On the Relation between Designing and Implementing in Permaculture – Part 21

I’ll here keep sharing an example of permaculture design and development as a generating process. In the last post we saw the first round of reflection and action.1 Here I share the second.

Reflection

Having made the first move the process now really kicked into a generative rhythm or dance between designing (or thinking and feeling into the best next move) implementing (or making it), and evaluating where things were at now.

We moved our focus to what now felt like the right next step – a configuration of perimeter tree plantings towards addressing tensions around exposure generally and wind specifically.

As with the earthworks planning, the process here was led by being out on the site, marking out and tweaking from many angles.

We (the four clients, the tree planting contractor, and myself) started with some very high-level musings on a whiteboard…

Which was spontaneously made a little tiny bit more real by having some little paint pots pretend to be trees. We fiddling and jiggled before…

…heading outside (into a rare snow fall happening at that moment) to walk and look for issues. The next session we marked and stringed out the edge of the proposed main shelter belt planting around the entire ten-acres. Here Anna captures part of that process:

Here during another session Adam Grubb and I play with possible high-level configurations:

Here I talk through what had been happening (referring also to how we went about differentiating the whole space into treed and non-treed parts ah la our first inquiry):

Eventually we got a sketch of what was emerging onto a computer. Here is version one (each ‘m’ is a request for the Mayberry crew to measure from the fence to the stake-and-tape line so I could update the image based on the real design sketch which was drawn out 1:1 across the whole site with pigtail stakes and fencing tape):

and two:

Action

The first round of trees now went in (this shot from the south-western corner of the property), thanks to local tree-establishment legend David Griffiths:

Leaving the site looking like this:

Earthworks Round Two

A bit later, in March 2017, machines came back to finish what they had started, including cutting the new entrance driveway (the location of which in the meantime had been further finessed).

Leaving the site (during a post-machine phase of evaluating and soaking up what had happened, exactly) looking like this…

…or from the other direction:

The development process at Mayberry continues today. It is not finished and of course really never will be. But I hope this has been enough of a chunk of it to achieve its purpose.

Summary

This concludes what is hopefully a clear example of an attempt at a generating process. Not even a whole-site concept plan was devised or drawn before implementation began. The patterns (both concept and detailed) emerged or unfolded out of the whole process rather than being predicted on a piece of paper up front.

This is not to say that pieces of paper were not involved, but that they were very much secondary in importance to the process of laying out and making changes on the ground.

So we have, I hope you’ll agree, just turned this question mark…

…into a tick.

Boom!

Acknowledgements

Thanks heaps to the Mayberry crew (Anna, LJ, Tom, Menno, Rhys and Ren) for taking and sharing most of the above footage and photos – very much appreciated.

Endnote

  1. Even though this wording is potentially misleading in the sense that once implementation started, reflecting, acting and evaluating were all present, continuously, together, as complementary aspects within one process. They couldn’t be separated in time or space, even if at times one was more prominent that the others.

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