Erkki: Le Portfolio

[Erkki’s DPA main page]

1)  Who I am

Permacultiure Zone 00 (to be prepared)

This is my Linkedin profile, so you can see a little about my professional background:

I am also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you can follow me.

2) Documentation of activities in blog

We started this web-site and blog when we bought the site in 2014. As the blog is really about developing our permaculture smallholding it is natural to use it also for my Permaculture Diploma project. I dedicate a category for the Diploma portfolio on the web-site making it easy to follow. Of course this part of the web-site will be in English. This is the Diploma homepage.

3) Courses and workshops attended relevant to permaculture & Courses and workshops given

This includes permaculture related courses, workshops, meetings etc but also those related to my main topics in the permaculture context like natural building, beekeeping, mushroom cultivation and forest gardening/agroforestry.

4) Portfolio of permaculture designs

The main part of the portfolio will relate to our own project at Iso-orvokkiniitty but a few designs could be from elsewhere or about how Iso-orvokkiniitty relates to the surrounding community. The Iso-orvokkiniitty part could consist of the general permaculture design of the property + detailed designs of special areas of interest. I am listing possibilities below but it is difficult for me to say if each of them is large enough to be separate designs. So this could change during the process. To clarify it for myself I want to analyse how the different plans relate to the fundamental permaculture principles. Marja will also start her Diploma work this year (2018) so of course her work and mine will be in line with each other and overlapping.

I will prepare a general permaculture design of Iso-orvokkiniitty first. Then it could be updated while preparing the different sub-project designs as those probably will bring some new elements to the general design.

A) Iso-orvokkiniitty: general permaculture design of the site and project

We consider Iso-orvokkiniitty (12 ha of which 6 ha field, 6 ha forest) as our permacultural small-farm project. We are on a mission to show possibilities for an alternative sustainable lifestyle. Therefore we have developed the Iso-orvokkiniitty web-site and blog and arrange courses and workshops on topics we are mastering.

I will create the Iso-orvokkiniitty permaculture design in parts which are listed below as they are published. They will most probably be edited also after being first publishing.

1) 60 degrees North, 23 East

B) Projects at Iso-orvokkiniitty

i) Construction:

We are currently building our house according to natural building principles. It is a straw-bale-clay house with as natural materials as possible. The property we bought had no constructions or infra. Apart from the house at least the following buildings are envisaged in the future:
– sauna
– earth cellar
– climate battery greenhouse
– hen house
– stall for horse(s)
– small food processing facility (honey, myco lab, fermented products etc)
Some of the above can be combined
The “terre-paille” technique is certainly of interest here.

ii) Off-grid energy

Our plan is to be off-grid.
– Energy: Primary heating of our house is wood from our own forest. The secondary source is solar collectors. Electricity is produced with solar panels and for the winter also with wind mill and storage with batteries. These have already been installed this winter. Sufficiency of electricity in the winter time is a challenge so other methods will be looked at. First plans and calculations of electricity production and consumption were presented in a blog article in 2014 here (in Finnish) and about the heating system in 2016 here.
– Water comes from a natural well we dug in 2016.
– Sewage is treated in a willow-system: evaporating water, catching nutrients, using the wood for different purposes. Planned construction 2018.
– The only external networks are for information (mobile internet) and mobility (cars).
– I will analyse how much we can decrease our energy footprint and what next steps are possible.

iii) Natural beekeeping

The first hives came on the property the following week after buying it in June 2014. I have studied beekeeping extensively and have now over the winter 3 standard Farrar hives, 7 horizontal top bar hives and 1 Warré hive. I attended a TBH beekeeping course with Patrick Sellman in Sweden in 2015 and invited him to run a course here in March 2016 (in Swedish) and then ran a natural beekeeping course myself here in April 2016 and April 2017 (in Finnish) and a beekeeping workshop in July 2016. My purpose is to inspire more people to take on natural beekeeping in TBH and Warré in Finland.

iv) Low-tech mushroom cultivation

In 2017 April we inoculated the third 300-400 batch of logs for shiitake outdoor cultivation (2015, 2016, 2017). It is the third spring we arrange a mushroom inoculation workshop. We are experimenting also with some other mushroom cultivation techniques and species including some indigenous species. Further down the road how to integrate mushrooms in the garden and to improve soil with mushrooms. We inoculate chaga in the birch growing in our woods.

v) Forest garden including nuts, hazelnuts

We are at the northern border of natural hazelnut Corylus avellana which grows naturally in the region. We have an exceptional 0,4 ha natural hazelnut grove on our property: how to maintain and nurture it? We have planted in 2015 and 2016 other Corylus types and species as well as Juglans sp. and Carya sp. and of course several other fruit trees and berry bushes etc. How to develop parts of the field into a forest garden? How to develop the forest into a productive forest garden system? We tap birch for birch sap (sève de bouleau) and consider commercialising it. Planned production of tree seedlings for sale.

vi) Vegetable garden & Perennial vegetables

Mainly for own use but some products to be produced for sale, f.ex. fermented vegetables. Manual cultivation without machines.

vii) Horse Powered Forestry and Farming

Heating the house and sauna with wood requires some 10-15 cubic meters of fire wood. With more buildings we will need more. We have 6 ha of forest which easily produces 30 cubics of wood in terms of annual growth so the consumption of wood is sustainable. We need a few cubics for mushroom cultivation on logs. Wood is available but how to get it out of the forest after logging it? We do not want to invest in a tractor or ATV for that purpose so using horse power is a natural solution. A horse needs fodder which means producing hay and a limited volume of oats. Which brings us to horse powered farming.

viii) Social aspects, interacting with the community

Karjalohja where we are situated is a small community with roughly 1000 inhabitants but it is not the usual countryside community. The local Steiner school – which was founded in 1984 – has attracted a lot of alternatively minded people who want to live in the countryside. There are several people who already know about permaculture or are interested. We organised the first permaculture pop-up gathering in March and Marja is coordinating a permaculture design for the “Village house”. We hope to develop an active local permaculture group in the area.

ix) Processing raw-materials

While we are not at the moment dependent on income from the farm we want to develop different sources of income to be able to be more farm based economically. To add value raw-materials could be processed and brought to market. Different options for a multifunctional business plan will be analysed.

x) The economics

+ All the interactions between above elements and functions.

C) Karjalohja Agroecological symbiosis


xi) Maybe something abroad in a developing country if opportunity for that arrises.

[Erkki’s DPA main page]

Edit 4.2.2018
Created 16.12.2017