Permaculture at the Perry Ave CommonsJun 16 2017 · 0 comments · Uncategorized
Michelle Nordmeyer is transforming one of the toughest sections of the Perry Ave Community Farm into a permaculture-style urban fruit forest. Read on to learn more about Michelle and Permaculture at the Commons.
How long have you been involved with Sweet Water Foundation and how did you start?
I met Emmanuel (SWF’s Co-founder and Executive Director) in 2011 when he was an artist residency at the Hyde Park Arts Center. I went away for a year and came out here (the Perry Ave Commons) when I returned in 2014, but I didn’t do anything. In 2015, I would visit to help weed here and there, but was working two jobs so I didn’t have time. Last year, I met up with a couple people through the arts center who had fruit trees and were looking for a place to build a perennial, permaculture-style, urban food forest. I knew Emmanuel had this whole area towards the back of the farm that he couldn’t really do anything with because it was grassy and wet. So, he let us come and plant. So…last year, in 2016, was when I was really here on a consistent basis.
Can you tell us a little more about the permaculture?
It’s a permaculture style. We’re trying to use what we have and keep it kind of a closed system. We harvest seeds and replant them for the next year. We’re trying to compost all our green waste into soil that we can put down on the beds next year. We have fruit trees and fruit shrubs and around those we plant companion plants that are good for the trees.
“That’s the number one permaculture thing, know your area. Spend time to really know what your area needs and grows.” – Michelle Nordmeyer
What is growing in the permaculture garden?
Clovers, rye grass, fruit trees (apple, pear, peaches, persimmons and paw paw), raspberries, blueberry shrubs, elderberry, strawberries and currants. We also have rhubarb and a lot of perennial flowers and plants.
What are some resources for people interested in learning more about permaculture, the design concept and what this permaculture design is meant to do?
It was loosely designed by a permaculture designer named Matthew Stevens. He teaches permaculture design courses all over. So, it’s not his exact design, but he was one of the guiding people behind how we would fill things out. He uses Bill Mollison’s permaculture book.
If you had unlimited resources, is there a dream or vision for this space?
Yes, for sure. I would love to have a gathering area where people could come and teach classes or take classes. Ideally, we would like it to really focus on healing, things for health and also the soul and spiritual healing. It would be great to get more people involved in wanting to design their own area…to grow and harvest things for aromatherapy to support businesses, support other people. And solar panels! A wind turbine to pump our water in.