Orchard Design: Ethics in the Orchard


Ethics In The Orchard

I’ve previously talked about the plan for my permaculture design; how it was developed and conceptualised. Part of this process was to consider the planting of an orchard within the three Permaculture Ethics.

In one way, because I already had a vision of  ‘the orchard’, this process was about ‘testing’ whether this plan was meeting any, or all three, of the ethics or not. In another way, the ethics supported the eventual decision of what my permaculture design was going to be.

Reflecting on this, I can’t really work out what came first; the ethics or the vision!

Certainly, I think the orchard plan hits the ‘Sweet Spot’ of the three ethics. The very act of planting trees is something that nourishes the soul, and nourishes the earth and also results in a yield that is more than I can eat, and so creates a surplus that can be shared out. Bingo!

I’ve filled out some of the ‘big hitters’ that I think this design achieves in terms of permaculture ethics.

On the flip side, is there anything about the design vision which isn’t ethical? particularly in the Permaculture ethics?

Well, this leads me to think about some of the parameters for the design:

  1. ensure materials are locally and sustainably sourced
  2. ensure materials are biodegradable or reusable and do not damage the land
  3. ensure the design is resilient to critters and British weather
  4. ensure I keep a list of hours that people put in, if they come and help – this Time Bank system needs some thought
  5. 2 acres is a big bit of land for two people with limited time, money and skills – ensure the plan is resilient to the amount of resource available, or not available – don’t overstretch ‘us’ or our bank balance
  6. Ensure the design has a ‘communications’ plan to it to keep people informed of what’s going on, to an appropriate level.

If I can work these elements into the design it might help avoid some of the potential negative impacts of pursuing the vision of the orchard.

By the way – I learned through my research that the minimum amount of trees you need to call something an orchard, is five… I’m thinking of starting with nine… nice number, number9!

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