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  • White Box
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  • Stick
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  • Tools
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  • Cedar wall under construction for the recycling bin center.
  • Kitchen Garden and Cut Flower Garden.
  • High Bush Blueberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Upper Micro Farm water feature
  • Young Plums
  • H├╝gelkultur bed behind Micro Farm sign. H├╝gelkultur is a composting process employing raised planting beds constructed on top of decaying wood debris and other biomass plant materials. The process helps to improve soil fertility, water retention, and soil warming, thus benefiting plants grown on or near such mounds. ~ From Wikipedia
  • Rhubarb
  • Logs and pails inoculated with Blue Oyster mushroom.
  • Young Plums

In The Beginning

Seeds of the
Micro Farm...

The Island Micro Farm is an experiential project based on the established system of Permaculture.

It's an experiential project because until recently, very little Permaculture was in use on this one-acre property. I admit I've always been basically a "gardening hack". That is, while I love to garden, and have been gardening on this property for over 15 years, I haven't retained many plant names. I have gone about my process just planting what I liked the looks of at Lausier's Family Gardens, the local island purveyor of perennials, shrubs, tress, annuals, etc., or from plants from my sister in-law's, (Jane) perennial plant business, the Maine Accent in Hallowell, Maine.

Both Jim and Jane have beautiful gardens, are very knowledgeable and have formal educations in "matters of the plant." I on the other hand, did not but am working at developng my skills though fprmal workshops and hands-n practice. My whole gardening education is based on trial and error here on Peaks Island. Some things have done well, some things have suffered. Some plants I've moved from one to place to the next to see if they might be happier. Jim and Jane, along with my Permaculture mentors, Julia and Charles Yelton, have all been wonderful resources for me, in as much as I can retain anything they tell me. I suppose one could say it's been more of an "experience" for me rather than an "experiment", but I've thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.

In the fall of 2010, I participated in three weekend workshops at Lizzy Derecktor's home in East Boothbay, Maine. Lizzy is a wonderful musician, (one of the founding members of the women's percussion ensemble, Inanna-Sisters in Rhythm), mother, wife, friend to many, enviro-activist and concerned citizen extraordinaire, not to mention an extraordinarily skilled artist, creating hand-painted silk clothing, as well as other beautifully rendered artistic creations, such as the Sunflower World in the logo for The Maine Island Micro Farm.

So here I am at the first of these three workshops, An Introduction to Permaculture, where I meet Julia and Charles Yelton. To describe them as inspiring is a huge understatement, because you see, they have learned, lived, breathed and taught Permaculture for twenty years. Most of the people in Maine have been taught by them, and it's no coincidence that the largest Permaculture Meetup Group in the world was established and is managed by Lisa Fernandes, one of their early students. Lisa is also an amazing Permaculturist and is responsible for carrying the Permaculture torch to a whole new level here in Maine.

I attended the three weekend workshops and now I'm fully hooked. As Charles is fond of saying about certain things, "Once you go down the rabbit hole you can't ever go back." And that is certainly true for me and my love of Permaculture. I didn't just go down the rabbit hole, I shot down it like my last meal was in there somewhere.

I traveled to Sicily in March, 2010, to help the Yelton's prepare their newest effort, Villa Francesca (another story) for their first design-certification classes in Italy, held on their property there. I was in Sicily for five weeks and received my Design Certification.

We are beginning the process of turning this acre into a Permaculture Demonstration Site, so that my friends, community, family, naysayers and yaysayers can see first-hand how this system is created, how it works, it's amazing viability, and how they might apply this system to produce food on their own patch of earth, flower boxes, or pot gardens

Permaculture is a part of the growing "Localization" movement, a return to when all our food came from "just down the way", was far more nutritious and tasty, and produced using practical and sustainable methods. All the workshops offered will be full of practical knowledge and hands-on experience, taught be people who believe in the concept sustainability, or as Julia and Charles say, thrivability.

I hope you will join me in the development of The Island Micro Farm, and in the process find yourself shooting down a rabbit hole of your own.

Be Well!

Mark Shian

Some Definitions of Permaculture...

Permaculture (permanent agriculture or permanent culture) is the conscious design and maintenance of productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.


Practitioners of permaculture envision human societies that know themselves as co-creative participants in natural systems. Permaculture aims to regenerate healthy, productive landscapes and communities by consciously applying ecological principles to the design of human habitats.

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