TT Cobham plan


To explain and introduce key elements of permaculture by applying them to this project


  1. Ice breaker ball in a pattern – 5 mins

  2. Inspire and introduce permaculture (greening the desert, quotes) – 20 mins

  • Tell them what we are going to do – agenda

  • Start with the film (Geoff Lawton Greening the Desert)

  • Permaculture starts from observing nature

  • Many early pioneers – observed natural systems and started to write it down (Mollinson and Holmgren invented the phrase in 1970s)

  • Not new, many people practising it without calling it permaculture, people practising all over the world

  • Its like wearing a pair of glasses

  • Its all about design – taking the time to think carefully and observe before acting

  • Lots of definitions from many different people – here are a few

  • Today we are going to have a brief overview of some aspects and try and weave them into the design for the site

  1. An intro to the garden project from SJ – ONLY if there are people coming who aren’t part of the garden group – 5 mins

  2. Needs/Products – 15 mins

  • Chicken and greenhouse 2 groups needs/products

  • Egg story – industrial systems have a waste, permaculture systems don’t have waste, it is designed to make the waste useful resources and closed loop

  • When designing consider the major elements in the design and the needs/products of each and how they can be useful to eachother – in terms of relative location, having more than one function from each element and in making the system resilient by providing the same function from more than one element

  • Make reference to the web of life that they have done before

  • Conclusion: consider needs and products for major elements in the system and how you can use this analysis to enhance your design, in particular the relative location of the elements – compost bin, greenhouse, beneficial plants

  1. Ethics (world cafe 2 groups of 3, how do/should these ethics apply to this project) – 25 mins

  • There are 3 ethics – has anyone come across them?

  • Drawn as intersecting circles

  • Quite self explanatory – want you to explore how these three ethics apply to your project – how could/should/do they apply– go beyond the land think about the people, the resources, the land, other people etc etc. World cafe format

  • Conclusion: take consideration of all 3 ethics, don’t just focus on earth care – people care like dusting. Consider all creatures the slugs and snails as well as the good bugs!

  1. Patterns + observation (introduce a few patterns and a few pattern groups – then get them to go outside and observe patterns in nature in pairs) – 25 mins

  • Group these items into patterns

  • Here are some pattern groupings – there are many ways to look at this just one example. Does this change the grouping at all?

  • Now take a couple of pattern cards and find a partner and go outside and observe as many examples of the pattern types as you can find – use all your senses sound patterns as well as visual, patterns in time (you may just be seeing one part of it i.e. spring)

  • Conclusion: using patterns in design can help – a couple of examples include a herb spiral

    • top dry = rosemary/lavender, bottom wet = mint

    • north side = more shady, south side = more sunny

    • using rocks = heat the soil

    • multiple environmental conditions in a small space

Keyhole bed

  • Using a sort of lobe pattern

  • Increased edge for planting, least path configuration

  • Ideal for no dig system – simply add mulch on top and keep the soil life alive underneath – rectangles are easier if digging/mechanical cultivation

  1. Principles – 25mins

  • Many different principles – these are holmgren

  • nature observations captured into words

  • pick one that speaks to you

  • share the principle and think about how it could apply to your project – ideally give them 2 each

  • conclusion: use principles to help with design

First half 1hr 55

BREAK – 15mins

  1. PMI (for the site itself and the project as a whole. 5 mins individually to think about PMI and then do 2 small group sharing could include people, relationships, land, resources, etc etc) – 20 mins

  2. PASE (what do you want to see on the site in terms of PASE. 5 mins individually – and then do it like at hawkwood on a big table in the centre of the room – perhaps give them top 2 (depending on numbers)) – 20mins

  3. Ice breaker – or just stand up and shake – 5 mins

  4. FREE DESIGN/BRAINSTORM/DESIGN TIME – could do some random assembly/stacking with the items that have come up from the PASE exercise to help with planning out the layout. What of the PASE items could be stacked together? What would have beneficial relationships or multiple functions? And/or could also use the 4q’s to help with this. 35 mins

  5. Permaculture and transition cobham

  • How can permaculture principles/ethics/patterns be applied to TTCobham?

  • E.g.’s from Kingston

    • FGU – small and slow – starting in a driveway

    • relative location – having collection in YMCA introduces a new scheme of late collection

    • yields/many functions with one element – cultivate london and hounslow cf next to choice organics quality control – expanded new suppliers – also mutual support for small businesses

    • catch and store energy of volunteers – regular meals to share ideas, payment through veg

  • Carbon conversations

    • catch and store energy – knowledge transfer and the energy of the neighbours

    • small and slow – just on a street level and then move to the next street – they know someone and share

    • work with nature rather than against – meet people where they are not try to get them to somewhere they are not ready to go yet

    • ref transition streets in totnes similar idea more money!

  • Local currency e.g. brixton pound

    • catch and store energy (energy = money) keep it in the local economy and keep circulating – no leaks from the system nature doesn’t leak = produce no waste also integrate rather than segregate

  • Tooting foodival

    • Multiple functions – trial tooting root, join local businesses with local growers, resilient because multiple growers and multiple food businesses so that we got diversity of produce and meals

    • creating edge between 2 groups that would never normally meet, holding it in the market which introduced more people that would never normally be involved in transition projects (catch and storing the energy of the market)

  1. CLOSE (questions, further info, a chance for them to reflect/feedback, what’s their individual next step for the project/TTC – discuss in pairs and then write on post it – go round of one thing you are taking away from the afternoon) 15 mins


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