Ethics

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A note from Rosé in the bag of cotton scraps brings up an opportunity to share (recycle) skills in the ‘hood.  She even wrote the note on a recycled envelope.
A note from Rosé in the bag of cotton scraps brings up an opportunity to share (recycle) skills in the ‘hood. She even wrote the note on a recycled envelope.

Applying permaculture to an urban setting often includes building community and getting the word out.  In an effort to keep useful waste products out of landfills, I’ve let certain neighbors know I’ll take things like leaves, woodchips, veggie waste, egg shells and cardboard off their hands.  They are only too happy to oblige and I often find “offerings” from neighbors left inside my gate.

It’s heartening to see these offerings because I know I can apply them directly to the third of the permaculture ethics, which is to “return the surplus” to the first two ethics; earth care (restoring living ecosystems) and people care (supplying our needs in a sustainable way).  In this way we cycle useful “waste” products back into the system and end up in a more abundant world.   Just today I received two such offerings.

A bag of “hen produce” and a small paper bag of crushed egg shells.  Also some scrap cotton fabric for composting or shredding for hen nests.
A bag of “hen produce” and a small paper bag of crushed egg shells. Also some scrap cotton fabric for composting or shredding for hen nests.

Janie, who lives across the street and works at Chow Locally – a local CSA, left me a box of “good produce” - still edible for humans and a bag of “hen produce” – leftovers that had spoiled spots, peelings, etc.

The hens look forward to these weekly deliveries of “hen produce” as it provides them with a change from their typical fare and whatever I happen to be giving them.  I also received a small paper bag of crushed eggshells from Rosé over on the next block.  These go back to the girls, too, to provide for their calcium needs.  I try to gift these neighbors back with surplus produce or eggs when I have some.

The cardboard box from the “good produce” is retained to line the bottom of the hens’ nest boxes (easier to clean out the “nutrient” the hens deposit).
The cardboard box from the “good produce” is retained to line the bottom of the hens’ nest boxes (easier to clean out the “nutrient” the hens deposit).
Recycled cardboard in the nest boxes.
Recycled cardboard in the nest boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes there’s surplus useful waste that’s a little larger than usual!  Donna, of the “Collaborative Urban Swale” fame, had the tree trimmers come to her house last week and they had a full load of chips to dump from previous jobs.  Donna took some to mulch the swale with and I took the rest – my infiltration basins and propagation area floor could use some refreshing.

Big pile of wood chips out in the alley behind my neighbor’s house.  We have an agreement that wood chips can be dumped there for communal use.  About half of them are gone already.  Note the lovely sign made out of a recycled pizza box lid.  Don’t want our bulk trash service to haul off this valuable resource!
Big pile of wood chips out in the alley behind my neighbor’s house. We have an agreement that wood chips can be dumped there for communal use. About half of them are gone already. Note the lovely sign made out of a recycled pizza box lid. Don’t want our bulk trash service to haul off this valuable resource!
The floor of the propagation area with fresh wood chips.  This area is designed to be an infiltration basin for water coming off the back of the house.  The floor here is actually dug down about 20 inches and backfilled with woodchips.  This slows and sinks rainwater runoff and helps rehydrate my soil.
The floor of the propagation area with fresh wood chips. This area is designed to be an infiltration basin for water coming off the back of the house. The floor here is actually dug down about 20 inches and backfilled with woodchips. This slows and sinks rainwater runoff and helps rehydrate my soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m pretty pleased that I could not only keep these “waste” products out of the landfill, but use them to grow food, eggs and harvest water.  And I get to share my love of quilting!

And the cycle continues!  Down-the-street neighbor, Patrick, just stopped by to pick up some soup and quiche – a trade for giving me rides to doctors’ appointments.  Fairview Place is a WONDERFUL, community-minded neighborhood.  I’m so lucky to live here.
And the cycle continues! Down-the-street neighbor, Patrick, just stopped by to pick up some soup and quiche – a trade for giving me rides to doctors’ appointments. Fairview Place is a WONDERFUL, community-minded neighborhood. I’m so lucky to live here.

 

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