A big part of permaculture is about reducing waste, closed systems, regenerative practices, and caretaking for the future. A big part of our work is about reducing our footprint and reducing our dependence on the grid, and reducing our waste.
Sustainability in the retail space and sourcing is nice and necessary in the big picture, but true regenerative processes and sustainability happens in our own spaces, homes, and communities by growing our own, ethical foraging, responsible use, and using what is local to us as much as possible, reducing the shipment of herbs and supplies around the globe. It also is impacted by our personal choices in supplies, materials, renewable resources, energy, water, and elements we can control in every day of our life.
A few ways we are working on this includes the normal things you would think of - reduce/reuse/recycle - and expands into smart technologies to better manage energy use, water use, and other consumption. Optimizing high speed internet for work and school from home and smart technology use even out in the gardens. We utilize solar power, we have a well, we are a low waste home, and we create systems of regenerative processes to optimize the use of waste to benefit our processes and land. This list is for inspiration, not as judgement on anyone else!
Reusable cloth napkins, cloth 'paper' towels
Reusable food containers, not disposable
Reusable storage baggies
Recycle yard waste into compost and scraps to chickens
Cloth and beeswax options for storage and management
One car family
Work from home
Optimize vehicle usage to reduce consumption
Grow as much food as we can, to reduce carbon footprint
Thermostat: smart thermostat programmed with room temperature and presence detection
Smart mgmt for lighting groups in rooms
Auto on/off lights in key rooms
LED outlets with low voltage lighting
Timer and humidity exhaust systems
Smart ceiling fan
LED bulbs in all areas
Motion sensor lights for hallways, closets, and common walkways with automatic turnoff
Smart outdoor lights
Whole home smart device orchestration
Solar Power System (see map to right)
Chicken coop light and door automation
Solar outdoor lighting
Light sensing landscape lighting
Solar landscape lighting and path lights
Solar greenhouse lighting
Smart controls for seed starting systems (water, warming, lighting)
Garden washing station w/greywater reuse
Low flow toilets
Low flow showerheads
Smart water management and irrigation system (EVE)
Automated timing and irrigation management via low flow tape
3D Printer for making our own garden/home components (no packaging/waste)
Weather station Davis Vantage Vue- see LunarHollow (KWIDEERF8)
Cold room for canning, fermenting, food preservation
Bulk food and supply storage for emergencies and natural disasters
Seed bank/library storage
Seed saving and storage for our own regenerative crops and for community sharing
Starlink: internet plus high speed DSL
Outside internet wireless system for 2 acres
Entire home automation system is ‘off grid’
Front & Garage Door, Basement Door: smart locks, auto lock
Home cameras front and garage doors
Garage open/close with smart system
Human sensing AI person detection cameras for privacy/safety
Use what we have
Hand make, grow our own, DIY
Any meat is purchased from local farmers
We grow fruit, vegetables, dye plants, herbs, and grains
Wild forage food and medicine from our own land and nearby areas
We hand sew, stitch, embroider
We pickle, can, ferment, freeze, dehydrate
We make our own spice and herb blends, tea blends, herbal products
We make our own hand soaps and use low waste products with biodegradable refills
We have mast cell issues and allergies to petrochemical and artificial fragrances in this house, so we use all natural products.
All natural cleaning supplies
Organic fertilizer and homemade compost system
Real hardwood floors and cabinetry
Eco-friendly unscented laundry and bath/body
Reduction of petrochemicals and formaldehyde due to allergies
Organic and low waste home
Package free or bulk refill items to reduce waste and plastic
While many herbs we use are annuals, we work to increase the native and perennial food and medicine plants to reduce the amount of outside components needed to produce those crops in our systems. By planting perennial plants that grow in our climate, we only plant once, and the soil and regenerative systems play more of a role in the ongoing maintenance, allowing reduced inputs and energy, with consistent and continuous outputs.
We work to instill our values into our work, life, family, home, and everything we do. We are an unschooling family that believes children learn all the time, and learn best when they are engaged, interested, and experiencing life and not just observing. Our children are not teenagers and young adults, working to create their own livelihoods and businesses, driven by our family values and interests!
Solar system design: We have a south facing large array, and also an east facing smaller array to catch the morning light. We use a smart app to track all solar charging, battery status, and usage.
There is a lot of discussion about the sustainability of botanicals, and deservedly. The mass production of herbs for the supplement and beauty industry requires significant amounts of plant materials (with significant waste), as do mass produced essential oils. There are ethical and sustainability questions with the harvesting of at risk or endangered plants, and plants that might take a generation to grow both in aromatherapy and in herbalism. Poaching is a big concern for many wild plants as well. Many people see black and white, and I do not.
Here at Wholly Rooted I try to grow almost all of the herbs we use in a year. The things I cannot grow or gather here include salt, oils and butters, carriers for products, and certain plants like turmeric, black pepper, coffee, or ginger. I can, however, grow and dry a huge percentage of my own herbs, distill my own hydrosols, grow culinary herbs, and carefully choose what items I must purchase (such as carriers, butters, essential oils, containers, labels) to complete what we need. We rotate crops since we can store properly dried and cold storage held herbs for up to 2 or so years. Therefore, we always have about a year of herbs on hand for our family. We also grow herbs for seasoning our foods, and dry our own onions, garlic, and herbs to make seasoning blends.
A few of our initiatives here:
Food & Medicine
Grow all of our own herbs for family use
Chickens provide eggs
Extensive gardens growing perennial and annual food
Can, dry, freeze, and preserve food and herbs for year round use
Mushroom logs growing in woods
Growing reishi in the home
Orchard and fruit guilds
Sprouting at home
Hydroponics system for indoor growing in winter
Small kitchen hydroponics for fresh herbs in winter
Seed saving to grow our own every year
Preserve enough herbs to last us at least 1 year, every year
Preserve enough herbs to share out to free clinics every year
Still to distill our own hydrosols
Greenhouse for early spring starts
Permaculture includes our communities as a part of our systems, and social systems design and mutual aid is a part of our reciprocal right relationship model. BY creating systems that include donating, sharing, giving away, and supporting others, we are contributing to mutual aid systems that are more sustainable, equitable, and egalitarian than systems integrated into a for-profit corporate system. This doesn't mean we don' partake in capitalism, as everyone must, but that we work to share what we have in excess and to contribute to reciprocity based mutual aid systems that allow for the continuation of support to marginalized and at need communities without relying on money. With that, we grow seeds, herbs, food, and more that we can share back into mutual aid systems. We contribute our time and energy to help provide education on these systems, and we work to align and support like minded people and organizations making change.
HWB donates dried herbs to Herbalists Without Borders free US clinics.
Work With Denise
Who We Are