“You can’t work on an empty stomach”
Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
The icon of this design principle, a vegetable with a bite out of it, shows us that there is an element of competition in obtaining a yield, whilst the proverb “You can’t work on an empty stomach” reminds us that we must get immediate rewards to sustain us.
From a wasteland to high production
This Patchwork Farm market garden near the centre of London previously contained more than 30 tonnes of brambles, rubble and concrete and was replaced with 30 tonnes of organic compost, raised beds and fruit trees. Volunteers and trainees join the Growing Communities team to learn skills in growing high quality produce with a guaranteed market through their organic fruit and vegetable scheme. All part of developing practical, long lasting alternatives to the current food system.
Design Principle 3: Obtain a yield
Berries in the laneway
The seasonal maintenance requirements of Boysenberries can be off-putting, but yields impress. Canes are fed through mesh as they grow to form a screen between the public laneway and the owners property, with excess pruned back. During winter, most leaves fall, those that haven’t are removed to reduce habitat for insects. Flowers bloom in spring, attracting the bees, and with summer comes harvest. Wait until soft, then pick early and pick often for maximum benefit.
Photo contributed by Richard Telford
Transforming food for flavour, longevity and vitality
Lifeless supermarket food often contains unfamiliar ingredients that are used to enhance taste and increase shelf life. The process of fermenting uses bacteria and /or fungi along with the enzymes that they produce to preserve while making food easier to digest, less toxic and if all goes well, more delicious. Making sauerkraut is safe and easy to do and eating it builds diverse bacterial flora in our gut which can improve our immune function, giving us even greater returns for our efforts.
Photo contributed by Kate Berry
A barrow full of goodies
Alex shows a diverse array of produce grown at Zaytuna Farm’s urban garden demonstration site. The farm hosts hundreds of students, WWOOFers and interns every year who help to manage the gardens that provide food during their stay. Food gardening has always been central to permaculture teaching because it is the most effective way of reducing human impact on the planet, while increasing resilience and providing a great incentive to continue working.
Photo contributed by Craig Mackintosh
A woodlands home
The woodlot that Ben Law manages provided the materials that he used to build his own home and workshop. The large straight trunks were milled up and used for flooring and cladding. Coppiced round poles were used for framing, fencing and furniture making. He uses off-cuts to cook and heat his home and sawdust is saved for his composting toilet. Ben has used the skills he developed here to set up an ecobuilding company, train apprentices, write books and run courses.
Saving up for a rainy day
‘Sitting in the garden on a warm sunny day, watching these amazing little worker bees ferry such loads tirelessly gives me great pleasure. During winter, with a mouth-full of bread and honey, I am reminded of their wonderfully successful efforts to both obtain a yield and store that yield for the rainy days ahead.’ Oliver Holmgren
Photographed at Venie Holmgren’s Garden, Australia by Oliver Holmgren.
Give so that we may receive
Bee houses in cold climates have a long tradition. Strongly constructed houses like this one keep the hives warmer in winter and protect them from heavy snow loads, strong winds, storm damage, stealing, boars, and bears (long ago). The artworks help orient the bees to their own entrance.
Photo contributed by Christoff Schneider.
Hoshigaki in rural Victoria
Yuta was caretaking and WWOOFing at Murrnong as the persimmon crop ripened. After phoning his grandmother in Japan for advice he was able to share some valuable skills and knowledge. These persimmons (kaki) were peeled while still hard and hung in strings to ripen and dry undercover, in full late autumn sunlight. Decorative treats, preserved for the winter. Persimmon trees are beautifully ornamental and highly productive.
Photographed at ‘Murrnong‘ by Yuta Kawaber.
Our certified organic market garden provides produce for sale and feeds our often large household. The commercial scale of the operation allows for efficient methods and appropriate use of machinery. Our food forest produces 150 varieties of fruit and nuts. Selling direct at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market and value-adding gives us a wide range of products and a steady income throughout the year. Annemarie and Graham Brookman.