It has been a few years since Bonnie Hutchinson introduced the Permaculture principles to me. We had hired Bonnie to paint a vision for the four acres at TS Designs. When we started construction on our building 22 years ago, we had to fight very hard to protect the one pin oak tree that was on our property. Today, we have hundreds of trees combined with a native landscape of apple trees, blueberrry bushes, vegetable gardens, bees and even chickens that work with Mother Nature and our business. I like to define Permaculture as a system that works with man and nature. We are a part of that system, and we need to stop trying to be the manager of the system.
About three years ago, I was introduced to Will Hooker who heads up the Permaculture program at North Carolina State University. Will is now a very close friend, mentor, and my go to Permaculture person. Over the last few years, many of Will’s classes have visited TS Designs, and I have had the honor to be a guest lecturer in his class.
Many ideas from the students in Will’s classes have been adopted into an updated Permaculture plan for TS Designs. I like to describe our path as trying to be a more sustainable company as a journey, and our Permaculture path is a journey too. Mistakes are made, like the Bradford Pear trees we planted at TS Designs, but mistakes can be countered as we learned last year the benefits of having chickens in our garden.
I have come to realize that there is a gap between the renewable energy folks and the Permaculture folks, kind a of like the gap you find between eastern and western medicine. We want to close the gap on our Snow Camp farm, and I believe by closing the gap, we will reach our goal of a zero energy home quicker by making our house more of a home.
Will brought in a couple of past students to tackle the farm project, and I have attached the first draft of their plan. Our initial goals will focus on establishing better shade around the house, planting more fruit trees, and start breaking the property from the busy Bass Mountain Road. The journey will start this fall.