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Friday, Sep. 6th 2013

Sustainably Designed Food Growing: Permaculture in Four Dimensions

Urban agriculture has been gaining in popularity due to the desire for fresh and healthy food, for personal food security, and as a means of building the local community. But many gardeners think their yard is limited in food-growing potential because it’s too shady, or too sloping, or it has low fertility. But think again! A landscape design using permaculture principles can make it possible to grow food on practically any site.

Permaculture is not a discipline itself, but rather a design science that utilizes ideas from many disciplines including soil science, hydrology, botany, agroforestry, and landscape architecture. By combining these disciplines, permaculture designers have transformed landscapes as diverse as the desert in Jordan (now a green space), and the Loess Plateau in China (now hydrated and re-forested).

On the scale of your own front or back yard, by using permaculture design, you can grow many perennial shade-loving crops: tree crops, root crops, herbs and berries, with annual vegetables interspersed.

Michael Almon has been using his design training to develop Forest Floor Permaculture, a nut- and fruit-centered forest garden, established in 1980 on one-half acre in Lawrence KS. Speaking at the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Gardeners’ Gathering on October 17, Almon will explain the theory and effectiveness of permaculture, how it mimics natural ecosystems with an emphasis on food bearing plants, and how it works not just at the soil surface, but in vertical layers, and also over a period of time. Furthermore, he will describe the basics of doing a site assessment and external influences analysis, designing earth works and water catchments, selecting woody and herbaceous species, all at help you map your personal garden design. In the permaculture garden of perennial food crops, you won’t have to till every year–much of your weeding is eliminated by groundcovers; your shade trees and shrubs will bear food; and irrigation needs will be reduced. And you might end up retiring your lawn mower!

Join the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City as Michael Almon, Sustainability Action Network and Kansas Permaculture Collaborative present “Sustainably Designed Food Growing: Permaculture in Four Dimensions”, Thursday October 17, 2013, 6:30 pm at Kauffman Foundation Conference Center. Free and open to the public. Door prizes. No registration required. For further information call (816) 665-4456, or see the Master Gardeners website at


Michael Almon

Michael Almon




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University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener Program