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Kansas Permaculture Collaborative - Poubelles Dechets & Compost


About KPC

The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative (KPC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to networking people in the State of Kansas with the goal to develop a community of self-reliance.

“Cultures cannot survive without a sustainable agricultural base and land use ethic. Permaculture is about relationships we can create between minerals, plants animal and humans by the way we place them in the landscape. The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute and are therefore sustainable in the long term.” – Bill Mollison

Purpose: To foster a community of farmers and gardeners whose focus is the development of ecologically sustainable agriculture practices, production of healthy food, conservation of energy, education and the sharing of skills and labor, and creation of community self-reliance. To embrace the permaculture ethic and share the responsibility for restoring a sustainable and ecologically viable way of life.
Imperative: We are at a crucial stage in climate change, economics, energy descent and transitioning to self-reliant homesteads and communities. Permaculture has principles and ethics to help individuals, communities and families develop their resources into stable and continuously viable homes and property. It is time to take an active role to improve our present and future food and economic security. The conventional model of industrial agriculture is totally dependent on fossil fuels for fertilizers, pest control, plowing and harvesting, transport of food, and refrigeration. With the impending advent of escalating fuel prices due to oil depletion, this system can falter and may collapse. Our future food security must derive from a decentralized, localized, diverse system of production and distribution, become grounded in building and maintaining fertile and sustainable soils and environments.
Philosophy: To create an ecologically sound, economically prosperous human community that is guided by the ethic of care for the earth, care for people, reducing waste, sharing the surplus and working towards a sustainable future.
Goals: The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative endeavors to bring together knowledgeable Permaculture practitioners and land stewards with local farmers and urban gardeners who want to learn about and implement permaculture design and practice on their land and urban communities. We plan to develop a series of ongoing workshops on sustainable living, basic permaculture principles and certified courses in permaculture design. We also want to establish a forum for sharing ideas and skills on sustainable agriculture, food distribution, water catchment, creating biodiverse soils, seed saving & exchange, and much more.
The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative (KPC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to networking people in the State of Kansas to develop a community engaged in the permaculture ethic and who share responsibility for restoring a sustainable and ecologically viable way of life. Our focus as a community of farmers and urban gardeners is the development of ecologically sustainable agriculture practices, production of healthy food, conservation of energy, mutual education, sharing of skills and labor, and creation of community self-reliance.

The KPC is an affiliate of the Kansas Permaculture Institute, a Kansas not-for profit corporation whose mission is to support and promote the education and practice of permaculture in our region.

The KPC currently consists of members in form Kansas City community, the Lawrence, Topeka, Emporia, Manhattan and Salina communities.

Please help support our organization by making a tax exempt donation to the Kansas Permaculture Institute.

Vajra Farm Permaculture Project

The Mandala Garden

Vajra Farm is a 45 acre farm owned by Steve and Nancy Moring that is located 15 miles Northwest of Lawrence. The farm has been engaged in permaculture for over ten years, and is a registered botanical sanctuary. We are involved with the cultivation of organic produce, medicinal herbs and implementing various permaculture design projects including passive solar buildings, keyhole gardens, healing gardens, organic vinyards and edible forest gardens. As a member of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network, we have restored a portion of the land to tall grass prairie, established open herb gardens and terraced woodland gardens for at-risk medicinal plants. Vajra Farm, LLC is parent business entity for Kaw Permaculture, which provides educational services and consulting in permaculture design and ecological restoration. Read more….

Contact Steve Moring, 785-691-7305, moringse@gmail.com, Steve has holds a permaculture design certificate from Midwest Permaculture.

Greenman Farm and Homestead

The farm is a 9.2 acre site that has been idle for some years. Starting in 2012, Greenman Farm began converting conservation terraces into swales and prairie grass into an edible forest using permaculture design principles. Greenman Farm will convert 3.5 acres into a fruit and nut orchard with some woodland trees, an assortment of berries and later incorporate perennial vegetable production in the understory. Using Silvopasture as a design tool the farm will turn five acres into a form of agroforestry for future small scale livestock management.

Greenman Farm 001

Greenman Farm has participated in the Permaculture Farm Tour hosted by the Sustainability Action Network in Lawrence Kansas. There have been students taking the Permaculture Design Course through the Kansas Permaculture Institute on the farm for part of their practicum. The farm is participating in a Biochar Project. A SARE grant was granted in 2013 and the farm is testing out 5 different soil amendments using the 15 apple trees planted on the farm that same year. Bill is hoping the farm will become one of the many Permaculture Design Farms in the area for teaching permaculture design and hosting workshops.

There is not a homestead on the farm yet. Bill has been working on finalizing plans to build a Global Model Earthship. The home, Zone 0, will incorporate many of the same principles as permaculture design. Harvesting of the sun and rain, water management and some food production are just a few of the principles that will be used in this sustainable building design from Michael Reynolds, Taos, NM.

Cedar Sky Farm

Cedar Sky Farm was founded in 2010 with the primary focus being an experimentation in sustainability. Pete and Kerri, the primary founders, had little experience in the way of farming but a great deal of enthusiasm and a desire to work in unison with nature. Kerri’s parents, Doug and Judy, graciously made available their 30 acre hobby farm, and gave them complete artistic license. Pete’s passion for Permaculture led him to enroll in KPC’s (Kansas Permaculture Collaborative’s) permaculture design certification course, instructed by Steve Moring. He finished his certification in the spring of 2011.

With permaculture in their pockets, they started to dream of ways to make the farm profitable, while enhancing the farms biodiversity and soil fertility. They started by developing a market garden located on a south facing slope, which required a great deal of terracing. While using only locally available and mostly free materials they employed the help of family members, permaculture students, and a few ambitious interns to build raised, no-till garden beds.

In the spring of 2012 Pete also attended a conference in Wisconsin to learn how to holistically care for the farm’s orchard, consisting of: peach, plum, apricot, nectarine, apple, cherry, pear, pecan, walnut, and chestnut trees. While 2012 proved to be a very dry and difficult growing season, an abundance of vegetables and fruits were successfully grown on the farm and sold to local community members via the farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

A farm wouldn’t be complete without healthy animals, so Pete and Kerri set out to train the many dogs that came with the farm not to kill chickens. A neighbors Great Pyrenees wandered onto the farm and decided she needed to become a contributing member and soon gave birth to over 20 beautiful puppies (two separate litters), a few of which have been raised with the chickens and dairy goats. They have proven invaluable with their natural born instinct to protect the farm from predators which are quite abundant in this neck of the woods. The goats also produce milk which is then turned into a variety of rich and creamy dairy products.

Pete and Kerri’s vision also includes raising children on a farm setting and in the fall of 2010 Kerri gave birth to a baby boy, with the help of two midwives, in the basement of the farmhouse. Pete and Kerri again welcomed another baby boy in 2014. They are now raising three young boys with hopes of empowering them to be good stewards of the land while planting the seeds for a more sustainable future.

Also in 2010, five acres were dedicated to re-establishing a native prairie grass preserve which nicely compliments the sustainability motif of the farm.

A hybrid greenhouse is currently in the works along with a wood-fired earth oven nearing completion.

Other structures include the two-story farm house built in the year 2000 and constructed of concrete and insulating concrete forms (or ICF). It also includes a ground source heating and cooling system and large south facing windows to maximize passive solar heating in the winter. A Quonset hut style hay barn stands near the farm house.

Future projects will include straw bale structures with earthen plaster to demonstrate alternative building materials, water catchment ponds, medicinal herb gardens, solar water heating systems, well water installation, culinary mushroom production, and heirloom grain plantings.

Other topics of great interest include food preservation, midwifery and birthing classes, herbal medicine, tree grafting, Waldorf Education, local economies, and primitive technologies.

Contact Pete Maynard, 480-326-9439, petetherocknhippy@gmail.com

Interdependent Web Urban Farm, Emporia, KS

We call our property an urban farm because we grow crops for market – 75 different crops this year! – but it is really an experimental and demonstration garden for permaculture principles. None of the soil has been tilled, and we use no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Instead we use mulch, companion plantings, and other techniques to harness resources that would otherwise be wasted. Here are some highlights:

Pear Succession Garden (front yard)

Everything now in this garden was planted at the same time, in the fall of 2008, along with annual vegetable crops. After the first year, the vegetables were gone, and the strawberries and mint took over. Raspberries and comfrey have taken turns at prominence, but in a few years the pear tree will dominate the garden. In this way we have had several crops every year, with no additional planting and very little weeding.

Walnut trees are notorious for poisoning the soil with a chemical (juglone) from their roots. In this area we are experimenting with edible plants that can tolerate or even remediate juglone in the soil. This was also our first bed to use irises as a grass barrier without a plastic edge. They are quite effective!

In the side yard are trellises for grape and hardy kiwi vines. The three grape vines produced about 2 gallons of seedless table grapes in 2012; since then we have had to share them with the birds! The kiwis are in need of replanting. The trellises help shade the house in summer.

This an experiment in the pros and cons of burying rotten wood beneath a bed, a technique that many permaculturalists swear by. Ours is still getting established.

The greenhouse is in continual production of annual vegetables year-round; it is covered in plastic during the winter. In summer it provides a trellis for peas, beans, and cucumbers. The continuous production is only possible because we don’t till; instead we “spot-mulch” any bare spots with kitchen scraps or compost to boost soil fertility and attract soil life.

In late 2008 the back yard was excavated to replace the sewer line, and the soil has not yet settled back into the trench. In the meantime it is a raised bed for asparagus, rhubarb, and a variety of herbs as well as a few annuals. Growing potatoes among the asparagus was not intentional, but they come back every year!

This small goldfish pond is a self-sustaining ecosystem with edible and decorative plants. It serves as a watering hole for pollinators and other beneficial insects, and we hope it will soon attract frogs.

Black Raspberry Bed (behind garage)

In addition to black raspberries, this bed features American hazelnut bushes, honeyberries, and sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), all low-maintenance plants.

With our own property dominated by perennials, we have moved much of our annual market crops to a neighbor’s yard down the alley. We grow primarily cherry tomatoes and green beans there, as well as herbs and flowers for cutting.
www.InterdepWeb.com – 620-794-1663

Forest Floor Permaculture Forest

Forest Floor Permaculture – Students in the GardenFloor Permaculture is an organically operated nut and fruit centered forest garden, established in 1980 on a one-half acre urban site located in the Brook Creek watershed on the east side of Lawrence, KS. It is a locally adapted working food forest using a diverse perennial polyculture designed in patterns of plant communities that mimic natural ecosystems. The key objective of the plant and soil relationships is to maintain the soil horizon through no-till practices and sheet mulching, while maximizing absorption and retention of water through swales and accumulated organic matter, and the positioning of plants by size, type and proximity so as to create healthy and symbiotic relationships.

Principal crops are: Kingnut Hickory, Kansas Pecan, Filazel & Hazelbert, Chestnut, and Carpathian Walnut; heritage apples (Blue Pearmain, York Imperial, Calville Blanc), a summer apple, Bartlett pear, Seckel pear, Ya Li pear, Hosui pear, Paw Paw, Munich persimmon, Roy Ott tart cherry, local Mulberry; Edible Dogwood (Cornus Mas), Smoky Saskatoon, Clove currant (Ribes Oderata), Gooseberry, Goumi Berry, Brown Turkey fig; Chester blackberry, local black raspberry, Latham red raspberry, Mars seedless grape, Stevens cranberry; typical annual vegetables.

Contact: Michael Almon, (785)832-1300, paradigm@ixks.com

The Light Center


The Light Center is a farmstead and retreat center dedicated to spiritual development and healing. It is located near Baldwin City, KS, just over one hour from K.C. and 30 minutes

Meeting Centersouth of Lawrence.

The center is situated on 10 acres being which includes the retreat center barn, organic vegetable gardens and chicken paddocks.The center also stewards 25 additional acres of totally natural wildlife sanctuary.The center has expanded to incorporate the area’s first eco-village project, and has began a projects that will implement the permaculture practice and ethics.It is also seeking partners who can invest in shared ownership of the property and build their own small portable cabins.The center wants participants who are dedicated to sustainability and have some knowledge about alternative energy and construction, organic gardening and/or raising food animals.Additionally it seeks people of strong body, heart and soul who can work cooperatively with others and share space respectfully.

Contact:Robin Goff,785 255 4583, info@lightcenter.info

Chestnut Charlie’s Food Forest


Charlie & Debra in the Orchard

Chestnut Charlie’s is a tree crops experiment. Since 1995, over 1,500 nut trees have been planted on 20 acres of previously over-worked and exhausted farm land. Most are chestnuts, a sustainable and traditional tree food source for millennia in Europe, Asia, and eastern North America. Today, chestnuts remain, world-wide, a larger crop than walnuts and almonds combined. Also planted are pecans, walnuts, and a handful of other specialty food trees. Field grafting is practiced using existing named cultivars and also locally developed, experimental trees. Each plantation tree is numbered and observations are recorded in order to identify promising cultivars. Also, the shelterbelt/buffer contains hundreds more berry, nut, and acorn trees for human and wildlife food. Chestnut Charlie’s is a non-residential project, privately owned and operated by Charles NovoGradac and Deborah Milks. It aspires to be a commercial chestnut orchard and model/demonstration for supplemental agricultural income. Following organic and low-input principles from the beginning, it has been certified organic since 1998. The plantation is just 3 miles north of downtown Lawrence, Kansas, and one mile off I-70. Working-apprentice arrangements are possible. Visits by appointment.

Byron’s Urban Garden

Byron has transformed his urban yard from a ‘mowed flat’ landscape, to one that is filled with fruiting plants that include hazel nut, persimmon, an apple, pears, buffalo berry, medlar, small berry bushes, container grown figs, container grown blueberries, some vegetables, grapes, highbush cranberry, wild plum, elderberry, lots of roses, etc.There are interesting and exciting pathways throughout the small yard.He can be contacted at bwiley (at) sbcglobal.netTwo pictures are included showing the before and after look of the yard which actually showed a great amount of change after only a few years. See the Lawrence Fruit Tree Project’s resourceful website that he has been developing http://lawrencefruittreeproject.wordpress.com/

Administrative Contacts:

Steve Moring, Director, moringse@gmail.com

David Yates, Webmaster

Cultivate Kansas City, formerly the Center for Urban Agriculture (KCCUA)


Cultivate KC is a 501c3 nonprofit promoting urban agriculture. We operate the Kansas City Community Farm, a 2-acre certified organic vegetable farm in Kansas City, KS. The farm is intensively managed and highly productive with six high tunnels and a large greenhouse. Recently, we have started looking for ways to introduce permaculture methods such as no- or low-till methods, perennial crops, insectiary plantings, surface water management, solar-heated high tunnels, etc. Like most market gardeners, we must balance the need for large volumes of consistent marketable product with the diverse and probably lower yields of more sustainable permaculture systems. If you are interested in how to apply permaculture methods in market gardens, please contact us.

Contact: Katherine Kelly, 913-515-2426, katherine@cultivatekc.org.


K.P.C. Member Apprenticeships

The following permaculture sites have 3, 6, or 9 month apprenticeships available for the 2020 growing season.

Vajra Farm Permaculture Center, Oskaloosa, KS

Vajra Farm is a 45 acre homestead of restored prairie, woodland and vegetable, fruit and nut crop production. On our farm we have established a host of permaculture designed systems and features, including our healing herb gardens, mandala and suntrap vegetable gardens, our edible forest garden and vineyards. Our apprenticeship and intern programs (click here) have been on-going since 2000. For more information follow this LINK.

Forest Floor Permaculture, Lawrence, KS

Forest Floor Permaculture is a nut and fruit centered forest garden, established 30 years ago on a one half acre urban site located in the Brook Creek watershed on the east side of Lawrence, KS. Click here for more information.

Badseed’s Urbavore Urban Farm, Kansas City, MO

Urbavore is one of the nations largest, most diversified urban farmsteads – compost a living, breathing organism that both feeds from and provides food for its urban surroundings. Urbavore farm uses “beyond organic” practices to produce heirloom vegetables, culinary & medicinal herbs, and edible flowers. Click here for information about their apprentice program.

The Light Center, Baldwin City, KS

The Light Center (Unity Light Center, Inc. ) is a not-for-profit corporation located in Baldwin City, Kansas, featuring many interwoven projects focusing on inspiring people to grow. It serves as an Alternative Unity Ministry providing a sacred space for learning and renewal about growing healthier foods, growing spiritually and growing closer as a human family. We act as an educational permaculture based farm and rustic retreat and learning center. Click here for information.

Prairie Birthday Farm, Clay County, MO


KPC Farm & Garden Tour

The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative is planning its 7th Annual Permaculture Urban Garden and Farm Tour, Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17. This tour will focus on demonstration of permaculture principles and practice on both local urban and broad-acre sites in our Kaw River watershed.

The tour will begin on Saturday morning at a Kansas City residential site and continue with visits to four additional sites ending in Lawrence at the PermaCommons Community Garden. On Sunday our tour will include six new and established farm sites.

To participate in the tour we are asking for a $10 donation per day. To sign up, please contact Joe Falley at mandjfalley@gmail.com, phone: 913-593-6198.

Kansas Permaculture Collaborative’s Spring Gathering – Saturday, June 4 2021

Please join us for our annual spring meeting and social event at Brushy Run Farm, just outside of Lawrence in Jefferson County. This event will be part of Doug Dubois’ Brushy Run Hoedown, an area community celebration.

3:30 KPI meeting
4:30 Food Forest Food Tour
5:00 Speaker (TBA) on Greenhouse Building & Fish Production
6:00 Potluck…and Contra Dancing to follow

This is a family friendly event. Please bring a chair/blanket to sit on, all of the regular summer-time accoutrements and a dish to share. We look forward to seeing you there!

For full directions, visit: http://www.brushyrun.farm/directions-to-brushy-run/

KPC Meetings and Noteworthy Past Events

KPI/KPC Annual Meeting & Potluck
Sunday February 21st. 2021, 3-6pm at the Dreher 4-H building South room, 2100 Harper Street, Lawrence, KS 66046.
The Kansas Permaculture Institute/ Kansas Permaculture Collaborative met for our first annual meeting. We discussed the agenda of 2021 including workshops, permablitz’s, potlucks and more. Dre Taylor of Nile Valley Aquaponics in KC made a presentation on his aquaponics project. He shared his journey from dream to fruition, focusing on the how-to, can-do aspects of his entrepreneurial business. We had a Potluck to follow up our meeting.

View meeting minutes

July 11 & 12, 2020 KPC Farm & Garden Tour
The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative is proud to announce its 6th Annual Permaculture Urban Garden and Farm Tour, Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12. This tour will focus on the implementation of permaculture principles and practice on both local urban and broad-acre sites in our Kaw River watershed.

The tour will begin on Saturday morning at a Kansas City food-not-lawn residential site and continue with visits to four additional sites ending in Lawrence at the PermaCommons community Garden. On Sunday our tour will include six new and established farm sites, ending with the final tour and pot-luck at SubTerra Castle near Topeka, KS.


Saturday, 23 May 2020, 4:00pm
Susan Jones’ Farm, 2866 Detlor Rd., Grantville KS 66429
Our gathering will include a potluck meal, bonfire, music, planning, and KPC updates. Mary Beth Ogle will present the value and necessity of native plantings. We will report on two new economic initiatives that promise to foster community, develop a local food system, and strengthen our regional food sovereignty. We will also discuss planning of perma-blitzes (work-sharing), resource sharing, and how-to workshops.

2020 Homestead Hoedown at Brushy Run

Hosted by Doug Dubois & Bayless Harsh – Saturday, June 6 at 3 pm in Southern Jefferson County, Kansas.
Community Party with Food, Music, Dance & Love.
Please join our community party with music and dance events, outdoor games, a potluck social, and sustainability-related mini-workshops (with an emphasis on “mini” — these are brief, entry-level talks). If you have an interest in the Farm Resettlement Congress, permaculture, off-grid, homesteading, sustainability, music & dance, etc. you are undoubtedly a member of our extended family and we welcome you to come be a part of this first annual event.


Report from the 2nd North American Permaculture Convergence, August 29 – 31, 2014
NAPC Gathering CircleOver 400 permaculturist converged on the community of Harmony Park, MN for the second North American gathering of permaculture practitioner, teacher, designer and enthusiasts. The first gathering was in 1984. Eight folks from the Kansas Permaculture Collaborative attended this year’s convergence.

The event began with an opening circle with Michael Polarski giving a historical perspective and introducing some of the elders and heavy hitters in North America. Some of these teachers and practitioners who have been active in the movements from the 1980s included Scott Pitman, Albert Bates, Peter Bain, Wayne Weiseman, Penny Livingston, Jude Hobbs and Toby Hemenway.

The NAPC program included a couple of plenary addresses with a panel of these individuals and permaculture co-founder David Holmgren. Most of the activities were comprised of working groups, caucus discussion groups, panel breakout sessions and open discussion sessions.

On Friday the beginning discussion group focused on Bioregional Caucuses and the identification of centers of permaculture activity across the country, Canada and Mexico. From this discussion came a list of permaculturists from the South Central Great Plains, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Western Missouri and Oklahoma.

A noteworthy panel discussion was the unveiling of the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA), which has come together to support permaculture teachers and designers in the various bioregions of North America. One of its proposed functions will be to offer diplomas modeled after those proposed by permaculture’s founder, Bill Mollison of New South Wales, Australia. Other functions will include setting basic curriculum standards for permaculture design courses (PDC) and teacher and designer training. PINA envisions the creation of organizational hubs around the US, Canada and Mexico to foster communication and the planning of regional events.

The underlying theme of the Convergence was “Heart”, the tone being set by Scott Pittman.

The magic of our creativity combined with Mother brings whole new paradigms. Though we need structure, it is the initial and continued looking and listening to the land and her inhabitants that bring the creative solutions.

Susan Jones attended roundtables on “Pattern Language for Women in Permaculture” and “Women’s Leadership in Permaculture” These discussion groups brought individual insights and female community awareness re: the last dregs of our patriarchal society’s attitude toward leadership. “The aha for me was that I was accepting it w/out question. Women have continued to accept status quo. I am not a bra-burner, nor in any way anti-male. Yet I have deferred w/out question… It’s the dance. I can change the dance steps. We can change the music to which we dance. I will.” We will.

Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden, gave a presentation on “Urban Permaculture: Transformation at the Edge of Chaos”

NAPC Moring FF presentationSteve Moring, Stephanie Syson and Fred Meyer lead a panel discussion on “Public Food Forests”. The session began with short presentations on the success of various food forest projects in Eastern Kansas, Basalt, Colorado, and Iowa City Iowa. Discussion about our local food forest project included the development of the Merriam Food Forest in Kansas City, the Lawrence Fruit Tree Orchard and the PermaCommons Community Garden, and finally the Wamego Community Garden Project.


2021 Courses in the Principles of Permaculture and Sustainable Living:
Introduction to Permaculture Design, March 26, 2021, Lawrence, KS
For detailed course information, click here…

2020 Permaculture Design Certification Courses
Aug. 25 – Dec. 15, 16-Week PDC, University of Kansas Environmental Studies Program, Evrn 338, Lawrence, KS
For detailed course information, click here…

Check out the best Permaculture Books from our KPC bookstore, right here.

Pertinent Articles
Peak Oil and Climate Change are two interrelated adversities that face our communities as we move into the 21st century. We have collected a series of articles that relate to our food security and the consequences of energy depletion and environmental change. The take away message is that we as individuals and communities can begin steps to mitigate these problems is a positive and sustainable manner.

Eating Fossil Fuels by Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture

Shift to an Ecological Economy by Dr. Fred Kirschenmann, A presentation given to the Kansas Rural Center’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Essence of Permaculture by David Holmgren, Permaculture, designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature and provide an abundance of food, fiber and energy.

A Sustainable Agricultural Perspective on Food Safety, Nov. 11, 2010 from the National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition

What is “Permanent Culture” and what are the pieces that go into building real local sustainability?
For those already familiar with the term “Permaculture”, the leading descriptions would likely include the term “Design”. Permaculturists design whole system sustainable environments…and as a whole system, that can expand out about as far as your imagination.

Good design, driven by creativity, can expand and renew even the most archaic and decrepit failed systems, environments and locales. When we discard the Tyranny of Either/Or, and work together to fashion a vision of action geared towards helping our communities, amazing transformation can happen.

This TED talk by Emily Pilloton, of Project H Design is one such example of the power of community, creativity and good design.

Eleven year old Birke Baehr grew up wanting to be a professional football player. Now, he wants to be an Organic Farmer. His reason is simple… but you’ll have to hear it from him. 5 minutes of brilliance.

Ran across this EXCELLENT video from another food activists website. It’s an interview of “Farmer Brad”, a local farmer in Texas that is operating a CSA for a few hundred families.

NOTE: There has been a lot of folks weighing in on local food safety issues because of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) which came out of the Senate as S 510. I’ve seen folks disparage the spokesman on this video because he is “a conservative”.

We are talking about Local Food here. We all eat it… we all need it… and many folks want to be able to grow it without being hampered by excessive regulation, or the need to apply for a “permitted exception” to grow food for our communities.

This is about growing food, not about peoples politics. Anyway… nuff said 🙂

If you are interested in hearing what a farmers take is on new regulations… one that touches on all the issues that matter to folks who believe eating food is good, give a listen to “Farmer Brad” of Home Sweet Farm.

Kansas Permaculture Institute

The Kansas Permaculture Institute is a Kansas not-for profit and parent organization for Kansas Permaculture Collaborative. The mission of the Kansas Permaculture Institute is to provide oversight in the development of permaculture course curriculum, to issue Permaculture Design Certificates, plan community educational events, workshops, permablitz events, land tours, and conduct basic research, and provide support and maintenance of Kansas regional permaculture demonstration sites .

Four Part Program Purpose:

I. The primary purpose of the program is to set standards for Permaculture Design Certification Courses. Course structure criteria include the following:

  1. PDC course content and hours of participation (Currently 72 hours established by Mollison)

  2. Achieve a balance of classroom style instruction & discussion complemented by hands-on field experience and design exercise activities.

  3. Lead instructor experience and teaching qualifications. Recommended qualifications include the first and two or more in the following:

a. Advanced permaculture training. A minimum of completion of a Permaculture Design Certification Course.

b. Training with a qualified instructor or mentor, or having completed a PDC instructor training course (e.g. PRI certification)

c. Have 1 – 3 years of academic teaching experience (e.g. junior college level)

d. Have a specific number (6 hours) of college credit in life or natural sciences.

e. Have 2 or more years of practical experience in permaculture (e.g. internships and management of permaculture projects).

II. A second purpose is to maintain a record of those who have completed a Permaculture Design Certification Course and have been issued a certificate from the KPI.

III. A third purpose is to coordinate on-going training in permaculture, including:

  1. Permaculture internships

  2. Research projects

  3. Course and workshop development

  4. Professional development

IV. A fourth purpose is to engage in theoretical and field research in temperate climate permaculture through the following:

  1. Applied research, e.g. plant guilds and mutualistic plant associations

  2. Encourage and support Kansas regional permaculture demonstration sites and projects

  3. Pursue grant funding for any and all of the above, possibly in partnership with private practitioners

Join the Institute!
Download our Membership Form and pay membership fee

Who are our PDC Graduates?

Permaculture Experiment Stations and Training Sites:
A number of Permaculture experiment stations and training sites have been operating in eastern Kansas from between one to thirty three years. They have been established through the efforts of community members that are committed to making a transition to sustainable living. Some of them are following:

PermaCommons Community Garden, Lawrence KS This community garden was established in late 2012 as a polyculture edible forest garden, and part of the City of Lawrence Common Ground Program. Designed by 7 permaculturists in design charettes and constructed by 46 community members in four perma-blitzes, it is operated by an average of a dozen members from the community. It is a co-operative effort where participants share in care, maintenance and harvest collectively. A greater function and purpose of the garden is to train novice gardeners in sustainable food production, e.g. permaculture. Learn more ……

Vajra Farm Permaculture Center, Oskaloosa, KS. Vajra Farm is a 45 acre farmstead and botanical sanctuary, located 17 miles north of Lawrence, KS. In 1996, Steve and Nancy Moring began developing the farm for teaching permaculture and organic farming methods. They have created multi-functional gardens, including a healing garden, mandala keyhole and suntrap gardens, and two food forests. The farm site is one of the venues for training students in the K.P.I. Permaculture Design Certification Courses, workshops and farm tours. They have an on-going apprentice and intern training program. Learn more…….

Forest Floor Permaculture, Lawrence KS Established by Michael Almon in 1980 on a one-half acre urban site located in the Brook Creek watershed on the east side of Lawrence KS, Forest Floor Permaculture is a nut and fruit centered forest garden. The site incorporates elements such as infiltration swales, a bog, native prairie, rainwater catchments, active solar water heating, and passive solar space heating of the residence. Students in the K.P.I. Permaculture Design Certification Courses regularly take practicum training there, and permaculture workshops and tours are frequently scheduled there. Mr. Almon conducts a four-season apprenticeship program.

Cedar Sky Farm, Leavenworth KS Cedar Sky is rural family farm located about 7 miles north of the City of Leavenworth, KS. Owned by the Stephenson family trust, it has been managed since 2010 as a permaculture enterprise by son-in-law Peter Maynard. Peter is creating a water harvesting system composed of swales, a pond, and terraced garden beds. He is also creating a food forest system with fruit and nut trees supported by guilds of beneficial & edible annual and perennial species. Learn more ……

Prairie Lovesong Farm, Linwood KS Prairie Lovesong is a 160 acre farm located near the community of Linwood, in southern Leavenworth county, KS. It is owned and managed by Mrs. Maryam Hjersted and her son Tim. In 2009 Maryam made the decision to develop her land in a sustainable way by creating a master plan using permaculture principles. She and other farmers received a USDA SARE grant to help establish a permaculture training site and two acre food forest orchard.


What’s Happening with the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative?

In 2008 after reading Dave Jackes’ books on creating forest gardens we became inspired to the same on Vajra Farm. When our property was purchased by its previous owner it was comprised of about 50% field and woodland in mid-phase succession toward a forested landscape. The old fields were being invaded by shrubs, cedars and small trees. After we built our home and moved onto the land in 2000 we began to intervene in the process by restoring prairie where cropland existed 25 years before.

By 2008 we had established vegetable gardens, herb gardens, vineyards and a healing garden. It was time to start thinking about a greater diversity of crops and greater food production. The idea of a polyculture forest garden system that once planted and established would support itself with little intervention from me the farmer and produce an abundance of fruit, nuts and forage sounded fantastic. But could it be done? In my way of thinking, life is a process of becoming, an opportunity for creating something unique.

In the summer of 2008 I started making maps and diagrams for a vision of a series of forest gardens. To the north of our new home was about 1 acre of a 5 acre area that was neglected in my early years on the farm. It was wild, full of young trees, shrubs, thorny vines and cedars. This was to be my place of experimentation. I reckoned that I could clear out the brush and vines where one might plant some pecan, large nut oaks, hickories and chestnut trees. So that year I planted a few chestnuts and shellbark hickories on the margin of the cedar and dogwood thicket and a strip of prairie. These trees survived the winter to leaf out in the spring.

Encouraged, I planned to get more organized and aggressive with a plan to create a food forest. In the fall of 2009 I applied for a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) farmer/rancher grant to help fund the creation of forest gardens as training sites. To my surprise we were awarded the grant, and I immediately began planning two garden projects. On Vajra Farm I called for a community crop mob. This is a concept where members of the community participate in a rotating farm help program, much like the Amish tradition. In June 2010 about six folks came out to the farm to cut the brush with shears and hand saws, using the chop and drop method. In this way most of the vegetative debris was left in place to decompose into soil. That summer I continued cutting brush, and with help of a couple of our farm apprentices, stacked branches and small trees that we cut into a series of woody berms to impede the flow of surface water across the forest floor. We then began planting sapling chestnut, pecan, chinquapin oak and pawpaw trees. We ringed the trees with poultry wire and mulched them with wood chips. Following tree planting we began planting nitrogen fixing species, including a ground cover of red clover and plantings of Russian pea shrub, wild senna, autumn olive, and chuckling vetch. All the planted species were watered weekly or as needed into the fall and mulched in preparation for winter.

In the spring with some of the funds from the SARE grant, we plan to plant more fruit trees, including Asian pear, disease tolerant apples, cherries, plums, apricots and peaches. This project will be on-going in the years to come with planting of more nitrogen fixing species and the cultivation of tree guilds of supporting perennial fruiting shrubs and herb. Our horizon forest garden layout is shown in figure 3. Representing over 25 edible species so far.

Want to learn more about Permaculture Design? Take the 2011 Spring Permaculture Design Certification Course

During 2010 at least four of our members have initiated projects that have involved collaborative efforts from members of our community.

In May Steve Moring, Maryam Hjersted and Charles NovoGradac were awarded a USDA/SARE farmer- rancher group grant to create demonstration and teaching sites for application of agroforestry and the creation of edible forest gardens.

An Experiment In Food Forest Design

By Daniel Dermitzel, Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture

Here at the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture we have been growing annual vegetables for many years. We have worked with farmers throughout Kansas City to develop and share better growing techniques to make small-scale urban agriculture more profitable.

View of site before overstory and understory plantingMore recently, some of us have become interested in soil-conserving agriculture, first no-till vegetable production and now multi-story perennial food forests. For those of us who are dependent on steady incomes from intensive vegetable production, these methods may sound impractical or difficult because they seem to require a lot of labor and / or knowledge, or in some cases produce a smaller harvest per acre than we have come to expect.

But the reasons to switch at least some of our land to soil-conserving techniques including food forests are powerful: less maintenance and inputs in the long run; soil conservation and carbon sequestration as well as insect and wildlife habitat. And perhaps food forests will one day become the way we plant our urban greenspaces and parks?

This photo shows a perspective view of the newly formed swaleAt KCCUA we have received funding from the Audubon Society and Toyota to take small steps toward converting a suburban quarter acre field from annual vegetable production to a food forest. We are starting from scratch, with little prior knowledge of perennial crops and we’re learning as we go along. We’ve read a lot of books to learn the basic principles of forest gardening and, more importantly, we have consulted with many local experts (many of them members of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative) and we thank them and the Collaborative very much for their guidance.

The site for the KCCUA food forest is located in Merriam, KS, just a few minutes from our main Gibbs Road Community Farm. We used to grow tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions, edamame and many other vegetables here until 2009. But the frequent trips for planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, etc. cost us a Aerial view of food forest project site 100 by 100 feet in sizelot of time and energy, so the idea of a lower-maintenance perennial food system appealed to us. Now we’re looking to plant a small experimental food forest beginning with the canopy trees in Spring 2011.

Our hope is that we can document our learning experience and share it with others. We’ll start that effort with a workshop on forest gardening in May 2011. Stay tuned for details on that coming very soon.

Detailed image of the design concept, rendered in a CAD output pictureMore information about the design process and the plants we will be growing at the KCCUA food forest will be posted soon. Check this website and www.kccua.org for information.

You can also contact Daniel Dermitzel, Associate Director and Farmer at the KC Center for Urban Agriculture (daniel@kccua.org) for more information or if you would like to volunteer some time at the food forest.

Here are some pictures (above) of the site we’re developing and an image of the canopy and shrub layers as it is currently planned.

Daniel Dermitzel, Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture

Permacommons at 1304 Pennsylvania Street, Lawrence, KS

The Permacommons

This is an “aerial view” (atop a 20-foot ladder) of the latest manifestation of the Lawrence, 1304 Pennsylvania street, community garden. This was designed by Permaculture Design teachers, graduates, students and other folks seriously committed to Permaculture concepts and principles. There is a very carefully crafted logic to the odd shapes and placement of the raised keyhole growing beds and the walking paths. Gardeners and facilitators are invited to share in the fun, training, fellowship and bounty by becoming members of the garden. Membership in KPC, expertise, or experience are not required. As a member expect some wonderful physical exercise, good friendships and great healthy, organic foods.

Kaw Permaculture Collaborative – U.S.D.A./SARE Farmer & Rancher Grant
By admin, on December 30th, 2010
Community Projects

As many of you know three members of the KPC received a USDA SARE Farmer Rancher grant to create demonstration sites for broad acre permaculture. The project involves emulating natural ecosystems in the establishment of forest gardens for the production of fruit and nut crops.

At the Hjersted farm near Linwood, Kansas, we developed a permaculture plan to establish a food forest of walnuts, pecans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, paw paws, apple, pear, peach and a variety of other fruit and berries.

The site for our project consists of about two acres of pasture land on a 4% slope that had been used to organically graze a combination of a few cattle, sheep, pigs and free range chickens. The soil of the acreage consists of two different types in transition moving down slope.

At the top there is a Pawnee clay-loam that is classified as moderately well drained and near the bottom half there is a Sibleyville silt-loam soil that is moderately-high drained.

What does this mean for growing nut and fruit trees? A moderate degree of water runoff, and difficulty holding nutrients in the soil. Pecans love a moist well drained soil.

In order to better hold nutrients and moisture in the soil we planned to create three large swales on the landscape.

In theory the swales collect the water and allow it to slowly percolate into the soil as opposed to running off into a creek basin below the area. With funds provided by our SARE grant we hired an excavator to dig the swales on contour. In late July we broke ground. We surveyed the area and pegged out the keylines on contour.

Then a 1 ½ ft trench was excavated with a back hoe and the soil piled on the downhill slope.

To finish the swale the uphill lip a portion of the top two swales we encountered areas of hardpan in the soil. Fortunately we were able to punch through a 2 -3 inch layer of fine sandstone-like material. Breaking the hard pan will allow water to move in the subsoil to nourish tree roots.

The swales were completed by the 1st of August , and a team of permaculture students set out to cover the swale lip and berms with red clover seed and straw.

Our plan is to plant as many nitrogen and carbon fixing short lived perennial cover crop species to build up the soil in preparation and support of fruit and nut tree species that will be planted in the spring.

Our next step in the process is to wait for rain to learn how well the swales hold water and how quickly it percolates into the soil. On Aug. 31 the farm received about 4 inches of rain over 24 hours and the swalesfilled with about a foot or more of water. In two days the water receded about six inches, indicating a good perc rate.

To fully understand the value of the use of swales for conserving and holding moisture on the landscape see Geoff Lawton’s “Water Harvesting”.
As the fruit and nut tree forest grows through phases of succession from nitrogen fixing species to mature bearing trees the amount of material and energy input will decline and the productivity of the food forest will increase.

In 15 to 20 years the food forest may look from above like this layout design with fruit trees

on top of the swale berm and pecan and walnut trees below. Paw Paws will be nestled under the walnut trees and berry bushes in the understory. We are planning for hazelnut hedges on the upper edge of the swales (not shown in diagram) and insect nectaries of wildflowers in open spaces between.

Want to learn more about Permaculture design? Check out the 2014 Permaculture Design Training and Certification

At Maryam Hjersted’s Prairie Lovesong Farm we are creating a food forest from an old dairy pasture.

At Steve Moring’s Vajra Farm we are transforming an early-succession brush and patch mosaic woodland into fruit and nut tree food forest.

At Charles NovoGradac Fruit and Nut tree farm (aka “Chestnut Charlie’s”), we are teaching our permaculture students how to plant saplings, graft, prune and care for mature producing trees.

In the Kansas City Area, Daniel Dermitzel of the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture has received a conservation fellowship from the Audubon Society to create a forest garden system.