In this video, UMASS student Ryan Harb tells the TEDx audience in Utica, New York State, about the permaculture project he initiated back in 2010 which resulted in the first public university permaculture garden in the United States. During the talk he gives a very succinct definition of permaculture and how it can practically apply to “all people, not just those of us who are privileged”. If you are new to the concept of permaculture or would like a clear and simple explanation of it, this could be a very effective video to watch.
Much of the talk is about mulch. One of the main practical applications of permaculture Harb engages in is sheet mulching and he explains the process very simply with clear steps, even quizzing the audience at the end – so get your notebooks ready! One small thing I would add to his step-by-step guide is that although adding a layer of compost on top of the cardboard layer is great for helping to create very nutrient-rich soil, if one reason that you are sheet mulching is because you currently don’t have very nutrient-rich soil then it’s fine to skip this layer. A good mix of carbon and nitrogen in the mulch layer will break down into quality soil (1).
Harb is clearly very inspired by permaculture which comes out in his speaking. He is also inspired by President Obama and gives some interesting quotes from the nearly ex-president which seem quite timely. But what is the true power of permaculture? You might want to watch to find out…
1. Hemenway, Toby, 2009. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont