Rainwater harvesting is an integral part of off-grid type of living that happens outside the comfort of the city. Water is used for a large variety of different uses and a very valuable commodity.
Most structures on our land with any size roof from the sawmill to homes and kitchen areas are fitted with gutters to catch and guide water to our storage tanks.
Water is used for drinking, washing and cleaning. Drinking water helps the cells in the body stay hydrated, assists in the digestion process, is helpful for optimum kidney function and reminds us of nature where water is one of the key elements for survival of this planet.
Some benefits of harvesting rainwater include :
- Decrease risk of flooding and erosion
- Reduced water bill
- Reduced demand on groundwater
- Water has less man-made contaminants
- Understanding amount of water used and breeding mindful consumption
Water is used frugally and re-used where possible.
Water needs to be consciously harvested and consumed and used as part permaculture set-up where the long term goal is to establish healthier soil and forests.
Our primary food garden or zone 1 is a large structure covered in shade netting to keep the monkeys and other large animals out.
It was built by volunteers and the irrigation system is connected to our dam.
The garden is loaded with a variety of perennial and annual plants, providing the majority of food consumed to people living on the land and volunteering. Each plant has a different function; some plants are specific for deterring bugs and mosquitoes and stand guard outside the entrances, while some plants are used to retain high amounts of water. Our granadilla vines and gooseberries which grow around the perimeter and roof create partially shaded micro-environments in certain areas.
The garden paths are filled with wood chip which is good for retaining some water and leveling the ground for a wheelbarrow to be easily maneuvered. The wood chip in the paths breaks down and is cycled into the beds after a year and fresh wood chip is distributed. The garden and beds are designed for optimal accessibility and use of space using permaculture principles.
Raised beds with weaved walls made from black wattle form a strong and aesthetic container for our soil. We are continuously generating large quantities of compost that produce vitamin and mineral rich food to feed the soil in which our food grows.
No chemicals are used in the garden as fertilizer or for killing off any bugs.
We are what we eat
Every bit of food and drink we put into our bodies, breaks into molecular compounds and become our new cells. We are what we eat. When you eat vitamin-rich vegetables from a nutrient-rich earth, sun-ripened berries,living sprouts and natural, non-GMO foods, your body becomes just that. Life!
We believe in producing as much of what we consume ourselves and to eat produce that is in season and locally sourced where possible.
At the moment we have a large vegetable garden, covered by shade netting for protection against birds and monkeys and from cats feasting on catnip.
We have an interesting variety of cabbage spinach, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, granadillas, gooseberries, carrots, chillis and much more growing.
Planting seeds that are heirloom and from organically-minded distributors, we believe in creating a peaceful environment while planting and lovingly watering all seedlings until they are ready for the big vegetable garden.
We use a composting system made up of components including humanure, food-waste, invasive saplings, horse poo and other green components. We have a large worm farm in old baths that quite impressive.
The garden is irrigated by using water from our catchment dam and rainwater tanks.
Permaculture principles are used when creating new beds, deciding which plants grow well together, in what type of temperature and lighting conditions the plants would thrive in. We have permaculturists on-site, constantly expanding our vegetable garden into a garden of abundance to sustain healthy, strong individuals and a connection back to nature.
We are constantly learning new ways of producing food. We strive to continue growing our garden until it feeds not only our permanent residents and volunteers, but that there is surplus to be sold to the local community and at markets.
Building soil and microbial life is a primary focus at Pachamama..
Creating compost requires building an environment for the microbial life that decomposes organic matter to multiply & thrive. This involves creating the right ratio of Nitrogen (Green), Carbon (Brown) and High Nitrogen (Manure).
As a plant based community, we generate a LOT of organic matter in the kitchen. This forms part of our Nitrogen component.
Our wood chipper and sawmill generate huge amounts of fresh wood chip and sawdust which contains both nitrogen and carbon.
We collect horse manure from a neighboring farm which is our high Nitrogen component.
We use all the organic matter available to cycle back into the soil, this sometimes involves techniques such as sheet mulching & hugelkultur beds too.
“As nothing can ever be created or destroyed, just shift from one state to another, we can create a closed loop cycle by understanding the breakdown of organic matter and cycling the nutrients back into the soil that feeds us.”Dylan Treeman