavily in people power than automated machines. We desired to create a community space to teach hands on permaculture principles in nature rather than our commercial classroom building. We fervently believed it could all still be accomplished. It was going to take more work and more money than just planting food producing companions in the soil next to established trees.

Permaculture food forest in Valley Forge, PA – USA ( Photo by: John Stevenson of Permscape Permaculture )

“How can we accomplish our mission sustainably?” “What is sustainable?”

Our answer was “Sustainability is only sustainable if there is a surplus (profit).”


Our very definition of sustainable precluded the acceptance of grants, mortgage debt, free interns, and gifts.

The solution needed to be 100% privately accomplished. It also had to provide a return equal to the financial and physical inputs which were required to obtain the property, put it into production, and market and sell the products grown.

The surplus (profit) would be used at first to reinvest in expanding operations. Additional equipment, supplies, labor, and land would be acquired until local market demand for what we produce on the lot is met.

Once successful, and after paying all workers a fair and competitive wage, we would continue to acquire additional community lots to preserve green areas.

We would recycle building materials from existing structures on these lots and return the area to its natural predevelopment state. Our profits could also be used to purchase and create free community gardens and to provide educational training (including interns) in the community. We were well aware that no charitable arm of our organization could exist without first proving our business model. You can’t return a surplus if one isn’t first generated.

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