Apr 21, 2020 | Simple Permaculture | 0 comments

Permaculture In The City. Turning Our Inner City Courtyard Into A Food Garden.



With all the food restrictions and uncertainty that came with the Coronavirus pandemic, my husband and I began to feel it was time to start growing our own food again. So – as another part of returning to a simple life, we’ve decided to try a little permaculture in the city and turn our inner-city apartment courtyard into an urban food forest.

We’ve had a plot in our local community garden for a year, but with the presence of lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus we thought it would be a smart move to bring the food garden home. So while we will keep up our community garden plot, we will also turn our courtyard into a kitchen garden.

Permaculture And A Simple Life

I wrote a post a while back about what living in Tasmania taught be about living a simple life. (Read it here) One thing that my time there gave me was a love for food gardening. It made sense to me, that if I’m trying to simplify my life, then I should start growing my own food and return to seasonal eating for health and simplicity.

So consider this my invitation to you to join us on our permaculture in the city journey. My intent is to share our plans, wins and mistakes with you. In the hope that you too would consider your own urban food forest adventure and take your food security into your own hands. The truth is, eating food that you’ve grown yourself is so satisfying, not to mention healthier and safer than anything you can buy in the supermarket. And you don’t need a lot of space to grow a lot of food.

In the video below, I’m taking you on a tour of our inner-city courtyard as it is right now before we begin our permaculture in the city adventure. Once you’ve watched it, read on for a simple overview of the 3 ethics of permaculture and how we intend to incorporate them into our courtyard garden.

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture started in Tasmania, developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s and has grown into a worldwide movement. The more I read about permaculture, the more I believe that it’s 3 core ethics are the way forward for our overstretched planet.

Ethic 1 Care for the Planet

I almost feel silly, attempting to explain this ethic. I think it’s evident that our planet is suffering. The Coronavirus epidemic has shown us the Earth can heal if we stop consuming and polluting so much. Our worldwide isolation has reduced pollution to the point that China has had the best air quality it’s experienced in years, and I’m sure you’ve seen the video footage of the clear water in the canals of Venice.

By practising permaculture in our small plot in the city, we can practice care for our planet by: 

  • Creating a green space in a sea of concrete
  • Reducing our dependency on monoculture farming practices
  • Reducing our carbon footprint (fewer food miles when you pick food from your front yard)
  • Creating a habitat for beneficial insects like bees 

Ethic 2 Care for People

Our goal for our permaculture in the city adventure is to provide enough food that we can share with our apartment block neighbours. Even though we live on top of each other (literally), we don’t have a strong sense of community, and I’d like to change that. 

Coronavirus has brought the need for community to the forefront. We needed to care for each other by keeping our distance, but in doing so, we forged new relationships and became aware of who lives around us.

So while this ethic was meant for a broader scale, (read more here) I’m bringing it home and want to use our courtyard garden as a way to care for the people who live around me.

Our Earth can provide everything we need to survive and thrive if we practice the principle of fair share.

Ethic 3 Fair Share

This is my favourite ethic. Our Earth can provide everything we need to survive and thrive if we practice the principle of fair share. 

This ethic is simple. Only take what you need, and if you have a surplus, share it. Too many zucchini? Turn it onto pickles (delicious) and give some to your neighbour. Or donate a few jars to your local Foodbank or co-op.

Fair share also means returning the surplus to the system. If you have too much of something, dig it back into the land, make compost, let the birds eat it. At its pure core, this ethic is about sharing and folds in the other 2 ethics. If you take your fair share, you’re also looking after the planet and the people.

Your invitation to join my permaculture in the city adventure

I’m looking forward to this permaculture in the city adventure! A chance to change my immediate environment while doing something I love – gardening and growing food. Hubby and I intend to keep the whole process as simple as possible so we can prove that anyone can start their own permaculture garden. So if you follow along, you can expect no fancy or expensive equipment, just a fun and satisfying project that (fingers crossed) will change the community around us.

My next post on our permaculture in the city adventure will outline our plans for the courtyard. If you’re keen to follow along, pop your details into the box below and I’ll send you a link to each post, so you don’t miss anything.

Follow Us