My first visit was to D Acres, an education center and demonstration site for sustainable living and small-scale agriculture founded by Josh Trought and others in 1997. The principles of permaculture permeate throughout the site – in the design & layout, integration of animals, and organic & no-till practices used.
It is vital at D Acres to both educate about and practice permaculture. Josh shared that many permaculture practices, designed and applied in Australia, may not translate well to our short New England growing season. D Acres provides opportunities to experiment on a large scale and to share what works in our climate. “If we can figure it out here, we can figure it out everywhere,” Josh states.
Regina Rinaldo, the Kitchen Manager and Fiber Arts Coordinator, led me around the site, highlighting some of the 100+ perennial species and permaculture principles at D Arces:
Produce No Waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources available to us, nothing goes to waste. There were countless examples of this principle at work, but the example I first noticed was the greenhouse enclosed in salvaged glass doors.
Catch and Store Energy: By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need. To catch and store water, D Aces is building a system of ponds and terraced waterways to catch any rainwater and transfer down slope when it is needed. There are also rain catchment systems on many of the roofs with ground gutters to carry the water to nearby gardens.
Ready to Visit? D Acres (http://www.dacres.org) offers many community events and an on-site hostel. A course called Permaculture Through the Seasons is offered over seven weekends from May to November.
When I asked Josh to share his favorite part of the site, his reply reflected D Acres and the holistic nature of permaculture perfectly. What was his favorite part of D Acres? He answered, “Everything.”