Permaculture at Diamond Mountain

What is Permaculture?

At Diamond Mountain we studying karma, emptiness and bodhicitta and practice these principles in our daily lives.  In doing so, you begin to glimpse the tremendous impact each one of us in shaping our immediate (and extended) environment.  And as Uncle Ben in Spider-Man (and Voltaire) says, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  With this responsibility in mind, we have no choice but to be a positive influence on the people and environment surrounding us.  We must take responsibility for the earth and leave behind a positive footprint. Everything we need to survive at some point is a gift from mother earth. We take, take, take, but how much do we give back? Do we even know how to give back?

Diamond Mountain has embraced the principles of Permaculture – take care of earth, take care of the people, and share the surplus-  since our beginnings in 2003. These principles naturally follow from an understanding of karma and emptiness.

Permaculture design and practice takes on many forms.  At Diamond Mountain we’ve prioritized eco-smart architecture.  For example:

  • Our Main Temple (also our group space) is made of adobe and the interior is finished with American Clay plaster.  Adobe keeps the interior of our Temple cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  The American Clay finish is pleasing to the eyes and heart and infuses the air with negative ions which help to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.*
  • Our 27 retreat cottages were built with permaculture principles in mind.  Cottage 21
    • Most are built with natural materials such as straw bale, earth-bag, adobe andrecycled jeans insulation.
    • Most of our retreat cottages are equipped with:
      • passive solar design for cooler interior during summer and warmer interior during winter
      • solar electricity
      • solar hot water heaters
      • composting toilets
      • grey-water irrigation

* http://www.saguarointeriorfinishes.com/images/LEED.pdf

Recent Projects

Cottage 21 was landscaped in March 2017 under the guidance of permaculture designer Richard Powell using permaculture design principles such as:

c21-landscape-design

  • Using grey-water and rain-water to irrigate the trees and plants in our landscape design
  • Planting native trees and plants which, once established will require no irrigation, getting all the water and nutrients they need due to smart design.
  • Developing mini eco-systems within our landscape design to strengthen individual plants and create a more “nature-like’ design system.
  • This self-sustaining design is also incredibly beautiful and we’ve placed a bench under a mother juniper tree so that the landscape can be comfortably enjoyed by our guests.

The Aronov Family Memorial Garden behind the Temple in our Lower Campus was also planted in March 2017 using permaculture design principles such as:

  • A pergola for shade, to provide place of refuge from the strong desert sun.
  • Planting canopy trees which, once mature, will provide rare shade and block strong winds that are common in our desert scrubland ecosystem.
  • Planting native trees and plants which, once established will require no irrigation, getting all the water and nutrients they need due to smart design.
  • Developing mini eco-systems within our landscape design to strengthen individual plants and create a more “nature-like’ design system.
  • Include benches for guests to contemplate, enjoy the beauty of the garden and build connections with fellow guests.

Long-term Goals 

  • wetwashNurture our landscape and leave behind a positive footprint.  Practice what we teach and thereby align the land with the beauty of the Buddhist teachings.
  • Establish a canopy layer (shade trees) which serves to protect soil, increase water table and serve as a wind-break which will completely transform the land as we know it to be softer and more hospitable, in essence healthier for the ecosystem and for it’s inhabitants.
  • Restore and extend the flow of our historic Bear Spring. With strategic planting in key areas uphill from the spring.
  • Beautification landscape around all group meeting spaces and retreat cottages.  
  • Take personal responsibility for our 1,000 acres by becoming a leader in permaculture design and principles to show the world what is possible.
  • Education. Teach by example, offer general workshops, certifications programs and internship opportunities.

 

Upcoming permaculture projects

Fall 2018: Rehabilitate construction areas alongside our new roads and plant planned gardens in strategic areas throughout our Retreat Valley.  If you are interested in joining us or for more information, email: