Permaculture

One of the most important methodologies we use in the Bosque is permaculture design. The word permaculture was first coined by Bill Mollison and David Holdgren in 1978 with their book Permaculture One. It was formed from the words permanent agriculture or permanant culture. Our vision of permaculture is to create a food forest which allows more of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle supported by minimal human agricultural effort. As organic farmers, we do not use chemicals to artificially increase production. Because we have no outside water and wish to develop agricultural methods which do not require conflicts over water, we irrigate almost nothing. We carefully evaluate energy inputs and outputs of all systems, including human systems as described by social permaculture.

Plants
Because we are interested in plants which need nearly no extra water, we pick carefully what we want to propagate and add to the forest setting. Some examples of plants we like include:

  • Nopales. Nopales are a cactus plant with edible pads and fruit. We have planted over 3,000 nopales all over the Bosque, of at least four distinct varieties. Nopales are an excellent example of a no-care, no-water plant. Since planting the nopales, which involves placing a cactus paddle on the ground, we have not had to care for the plants at all.
  • Magueys. Agave Americana.  This majestic  plant has many uses and can survive without additional water. We have planted thousands of them from seed. The stem can be used to make musical instruments and the necter is used to produce pulque.
  • Fruit trees. Fruit trees grow in our small orchard, and we have planted hundreds of baby trees all over the forest. Fruit trees that we are able to grow with little care include: avocado, pomegranate, guayaba, citrus, pear, apple, quince, capuline (a native cherry), and more. We also have grafted 1400 of the native manzanillo trees with pear and quince.

Techniques

  • Swale trails. We have an extensive trail system at the Bosque. Our trails are nearly all made to be level. We cut our trails back into the hillside, which allows for water collection along the level plane. The water seeps into the earth rather than running down the hills, allowing us to retain a lot more moisture for a much longer period of time. Using keyline design we can slowly terrace the land without destroying existing trees.

The human aspect of permaculture, Social Permaculture, is critical to our success. If we cannot improve how humans operate with each other, the actions we take to reduce our impact on the environment will not matter.

We do not claim to be experts in how people should live, but we are interested in concepts relating to radical honesty, conflict resolution, alternative relationship models and non-violence. We are creating social agreements which allow us to live with greater abundance, freedom, intimacy and security. By identifying a groundwork of basic rules we can all agree on, we reduce the scope of conflict as our community grows and evolves.

Open communication with a sense of humor releases us from the trivial judgments which impede true intimacy and authentic experience. If we are able to both give and receive constructive criticism in a positive way, we can work as a group to live in a happier world.

Active Living
Our lifestyle is extremely active and participatory. We are a haven for folks who enjoy outdoor activity and our extensive trail system. In the Bosque, we are all students and teachers improving ourselves through study and personal development. We want to create more than we consume.

The Bosque is large so all our visitors should be able to walk 2 km (one mile) on trails without difficulty. We are not, unfortunately, handicap accessible. Some disabilities may be able to be accommodated.

Personal Responsibility
Our prices are much lower than alternatives because our guests and residents, while not perfect, take personal responsibility for their actions. They have increased awareness of their effect on others and their environment. We encourage a gift economy whenever possible.

Care for shared art supplies, tools, toys, and other resources is critical.

During the dry season, extreme caution with fire prevents the forest from burning down. All residents and visitors agree not to smoke while in the Bosque.

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