14 Oct ’14
Research Task 1
I had 4 different project ideas roaming in my mind, 2 of them were a continuation of my initial project. Funny thing is the project I am now pursuing is not one of those 4. My new project idea is inspired by my internship in Sri Lanka. I had the privilege of meeting an inspiring man who turned his idea of building the first agricultural school in Sri Lanka into a reality.
For my new project I want to build a small, urban, organic farm following the philosophy of permaculture.
“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions rather than asking only one yield of them…”
– Bill Mollison
The goals I have so far for this project are:
- To build an open environment that cultivates the knowledge of small-scale organic farming.
- To encourage sustainable living.
- To promote healthy eating.
- To share food.
I plan to implement these goals by opening the farm to community members to volunteer and learn about small-scale organic farming. The harvest will be shared among volunteers. The harvest will also be available to the entire community through a farmers market.
Where am I planning to build this farm? Well, my house in Falls Church has a really large vacant yard! To be exact its ~0.3 acres, which isn’t large at all, but to me it’s the perfect size.
I know that this may be too large of a task to accomplish all in one semester, but I hope that by the end of this semester I will have the knowledge required to draw out a layout of the farm. I plan to present my research in the form of a detailed blueprint.
There is much to be learned, so off I go!
Research Task 2
Sharing my project with my group has provided me with a lot of helpful and new perspectives. They suggested looking at existing organic farms to learn from, especially if the farm has been through challenges and how they overcame that. They also mentioned visiting and meeting some of the farmers. I am planning to volunteer with Kentland Farms, here in Blacksburg soon.
As I was explaining the principles of permaculture, we were able to connect a lot of the values to what we have been learning in class. The principles of permaculture emphasizes the connection among every thing to everything else and how a “successful design serves the needs of people and provides many useful connections between elements, or diversity” (Faires 9). This reminded me of the feedback system in Paradise Poisoned and how the arrows intertwined with everything.
A lot of questions were also brought up about permaculture and how it differs from monoculture. The clear distinction of the two is that permaculture is more about polyculture, which focuses on plants and animals living together for mutual benefit. Whereas, monoculture is what you would usually think of a farm, long rows of a single crop grown over a large area.
I am hoping to broaden my research and seek out professors that are experts in this field!