Vitsøhus Permaculture Garden (Vitsøhus Permakulturhave)

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Address: Søbygårdsmarksvej 3, 5985 Søby Ærø

Email: info@vitsoehus.dk

Phone: 36981919 / 25644003

Website: vitsoehus.dk and facebook.com/vitsoehus

Started: 2011

LAND center accreditation: 23rd of May 2015

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Educational activities:

We have started a small shop, where we sell products like seeds, tea, marmalade and plants. We have had great pleasure from the WWOOFers that we have had (from seven different countries in 2014) and the exchange that we have experienced in that connection. We often participate and keep events for marginalized groups here in the island of Ærø. Among other, regularly every month we are “midday host family” foryoung, unaccompanied asylum seekers, who stay at the local asylum center for shorter or longer periods for up to a year. Seeing that we have guests in the garden and by help of the various courses and workshops, we create new social structures.

Themes: Permaculture demonstration garden, forest garden, micro-climate zone, café/restaurant, seminar facilities, sound therapy, shop, plants, segway trips, retrofitting and environmental improvement of buildings, culture and education, health and well-being, garden, forest, agriculture, aquaculture, animals, self-sufficiency, waste minimization, local management of land and environment.

Facilities for visitors:

Guided tours (40-50 people).

DSC07237-001  15 beds in total in 3 summer houses, which each has 2 rooms with 2 or 3 beds + 6 sleeping spaces in the Mongolian yurt in the therapy garden.

Parking space, café/restaurant, shop (seeds, plants, gardening tools, ceramics, marmalade, tea and syrup), segway trips, sound therapy in the Mongolian yurt, possibility for small reparation of bicycle,  toilet and free transport with the public bus.

Volunteers: Possibility for staying in tent and in summerhouse.
Free transport with public bus.

Description

A permaculture garden, which is open for the public. 1,5 ha out of the total 7,3. In 2009, Vitsø was recreated and the garden opened in 2013. We have realized our dream of becoming more self-sufficient, of living in more harmony with nature and establishing a permaculture garden open to the public. We make guided tours in the garden. In 2014, we opened the café “Eat & Read”, where we serve soup, pasta with home-made pesto and smoothies (made with own produce). In that way, permaculture can be felt, seen and tasted in Vitsøhus. Outside the season, we use the café facilities for courses and talks.

The garden makes up 1,5 ha and is designed according to permaculture principles. It has over 600 different plants, 2 lakes and a small forest harden, an area with free-range pigs (of the race “Danish protest pigs”) and chickens. As an experiement, we have established a nature segway track in 2014.  The plan for 2015, is to implement a therapy garden and to have ducks and sheep integrated into the project. With Vitsøhus Permaculture Garden, we would like to pass on the values of permaculture and thereby create a greater understanding for the connections between nature and healthy, tasty food crops as well as the human interaction with/misuse of the natural resources.

DSC07197-001Ethics and design

Our goal with the permaculture garden is to manage the natural resources in little circuits in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable way.  We create and maintain agriculturally reproductive eco-systems, which reflect the diversity, stability and resilience of the natural eco-systems. We aim for working with and not against nature. We observe the natural processes here on the place and thereafter, we regulate our implementations in order to obtain a better yield and soil quality. We strive for considering the systems in all their functions instead of only focusing on one specific  yield. Also, we allow for the systems to develop on their own.

Principles and methods

Taking departure in the 12 principles of Bill Mollison, we have created a lush garden with great diversity of species. We focus on optimizing functions and work towards improving the structure of the soil, among other by use of ground cover of leaves, straw or wood chips – according to what is most appropriate. During our work in the garden, we have had amply opportunity to observe the processes, the effect of the surroundings on the design and the interaction of the plants. We use what we observe to optimize and develop the garden continuously.

Regeneration of natural resources

All elements are part of our project:
We constantly try to reduce/optimize our energy consumption. This should be understood as biggest yield possible with least use of resources possible. We have established two lakes to keep the water and the use the surface as reflection surface for the surrounding areas. In connection with the ramparts made to the west, the lakes create a milder micro-climate in the area around the lakes. We use sheet mulching by, among other, using the grass from the lawn for cover- and compost material between the roses. Our house is heated by geothermal energy, the café is heated  with an air unit and all of our buildings have a wood burning stove. We have established a forest garden of around ½ ha, from which it should be possible to obtain wood on a regular basis in seven years’ time. A small share of our electricity consumption is covered by solar cells: the pumps that aerate the lakes and the electric fence for the free-range pigs are driven by solar panels – provided that there is enough sun. In the long term, we would like to set up several small windmills in connection with a battery solution for storage of energy in order to become the most self-sufficient as possible energy-wise.

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Welcome to the Permaculture Association of Denmark!