Permaculture & Biodynamic Farming
Permaculture as we know it today is a philosophy developed in Australia by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.
This philosophy is “consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food and energy for provisions of local needs.”
Permaculture seeks to answer the question “Are there ways to live within nature’s limits while providing a secure future for our children and justice for everyone?”
MYF actively seeks out ways to practice these principles, while balancing the needs of the farm, and this beautiful philosophy can be seen in many ways throughout the land.
The 12 Principles of Permaculture
The Permaculture movement is based on 12 principles:
- Observe and Interact
- Catch and Store Energy
- Obtain a Yield
- Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
- Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
- Produce no Waste
- Design from Patterns to Details
- Integrate Rather than Segregate
- Use Small and Slow Solutions
- Use and Value Diversity
- Use Edges and Value the Marginal
- Creatively Use and Respond to Change
Through following such principles wherever possible, we are able to truly bring our yoga to the earth. As well as being a practice of sustainability, it is also a method of developing relationships between the community and the land we live on, as well as feeding the healthy relationships between each of the elements living on the farm.
We have been lucky enough to host an annual Permaculture Design Course with Stephen Brooks and Sarah Wu, two forerunners of the permaculture movement in Central America, which have helped bring these principles alive on the farm.
Following permaculture principles of Bill Mollison, we have outlined our community needs into zones, describing the relationship between our people and the land around us. The first zone outlines the hub of our living space – the things that we need, and the things that need us. Our zone one includes our communal kitchen and dining space, bathrooms, yoga studio, and kitchen gardens including frequently harvested crops such as herbs, lettuces, and salad vegetables. The outer zones comprise more of our hardy crops, such as coffee and fruit trees, as well as more private living spaces and yoga spaces. We are currently designing more energy efficient living spaces, cool in the heat of the day and comfortable in the chill evenings, which will form the temple and heart of Finca de Yoga Mistica. These designs are as multi-functional as possible and all built by local workmen with local materials.
We have an established composting system that enables us to recycle nutrients from food and garden waste back into the land. We enjoy practicing and experimenting with some of the many different methods of composting for soil improvement. Our “laboratory” and experimental practice draw methods rooted in Biodynamics, Biointensive farming, Permaculture, and Vermaculture.
Biodynamic Farming is a farming method birthed by Rudolf Steiner, that integrates the energies of the cosmos with the energy of the Earth. Methods include planting according to the pull of the moon, taking into account surrounding environments and their energetic influences, and putting energy into supporting the good in nature, as opposed to fighting the bad with chemicals and pesticides.
Biodynamics can be describes as living in nature and observing what happens according to varying different conditions (for example, planting a carrot on full moon as opposed to new moon, mid-day or early morning, and observing any differences) and following the rhythms of ancient knowledge along with our own keen observations and first-handed experiences. As Steiner said: “Biodynamics is a human service to the earth and its creatures, not just a method for increasing production or for providing healthy food.” Interestingly, Biodynamics is so intuitive that many of the methods described by Rudolf Steiner are already part of the indigenous farming practice here on the Lake, particular that of our Gardener, Silvio, whose green fingers and loving intentions have allowed the farm garden to truly bloom.