Life here on earth would be nearly impossible without water. Water helps plants thrive and gives fish a home. Water quenches our thirst and gives us the ability to clean. Our water system here at Luna Verde Permaculture starts 125’ below us, where glacier water trickles down from snowfall to fill our massive aquifer. We have a small solar pump that carries water up to our storage tanks for drinking, washing dishes, showers, etc. Next the overflow on the tank fills our goat water trough and flows to our primary pond. Thirdly, the water stored in the primary pond flows downhill to a ram pump that lifts a small portion back to refill and aerate. These amazing pumps have been around a long time in agriculture and they perform without electricity by using the fall of water downhill to pump a small portion of water anywhere you want and it doesn’t have to be the same water source. The remaining water flows to the duck pond, which waters our garden as well. You can see that our use of water is a process that accomplishes as many things with as little energy as possible, a key principle in permaculture and off-grid self reliance. Living, moving, flowing water cuts down on work time and benefits all parts of the microsystem.
In our microsystem we added an aquaponic/aquaculture system to give us more food production. Our aquaponics and aquaculture systems are meant to work together to recreate cycles found in nature. First you have birth and nurturing. In the aquaponic spawn beds, young ones live in smaller sized venues to protect them and keep them well nourished. Their water is siphoned onto the plant beds giving them valuable nutrients and purifying the water as it trickles back down to the fish. In this system we also grow greens for our critters and ourselves.
In the large ponds we are recreating riparian areas to create a self-generating aquaculture where the young spawn can grow to marketable size and repopulate the spawn beds with minimal input. In addition, the surrounding areas and ponds grow food for our animals, and us as well as provide habitat to a myriad of forest creatures. With this teaming of water and land, we truly can see a microenvironment at work but it is in this perspective that we see the magic. In fact, it is a microcosm of the whole larger system of our county, our state, our country, our planet, our solar system, our galaxy all bound together in this amazing dance of life. One life form feeding the other, sharing water, light, food, air and earth fundamentally connected through other life forms from the matter that digests food in our gut to earthworms, bacteria and fungus, breaking down our waste, it is all one huge cycle of cycles, spirals of life. The more we learn to work within these cycles the easier and more balanced our daily lives as community members becomes. For us it is not a choice so much as an honest way of living within our own means.