Many projects have been to an inspiration for the content of this blog since its beginnings, including the following:
Sacred Sueños is an intentional community in the mountainside about 2 hour hike from Vilcabamba, Ecuador. It was founded in June 2004 on beautiful, but very degraded land that had been damaged by many years of unsustainable agricultural techniques. While initially not much was able to grow on site, over the years regenerative land practices and a lot of hard work have helped to increase the fertility and biodiversity of the land and efforts to maintain this trend continue.
Augusta Creek Permaculture
Augusta Creek Permaculture is a 2.2 acre farmstead and forest garden established in 2015 in Southwest Michigan. This site incorporated many permaculture concepts, traditional land management ideas, and edible landscape designs into the forest garden to be able to produce food and medicine in way that was beautiful, sustainable, and integrated into the natural world. Some of the keys features of the Augusta Creek Permaculture site are detailed below.
Edible and Medicinal Plants
One of the most important features of the forest garden are the edible and medicinal plants that grow there. Growing your own food and medicine empowers you because it allows you to control the quality of the plants that you are putting in and on your body. One of the big goals on this site was to increase soil fertility and manage pests in natural, non-toxic ways that were safe for humans and for their environment.
Additionally, by integrating many perennial and self-seeding plants the aim was to set up systems for food and medicine production that were less labor and resource intensive than conventional methods and also require less time and money to operate.
Two Nigerian dwarf goats, Olive & Sage, called the farmstead home. They were great at eating away brush and keeping unwanted plants at bay. They helped to control overgrown areas and even ate plants like poison ivy and black raspberry that can be troublesome for humans to try to manage. They also made great pets and would have been bred to produce a source of fresh milk.
Flowers were an important component of this site since the start of development on the property. They were a lovely addition to the garden simply because of their beauty, lovely smell, and the pop of color that they provided. However, they were also very useful in the forest garden design. They attracted beneficial insects to help with fruit tree pollination and to aid in controlling the population of undesirable insects. Many of them were edible and had medicinal properties as well.
The long term plan for this site was to move towards integrating lots of perennials and self-seeding plants into the forest garden. However, while the garden was young there were lower yields from these types of plants because many of them take a few years to start producing. While we waited, we implemented beds for annual vegetables to be able to enjoy lots of fresh produce right away.
The Augusta Creek Permaculture site was sold and is currently in the hands of new owners, however the lessons learned and the many lovely moments spent there will never be forgotten.
Wild Blossom Herbals
Wild Blossom Herbals was founded in 2014 with the hope of providing lovely, safe alternatives to toxic conventional body, health, and home products. In 2016, this little herbal products company transformed into Wild Blossoms Farm, a beautiful farmstead located in the Andes in Southern Ecuador and now offers its products for sale locally at markets and in stores in Vilcabamba.