This weekend I took a trip to Athens, OH to celebrate my birthday with my in-laws and little brother Noah! I made a trip of it and went on a farm tour at Solid Ground Farm in Athens County. I am very interested in permaculture but to be honest I am still figuring out what it is…. so when I saw that Solid Ground a permaculture based farm was offering a introduction course and farm tour I decided I could not pass it up! I never thought I would go on a farm tour in the middle of winter but it was fun, educational and we kept moving so I stayed warm for the most part.The first thing I must say is that permaculture is so much bigger then I thought it was. When I first started researching I thought of it only in terms of farmland and animals. I first heard the word permaculture in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Since then I have been interested in the health and ecological benefits of farming with a focus on the symbiotic relationship between animals, plants and people. Pollan visited Polyface Farm in Virginia, a farm that runs on a permaculture design. But WHAT IS PERMACULTURE? Visiting Solid Ground Farm was my first experience on a permaculture farm and I was determined to figure out what permaculture really is. Before visiting the farm I believed that permaculture was a form of sustainable agriculture based on a philosophy of working with nature, not against it, “of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than creating any area as a single product system.” (Mollison, 1988) Thanks to Weston the farm manager for expanding my knowledge I now know that Mollison is only half of the permaculture story. Bill Mollison collaborated with David Holmgren who explains permaculture as a “design system for sustainable land use and sustainable living. Focused on production aspect of how we provide human needs from nature and consumption how we use natural resources.” (Holmgren, 2010)
My favorite part of visiting Solid Ground Farm was the Cobb house. Cobb is made from a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. It looked similar to the pump house we had on our property growing up small, quaint and maybe a little more rustic. I would absolutely live in it other then that it doesn’t have a shower. I am sure I could get used to that. Anyways, I have added it to my to-do list: build cobb house and live in it or maybe I will just go live in Earthaven Ecovillage near Ashville, NC.