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Permaculture designer visiting local acreage Sunday

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by Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

Permaculturist Karl Schmidt will visit the Bad Warrior homesite near Dupree, Sunday, October 14, to explore current and future applications of permaculture on the high prairie.

Margaret and Dugan Bad Warrior and family will host their second open house, from noon to 3 p.m., as part of their participation with SDSU Extension’s Small Acreages program. The public is invited to see how they have begun implementing permaculture design on their acreage, next to the family’s allotment land.

Permaculture is a system of principles regarding land use that merges the terms ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture.’ It seeks to work with the local region in ways consistent with place and human and wildlife need. The concepts were mostly developed in Australia, but may be applied worldwide.

“We invited Karl after I attended his introduction to permaculture weekend.  I asked SDSU Extension staff about permaculture at the last workshop, and while they had heard the term, no one really knew what it was about,” said Margaret Bad Warrior. “So the purpose of inviting Karl was two fold: one, to give workshop attendees the opportunity to learn a little about it, and two, to have Karl view a West River, high prairie home site, to spark his ideas about how permaculture principles would work in our area.  Karl has never been to this part of the state, and we have a very different ecology than the eastern part of SD.”

Schmidt studies, teaches and implements cold-climate permaculture on his family’s five acres in Estelline, South Dakota, and has studied in Australia and Poland. He started Glacial Lakes Permaculture, though he has taught at the university level for 20 years, including South Dakota State University. Schmidt has a bachelor’s in geography, an MA in International Affairs and a doctorate in history. He recently diversified and began Prairie Coteau Folk School and other projects as part of Glacial Lakes Permaculture.

“Permaculture on many levels is about designing for food security and food self-reliance. It’s design for resiliency,” said Schmidt. “I’m keen to visit the area, as working in an area that is primarily grassland presents some interesting challenges from a design standpoint.”

Much of permaculture relies on using various levels of foliage: trees, lower fruit-bearing bushes and other perennials, rather than planting rows and rows of garden, though annuals have their place in the design, as well. Animals also have their part in permaculture, both domestic and wild.

“There’s not a lot of organizations or activities around permaculture in South Dakota, but hopefully our homesite will become a demonstration site as we start implementing these ideas,” said Bad Warrior. “To find out about permaculture, you could call or email Karl, or just come meet him this Sunday. We’ll have a meal, and door prizes, and giveaway farm-fresh eggs.  Call if you need a ride!”

With current issues of drought recovery upon many gardeners, farmers and ranchers, permaculture offers several insights.

“One of the common strategies in permaculture is to ‘drought proof’ your property. This can be accomplished in a number of ways including pond-building and rooftop water catchment. The idea is to have redundent systems,” said Schmidt. “Even if you live in what is primarily a grassland with low rainfall, there’s a place for woody perennials such as fruit trees. It takes some forethought and planning, but if people can grow tree fruit in a desert, you can certainly grow tree fruit in a dry grassland.”

For more information and directions , contact Margaret ‘Peg’ Bad Warrior at (605) 200-0670 or mbadwarrior@gmail.com.

 

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