Food Security
Healthy Food For Thought

A plentiful supply of clean water and organic produce is such an important part of maintaining optimum health and longevity, that we make sure each of our communities are designed with the ability to feed themselves. One of our objectives is to establish food security for our communities. We “design in” the capacity to feed many people with the land available to each project.

For Example at our planned Eco Growing Village most of the 75 acres of the project are rich organic sandy loam fields with mature tree-lined wind breaks. We will develop several demonstration cropping methods supporting a very wide variety of crops. We have set aside several areas on the site for organic food production.

1. Our initial site plan sets aside 31 acres of south-sloping crop land (providing a longer growing season) that will be dedicated to ecological farming projects.

2. We have 5.7 acres of reclamation land (bed of old gravel pit) for our soil rehabilitation and edible forest projects. This land will produce a wide variety of crops from fruit and nuts to berries and herbs.

3. We have two natural ponds for aquaculture projects: one deep pond ecosystem for species like trout, and one shallower pond ecosystem for bass. There will also be Tilapia tanks designed into the solariums of the Earthships.

4. We have 5.8 acres of agricultural fenced fields for raising organically fed animals with a plan to raise a variety of heritage breeds.

5. Adjacent to the residential buildings we will be creating ecological landscapes incorporating edible perennial gardens.

6. For winter fresh food production we have designed a solar-heated greenhouse as well as several solar-heated solariums attached to the Earthships and all residences.

7. Plots will be set aside for heritage seed production and we will be creating an onsite seed bank for heritage varieties.

8. We have allocated land for the Earthworks CSA. This is our community shared agriculture project, where members can prepay for a share in the production from our CSA organic gardens. Good Food Boxes are provided to Earthworks CSA members.

Food Based Enterprise In An Eco Village

Having a healthy, green economy within an intentional community is important. We design a variety of eco-enterprises into most business plans for our Eco Villages, but food production is often central to the village economy. The Growing Village described above, planned as an organic permaculture farm, was designed to be 30% more profitable per acre than a conventional farm.

The next project with a food production focus was the smaller “Our Earth” grow-op project seen below. It was designed with a more intensive approach to the permaculture lifestyle which resulted in a wide variety of high-value organic crops that can yield over 50% more profit-per-acre than a conventional farm.

Both these estimated margins are conservative, and from our experience we would expect in a good year either of these farms yielding double the profit-per-acre when compared to conventional farming.

Size Is Not Everything

The beauty of an organic permaculture farm is that input costs are less and market prices are more. The business plan for both these communities focused on revenue generated by food production. Both plans reflected a comfortable profit from surplus food production, even though one was a modest 75-acre project and one was only 25-acres. The size of the operation has little impact on its profitability per acre.

The word permaculture originally referred to "permanent agriculture", but was expanded to stand also for "permanent culture", as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system.

Today, Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.

Permaculture design is a holistic approach to human interaction with a local ecosystem that integrates optimum land use with harmony in nature. This approach to planning is a must in an eco-village.

Our permaculture designs and business plans work in synchrony and can be very detailed right down to what crop should be planted where, at what spacing with what expected yield. The above image is an overview of a permaculture design for the Our Earth grow-op.

The "Our Earth" project is an example of how food production facilities designed around Permaculture can optimize the productivity and social impact of our food systems.

Take a look at some of the Intentional Communities we have designed. Copyright © Earthwalk Inc.