Showing posts with label Guilds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilds. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fruit Trees Need Guilds & Why You Must Know

Lovely, below, excepting why is the guild missing?  Before learning what a guild is, I would have thought this garden, below, 'complete'. 
Do you know what a guild is?
No?  Parlay what you know a guild to be, in secular life, into the orchard.

Growing apples takes commitment that keeps the fire in the American love affair with the fruit.
Pic, above, here.
From Google:
noun: guild; plural noun: guilds; noun: gild; plural noun: gilds
  1. a medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.
    • an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.
      "the copper craftsmen have formed a guild"
      a group of species that have similar requirements and play a similar role within a community.
late Old English: probably from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch gilde, of Germanic origin; related to yield."
Obvious now, what a guild is?  No, at the front end, I still would not have understood what an orchard guild is.
Orchard guild, below
 Mown orchard path
Pic, above, Long Barn, here.
Seeing the orchard guild, above, can you describe what the guild is doing?
No, I couldn't either at the front end.
An orchard guild is a mix of plantings, blooming at the same time the fruit trees are blooming, increasing pollination.  Increasing fruit tree yields by 80%.
Do the math. 
By weight & lucre, a fruit tree guild is your best employee. 
Looking at the Google definition of guild, above, the mention, "related to yield." 
So. moving along, knowing what a guild is, seeing this orchard, below.  I would like to see this orchard in bloom, trees & guilds.  The guilds, below, seem more appropriate to pleasure gardening not agriculture.  What percentage of the guilds are flowers blooming before/after the fruit trees, not providing support, pollinators, to fruit tree yield?

Prairie de vivaces et d'annuelles - Mon Jardin & ma maison
Pic, above, here.
Guilds in an orchard are a symbiotic wilding.  Excepting the skills/knowledge of fruit tree guilds has become re-wilding. 
30 Days of Rewilding - find your place in nature and watch your family bloom! - Lulastic and the Hippyshake
Pic, above, here.
Nice sentiment, above.  Excepting we're more than 1 generation past agrarian & pastoral knowledge in the macro. 
Zenobia Barlow, has created a system of ecoliteracy.  Actively educating about ecoliteracy.  Rewilding knowledge.  What are the bridges needed in Ecoliteracy?  Barlow has been drawing the map, aiming for territory.  Fabulous start.  Dozens more strategic voices needed.  We don't know, what we don't know.  More, Barlow's map covers myriad disparate layers, she knows she doesn't know & creates space for unknowing to become knowing, on the map to territorial knowledge.
Decades I've been teaching at the local college, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Extension Service classes and Master Gardener's training.  Never a day passes I don't learn something important about gardening ornamentally or agriculturally.  More, much of the learning is counterintuitive.  What a ride !
I add, below, for anyone interested in working with schools and ecoliteracy.  Learning from what they've already done, and adding to their knowledge.  A system designed with stewardship.  Another arrow for your quiver. 
Why you must know what a fruit tree guild is?  Ecoliteracy.  Know this, get significantly more fruit for less money, less effort. 

From,  The Center for Ecoliteracy, below.     
"The first guiding principle of the Center for Ecoliteracy's framework for schooling for sustainability — Smart by Nature™ — is "nature is our teacher."
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The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. --W.B. Yeats

7 Lessons For Leaders

--by Michael K. Stone, Zenobia Barlow, syndicated from, Dec 12, 2013
The first guiding principle of the Center for Ecoliteracy's framework for schooling for sustainability — Smart by Nature™ — is "nature is our teacher."
Taking nature as our teacher requires thinking in terms of systems, one of nature's basic patterns. Systems can be incredibly complex, but the concept is quite straightforward. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, for example, defines a "system" as "any collection of things that have some influence on one another." Individual things — like plants, people, schools, communities, and watersheds — are all systems of interrelated elements. At the same time, they can't be fully understood apart from the larger systems in which they exist.
Living systems have their own dynamics. Observing systems reveals recurring properties and processes. They resist change, but they also develop, adapt, and evolve. Understanding how systems maintain themselves and how they change has very practical consequences that go to the heart of education for sustainable living. Much of the Center's work over the past two decades could be thought of as applied systems thinking. As an offering for leaders engaged in systems change, we report in this piece on seven important lessons we've learned.
While the work of the Center has been profoundly affected by the insights of our cofounder, systems theorist Fritjof Capra, as well as by other notable thinkers including Margaret Wheatley, Joanna Macy, and Donella Meadows, we will touch only briefly here on their important theoretical work. At the end of this report, we've listed a few sources for readers who want to pursue these ideas more deeply.
Seven Lessons for Leaders
For educators and change agents who are tackling the challenge of changing systems, some of them deeply entrenched, we are pleased to offer these lessons, based on our work with thousands of leaders.
Lesson #1:  To promote systems change, foster community and cultivate networks.
Most of the qualities of a living system, notes Fritjof Capra, are aspects of a single fundamental network pattern: nature sustains life by creating and nurturing communities. Lasting change frequently requires a critical mass or density of interrelationships within a community. For instance, we've seen from research and our experience that curricular innovation at a school usually becomes sustainable only when at least a third of the faculty are engaged and committed.
"If nothing exists in isolation," writes famed essayist Wendell Berry, "then all problems are circumstantial; no problem resides, or can be solved, in anybody's department." Even if problems defy solution by a single department, school districts are often structured so that responsibilities are assigned to isolated and unconnected divisions. Nutrition services may report to the business manager, while academic concerns lie within the domain of the director of curriculum. To achieve systems change, leaders must cross department boundaries and bring people addressing parts of the problem around the same table. For example, we're currently coordinating a feasibility study with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). It requires looking simultaneously at ten aspects of school food operations (from teaching and learning to finance and facilities) identified in our Rethinking School Lunch framework.
In the push to make decisions and produce results quickly, it's easy to bypass people — often the very people, such as food service staff and custodians, who will have the task of implementing changes and whose cooperation is key to success. It's necessary to keep asking: "Who's being left out?" and "Who should be in the room?"
Lesson #2:  Work at multiple levels of scale.
"Nested systems" is a core ecological principle. Like Russian "matryoshka" dolls that fit one into the other, most systems contain other systems and are contained within larger systems: cells within organs within individuals within communities; classes within schools within districts within counties, states, and the nation.
Changing a system affects both the systems within it and the systems in which it is nested. The challenge for change agents is choosing the right level, or levels, of scale for the changes they seek. The answer is often working at multiple levels: top down, bottom up, outside in, and inside out.
The Center for Ecoliteracy is applying this strategy in Oakland. We're supporting a pilot school, Cleveland Elementary, on garden and classroom projects that can be accomplished on a single campus. We're helping to facilitate the Oakland Food Web, which is a network of teachers, parents, and staff members from several Oakland schools, the district's food service, and the County Department of Public Health. The OUSD feasibility study, meanwhile, is taking on changes that depend on centralized administration, facilities, economies of scale, and coordination possible only at the district level.
Lesson #3:  Make space for self-organization.
Fritjof Capra writes, "Perhaps the central concept in the systems view of life" is that the pattern favored by life "is a network pattern capable of self-organization." He adds, "Life constantly reaches out into novelty, and this property of all living systems is the origin of development, learning, and evolution."
Networks that can effect systems change will sometimes self-organize if you set up the right conditions. Our seminars and institutes are designed for teams representing schools and districts rather than for individuals. Parents, teachers, administrators, and community volunteers — sometimes including people who had not met before the seminar  — have organized themselves into effective ongoing collaborations, such as the Oakland Food Web, which still continue.
Lesson #4:  Seize breakthrough opportunities when they arise.
Living systems generally remain in a stable state. That's a good thing; otherwise, we'd be living in chaos. But it's also why systems change can be so difficult. From time to time, however, a system encounters a point of instability where it is confronted by new circumstances or information that it can't absorb without giving up some of its old structures, behaviors, or beliefs. That instability can precipitate either a breakdown or — due to systems' capacities for self-organization — a breakthrough to new possibilities.
Remember the adage of former White House Chief of Staff (now Chicago Mayor) Rahm Emanuel: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Take the epidemic of obesity and nutrition-related disease. It's a serious crisis that could precipitate a public health breakdown. At the same time, authorities who once viewed school food reform as a frivolous issue being promoted by foodies have now become more willing to look at the role that school food plays in an array of related problems ranging from rising health care costs to disparities in academic achievement. And that willingness in turn has created opportunities to use food as an entree for introducing a variety of sustainability topics into the curriculum, as we addressed in our book Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment.
Lesson #5:  Facilitate — but give up the illusion that you can direct — change.
"We never succeed in directing or telling people how they must change," observes Margaret Wheatley. "We don't succeed by handing them a plan, or pestering them with our interpretations, or relentlessly pressing forward with our agenda, believing that volume and intensity will convince them to see it our way."
So what can you do? In the provocative maxim of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, "You can never direct a living system. You can only disturb it." How do you disturb a system? By introducing information that contradicts old assumptions. By demonstrating that things people believe they can't do are already being accomplished somewhere (one of the objectives of our book Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability). By inviting new people into the conversation. By rearranging structures so that people relate in ways they're not used to. By presenting issues from different perspectives.
Meanwhile, you can create conditions that take advantage of the system's capacity for generating creative solutions. Nurture networks of connection and communication, create climates of trust and mutual support, encourage questioning, and reward innovation. Effective leaders recognize emergent novelty, articulate it, and incorporate it into organizations' designs. Leaders sometimes lead best when they loosen control and take the risk of dispersing authority and responsibility.
Lesson #6:  Assume that change is going to take time.
"Quick fixes are an oxymoron," says Margaret Wheatley. "If leaders would learn anything from the past many years, it's that there are no quick fixes. For most organizations, meaningful change is at least a three- to five-year process — though this seems impossibly long. Yet multiyear change efforts are the hard reality we must face."
Anticipate that you'll need time for the education and training required for people to change attitudes, adopt new practices, or use new tools. Set high goals, but take manageable steps. Look for intermediate achievements that allow people to experience — and celebrate — success and to receive recognition on the way to the ultimate goal.
Taking time for stakeholders to understand each other's concerns and learn to trust each other's motivations and intentions can be time well spent. OUSD has one of the most comprehensive wellness policies we've seen. Writing that policy began with scores of community members meeting in a process marked by debate and often disagreement. When the policy was finally formulated, though, it received buy-in throughout the community.
Lesson #7:  Be prepared to be surprised.
Change in living systems is nonlinear. As they develop and evolve, living systems generate phenomena that are not predictable from the properties of their individual parts, much as the wetness of water cannot be forecast by adding together the properties of hydrogen and oxygen. Systems theorists call these "emergent properties."
In the late 1990s, we convened a disparate community of activists with a variety of complaints about school meals in Berkeley. A year later, the first district school food policy in the nation emerged. The coherence of the policy, which has had a worldwide impact, was an expression of the group rather than the vision of any single individual.
The art and science of systems change are continually evolving. We encourage people to experiment with these seven lessons — and to expect surprises. Frequently it's the unanticipated consequences that are the most rewarding and effective results of immersion in dynamic systems.
Some good resources:
Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems (New York: Anchor Books, 1996); The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living (New York: Anchor Books, 2002).
Joanna Macy, Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Ourselves, Our World (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1998).
Humberto M. Maturana and Francisco J. Varela, The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding (Boston: Shambhala, 1992).
Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems: A Primer (White River, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008).
Margaret Wheatley, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time (San Francisco: Barrett-Kohler Publishers, 2005, 2007); Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006).

The Center for Ecoliteracy where this article originally appeared supports and advances education for sustainable living. You can follow its work at; he has also written for the Toronto Star and The New York Times, among other publications.
Zenobia Barlow, executive director of the Center for Ecoliteracy (, coauthored Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and coedited Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World (Sierra Club Books, 2005) and Ecoliteracy: Mapping the Terrain (Learning in the Real World, 1999), in addition to her role leading the Center’s grant-making, educational, and publishing programs. "

Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beautiful: Form & Function in an Orchard

Aside from the obvious, below, young fruit trees, do you know what you are looking at ?
For decades, I didn't.  Knew I loved the style, and copied.
Not merely pretty meadow, below, under the fruit trees.
We've truly been too long from the land not to know.  No sense whining about how things should be, genie is out of that bottle.  (Some have already labeled our era, "Anthropocene, adjective relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.", Google.)
So, the pretty meadows, below, are form and function.  Targeted mix of plants, feeding the soil & attracting a wide array of pollinators during a specific window of time, increasing yield.  Money.
Done correctly yields can be increased 80%.  Serious money.  More than money in yields, less time in labor.  More money.
You're looking at a guild.  That tall gorgeous meadowy tapestry under the fruit trees is called a guild.
Back to the anthropocene.  I do believe it to be true, yet pulling to the macro view I know Wendell Berry is speaking of a greater truth, and Earth will take care of our anthropocene era, " Whether we & our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals & decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do."    

Looking back, and forward - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.
Guilds are a way of planting eternity in the moment.  Guilds are a small patch of wilderness, if you 'see'.  "Wilderness is beauty beyond thought.", John Muir.  "The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.", Carl Sagan.
Garden & Be Well,     XO T
A guild planting list, below, from here.
SOUTHWOODS FOREST GARDENS: Patio Polyculture Orchard Design:

Article, below, from here, describing parts of a guild.  An exception, for me, to this list, below, I would use no human scat.

7 Parts of an Apple Tree Guild

Guild, or companion, planting is one of the fundamental techniques of permaculture gardening. It taps into permaculture ideas such as self-sufficient systems, plants providing multiple functions, and maximizing the productivity of a plot. Guilds are typically set up around a central fruit tree. Each plant species in the ecosystem performs one or more functions that benefit others in the vicinity, as well as interacting with animal species and soil microorganisms to create an ecosystem. Below are examples of species that can be used to make an effective guild planting around an apple tree.
Apple Tree
At the centre of the guild stands an apple tree. In a permaculture design, it is preferable to get your fruit trees into then ground as soon as possible, as they can take several years to mature. For instance, if you plant a one-year-old specimen of a standard sized apple tree, you can expect to start harvesting in around five years. Dwarf varieties will take a little less time, producing their first harvest around year three. When planting an apple tree, make sure you add plenty of organic matter and, if possible, some animal manure. This will give the tree all the nutrients it needs to make a robust start in your plot. The addition of organic matter will help keep the soil well structured and so well drained, something apple trees prefer. Most apple trees do not self-pollinate, so for the trees to produce fruit, you need at least two specimens. They don’t necessarily have to be the same variety (you could get some interesting flavours by including different species on your site) but will require pollination between individuals to produce fruit. Golden Delicious and Granny Smith trees are renowned as good trees to pollinate with many other varieties, however, do a little research and find out which species of apple tree are native to your area. They will be best suited to the local conditions. The apple tree obviously provides the permaculture gardener with food, but also offers protection to the plants around it. They may need to be pruned to allow sunlight to reach the ground where the other plants in the guild are sited.
Plants that have bulbs are characterised by short stems and fleshy leaves, besides the underground bulb that acts as an energy store for when the plant is dormant. They are good additions to an apple tree guild as their shallow roots help to suppress grass growth. Grass would compete with the apple tree and the surrounding plants for nutrients, so keeping it at bay is essential for robust growth. The bulbed plants have the added bonus of going dormant in the summer, and so do not take valuable water away from the thirstier apple tree when rainfall is likely to be scarcer. A circle of bulbs should be planted underneath where the drip line of the apple tree will be when it is fully-grown. Alliums such as chives, leeks and garlic are good choices, but arguably the best plant for this role in the guild is the daffodil, because they have the additional benefit of deterring deer and rabbits as the animals find them poisonous.
Attracting a variety of insects to the guild is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it helps to pollinate the plants (and so, in the case of the apple tree, producing fruit), while secondly, it prevents any one species of insect becoming a problem, as different species predate on one another. Dill, fennel and coriander plants are known to be particularly effective at attracting insects in an apple tree guild. (The apple tree itself will also attract birds to the guild, which will also help keep insect populations in check, as well as filling your permaculture site with beautiful birdsong.)
Of course, besides attracting predators, the guild can also include plants that repel potentially damaging insects. In an apple tree guild, nasturtiums are the go-to species for this function. They seem to be particularly adept at keeping insects that may damage apples away. Indeed, many commercial apple orchards plant nasturtiums around the base of the trees to help protect their crops. Nasturtiums also provide colour to the guild, while their flowers are edible too.
Adding plants that naturally provide mulch to the guild will save the gardener time and energy. Utilizing species that you can slash the foliage of and leave on the ground to rot into the topsoil means the soil retains good structure, helping aeration and water percolation, and provides nutrients that all the plants in the guild can access. Comfrey, artichokes and rhubarb all work well in this regard in an apple tree guild.
The permaculture gardener can add species to the apple tree guild that will increase the nutrient content of the soil. Like the mulching plants, this lessens the need for manually adding nutrients (by composting, for instance) saving time and energy. Accumulators are plants that send roots deep down into the soil profile to bring up nutrients such as calcium, potassium and sulfur. These nutrients are used by the plant and by neighboring specimens as well. In an apple tree guild, planting yarrow, chicory or dandelion can perform this function.
Besides the nutrients secured by the accumulators, it is a good idea to add plants that will up the amount of nitrogen in the soil. After apple tree guildwater, nitrogen is the most important element to plants, as it is essential for key activities such as energy production and photosynthesis. Leguminous plants have special nodules on their roots that form a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria to help ‘fix’ nitrogen Clover, vetch, peas a, beans and alfalfa are all regarded as fine nitrogen-fixers.
Besides the plants in an apple tree guild, the permaculture gardener may also want to consider adding (or, at least, not removing) stones and logs in the vicinity. These can create habitat nooks that will attract animal species. A pond will do the same, attracting frogs, different bird species, and insects, which will add to the effect of keeping insect populations balanced and protect the fruits of your apple tree guild.
Robin saysOctober 25, 2014
Thanks this was very helpful. I would like to see more very practical well laid out guild ideas like this!
David Cameron saysNovember 2, 2014
Great suggestions, just need a bit more space to fit it all in
Karen Pusin saysNovember 3, 2014
I have an apple tree that survived a tornado…
Red Brady saysNovember 3, 2014
We’ve just planted the first two native apple trees in what will, we hope, be our forest garden (currently a large grassed paddock). Working out the rest of it is proving to be fun!
dhalsey saysDecember 8, 2014
Here is a polyculture page at the Natural Capital Plant Database:
Ground cover whatever the plant is important in all these guilds. Occupy the soil space and absorb the sun into organic matter. Dan
Keshet Miller saysDecember 8, 2014
Mmm some very useful knowledge here…. they didnt mention the importance of a gazebo though! Heheh 🙂
Jock McClure saysJanuary 17, 2015
My tree might certainly benefit from this info! I owe it some consideration.
Betsy Beard saysJanuary 17, 2015
What kind of guilds are they talking about here? Do they mean to say ‘guides?’
Bernice saysJanuary 17, 2015
Would like a natural way to spray or keep worms from cherrys and to keep robins out of my cherrytrees
Daniel Laporte saysJanuary 17, 2015
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haecklers saysApril 11, 2015
How do you prevent insect pests by picking up dropped fruit to break the lifecycle with all those plants under the trees? How to you get to the fruit to harvest it? Those two are what’s been keeping me from planting guilds under my trees!
Anonymous saysSeptember 20, 2015
Very helpful.I have learned much

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