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Multiple Use Facilities
One of the Permaculture Design Principles is that each element of a system serve multiple purposes. In the disipline of Multiple Use Faciliities, we shift from the industrial age effort to maximize efficiencies for the production of a single product to an effort to balance the needs of multiple uses. The first approach has brought us the amazing economies of scale now dominating the planetary economy. However, those efficiencies are unable to fulfill all the needs of all the people . . . and for those unfulfilled needs we can use a different approach. The approach of balancing the needs of multiple uses leads us to "economies of integration" in which a single investment realizes multiple products. See: The Difference Between an Orchard and a Food Forest.
Every parcel of land, even if it is relatively undisturbed by human activity, has unrealized biological potential. In this regard we can begin thinking of humans as a keystone species. Every group of humans, even those fully engaged in social and economic activity, has unrealized human potential. Every building, tool and artifact, can serve more than one purpose.
We start with the land of our team members. The first step is to increase the number of species using the land. The quickest way to do that is to build a sheet mulch and begin feeding a complete soil ecosystem. Planting the sheet mulch adds additional species. The second step is to intentionally integrate additional species. So far we have worked with bees and chickens but the principle is the same . . . we are not seeking to maximise honey, or meat, or egg production. We are seeking to integrate bees and chickens into the system operating at each parcel. That includes the ecosystem, the social system and the economic system. We want the system to provide food and shelter for the bees and chickens and we wants the bees and chickens to provide goods and services back to the system. It is a matter of balance.