Discover the permaculture triangle that will give you the right steps in the right order to go from raw land to an abundant permaculture homestead, growing food organically, raising animals holistically and harvesting resources (like the sun and rain) in as little as a year.

Video Transcript:

How do we even begin to apply permaculture to our homes, lives, and landscapes? 

How exactly can one create a permaculture garden? 

Where does a person start in creating a self-sufficient and resilient home-scale life? 

Secret Number Two: Where to Start with Permaculture Today without Taking up All of Your Time and Money.

It’s at this point that people tend to understand that permaculture really is something powerful and transformational, but they’re not totally sure how to apply it or where to start.

In my case, we started with 30 acres of bare forested land in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and the desire to create a sustainable life and homestead there. And I want you to hear this next part, okay? 

In one year’s time, we mindfully cleared the land, we developed a road that harvested rainwater, we built a yurt home and all of the supporting systems needed, like power and water. 

We started free-ranging chickens, we built and started a quarter-acre permaculture garden, we planted a permaculture orchard and food forest, we installed water harvesting swales, we built a gravity-fed irrigation system for the pasture, and much, much more in one year, by ourselves. 

Oh, in addition, my fiance was pregnant, and in month nine of developing our land, we had our son, Sequoia.

Now I’m not saying this to brag, no not at all. It was a lot of energy and a lot of work, and we made mistakes along the way. But what I want to get at here is aside from superhuman stamina and way too much coffee, I want to ask you: how do you think we were able to accomplish all of that in such a short amount of time? 

Now you’re likely guessing it – permaculture gave us the framework and the plan and the tools to be able to create all of that as quickly as we did.

Since then, we’ve sold that homestead to new stewards and we’ve relocated to the San Juan mountains here in Southern Colorado, where we’re developing a new permaculture homestead around a passive solar home on a smaller scale. Now, you might not be developing raw land from scratch, and likely you’re working with an existing home or yard, or maybe you’re even in suburbia. But where you start with permaculture is most often the exact same place.

So let me show you what I learned. Alright, let’s take a 10,000-foot view of where to start with permaculture. First, this diagram paints a broad picture of where to start and where to go with creating a healthy and sustainable life, growing your own food, sourcing your own needs, and returning to nature. So, the bottom of this pyramid is where you start, and you work your way up.

For most people and properties, we start with soil building or creating healthy living soils. It’s a key to growing low-work gardens. Next is gardening and growing food. This includes things like permaculture orchards and food forests. Then, as these are established, a person will likely move on to integrating animals into the landscape. This might be some bees for pollination or maybe chickens for pest control and compost creation.

The next step is resource collection. This could be setting up a rainwater harvesting tank on your garden shed or house, or it could be planting quick-growing trees to coppice and harvest for firewood. The next step is home retrofitting, and this includes things like composting toilets, gray water systems, and of course, solar and wind power.

Lastly, we have wildlands, and this is not just for properties with acres and acres of space. This is creating beneficial animal habitats, even on small-scale lots and in Suburbia, which not only help the wildlife but can actually help you improve your garden health when done properly.

You’ll notice that the things at the bottom of the triangle are low cost, low risk, and easier, and they also have a high return on your investment. Hence why this is the perfect place to start for beginners and advanced people alike. The idea is that you work your way up the triangle more or less over the course of time. So you start building soil, then get food systems going, an orchard, a food forest, get that garden going, and then you work your way up to the top of the pyramid.

About Bret James

Hi, I’m Bret James. My family and I have created a recession-proof, sh*t-storm proof self-sustainable life. We grow a low-work garden, have an abundant food forest, raise animals holistically, have a stocked pantry of home grown-foods, harvest fresh rainwater, and live in an energy-efficient passive solar straw bale home - all in alignment with nature. And it doesn’t take all of your time, in fact, we run a business and even homeschool our son - all while living a life as outside of the system as possible.

One Comment

  • This is a great overview of getting stared with a permaculture system. I love that you were able to provide so much information in such a succinct way. Some of the laws around rainwater collection are a little ambiguous. Do you happen to know if a garden counts as “landscaping” in California?

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