“Permaculture, originally ‘Permanent Agriculture’… the creation of human systems which provide for human needs, but using many natural elements and drawing inspiration from natural ecosystems. Its goals and priorities coincide with what many people see as the core requirements for sustainability.” -Emma Chapman
The Farm’s forest garden, funded by the Permaculture Association, is designed to permaculture principles and mimics a natural forest ecosystem. Filled with perennial plants that develop extensive root systems, our garden is more resilient to extreme weather compared to conventional horticulture and requires little or no maintenance. The canopy layer will provide figs and mulberries and the understory medlars and cobnuts (if the squirrels don’t get there first!). The forest floor consists of plants with a spreading habit including alpine strawberries and Egyptian walking onions.
We also have a new wildlife pond which is designed to support native amphibians such as frogs, newts and a host of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. In its first season the pond has attracted dragon flies, pond skaters, water boatmen and water snails – we’re hoping the frogs will move in next year. The pond will help support biological pest control (frogs eating slugs) and Farm pollination by providing our resident bees with a year round watering hole.
Stepney City Farm is currently a member of the Permaculture Association and is also a Learning And Network Demonstration (LAND) learner site. In the future we hope to become a full LAND centre and host more permaculture courses.