The Kansas Permaculture Institute (KPI) 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 Institute 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 Institute (KPI) 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 Kansas Permaculture Institute is a Kansas not-for profit corporation whose mission is to support and promote the education and practice of permaculture in our region.
The KPI 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
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, email@example.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 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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Guild (front yard)
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!
Grapes and Kiwis (side yard)
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.
Hügelkultur (back yard)
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.
4-season Greenhouse (back yard)
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.
Raised perennial bed (back yard)
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, email@example.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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chestnut Charlie’s Food Forest
- 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/
Steve Moring, Director, email@example.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, firstname.lastname@example.org.