Permaculture in practice

Permaculture at Black Sheep Inn

Permanent agriculture offers positive solutions to problems caused by the earth’s diminishing natural resources.  It focuses on how to design sustainable productive human settlements that provide food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs.  Permaculture combines many ecological features: organic gardening, building with natural materials, alternative energy, water conservation, composting, dry toilets, animal production and more.  It is a way of inter-connecting many features so that they become more productive and stable.  Permaculture copies natural eco-systems and therefore designs for production and sustainability.

The Black Sheep Inn is becoming a Permaculture demonstration site.  We have dry composting toilets, recycling systems for gray water, and recycling of plastic, metal, paper and glass.  We have planted over 1000 native trees in terraced swales and will continue to reforest in this manner.  We have organic gardens and a greenhouse.  We build from traditional materials such as straw and adobe.

Tree planting and reforestation

When challenged by choices of how to manage our property we found that our problems often became our solutions…

Water Supply & Waste Water

On average we use 2000 liters of water daily for the entire hotel…

Organic Gardens

We fertilize the terraced gardens with animal manure and compost/red-worm castings…

Permaculture Education

Black Sheep Inn closed in 1998 to sponsor a Permaculture Design Course for the community.  Twenty local neighbors participated in the two-week course.  Rick and Naomi Coleman, Australian Permaculturists, (see Southern Cross Permaculture Institute) renowned for their expertise, donated their time and knowledge in exchange for room and board.  Jean Brown, guidebook writer and past owner of Safari Tours, and Valentina Benavides translated the course.  Both have participated in several other courses throughout Ecuador.  The community was receptive to the course and new ideas.  Black Sheep Inn has many functioning examples of how Permaculture works which added greatly to the course.

Definition: Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally 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.

— Bill Mollison
Australian co-founder of the Permaculture movement