Tiny Homes On Wheels: Permaculture

What do you envision when you think of tiny homes on wheels and homesteading?  For me, images from “Little House On The Praire” have come to my mind, both from the opening credits of the television series and the illustrations on the novels written by the real Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Why is that I have wondered?  Is it because the Ingalls did not live in a very big house and were farmers?  The images at first don’t make much sense considering their home was not on wheels.

A horse and a canvas wagon

Thus I begin to analysis my unconscious mind with my conscious one in order to find out what is behind this chosen imagery.

The Ingalls family could still move away very easily on short notice since they had a reasonable size wagon they could cover it up with a canvas to use as shelter and bring their essentials with them.  Sometimes they sold their homestead with the furniture their father had made inside, sometimes they left without selling anything at all.  It did not matter much as the father could easily rebuild a new home and furniture elsewhere.  Their lives were simple that way.

I should not think their lives were always easy though.  They had to deal with crop failures and harsh cold winters.  The eldest daughter became blind around the age of fourteen due to scarlet fever.  Money had to be raised to send her to school for the blind.  This is the reason Laura became a school teacher at the age of fifteen.  It was to pay for her sister’s tuition directly.

a horse and wagon canvas no two

There were no loans involved.  It was not always easy to do so but they did live within their means.

Despite all their troubles, they felt all would turn out to be okay in the end, especially when they heard their father play the violin during the harsh winter months.  What does this nostalgic trip in past pioneer life have to do with permaculture?  Or what is permaculture anyway? You will ask this question if you have never heard the term before.

Well, the Ingalls did lead a simplistic lifestyle, their possessions were not high and their homes were never really big.  They were as self-sufficient as they could be.  It is not likely their farming methods were as environmentally damaging as some commercial agriculture methods are today.  It was not a conscious choice on their part, it just was the way things were back then. 

You can have some appreciation for their lifestyle when you see how inefficient the world can be today with our resources.

Tiny houses are about downsizing your material possessions and being-sufficient and living as debt free as possible.  It also agrees to lower its imprint on the environment.  Using solar panels for energy is one of the ways in which it lowers its impact.  It is believed that when you are self-sufficient, you can be more creative and enjoy life more. 

Permaculture, though a farming technique believes in these ideas also.

Permaculture, Let’s Define It.

The term permaculture was defined in 1978 by two Australians, Bill Mollison, and David Holmgren.  Mollison is a wildlife biologist and a university teacher.  Holmgren was a graduate student of Mollison.  The term permaculture uses the words permanent and culture or permanent and agriculture, and that is the first clue to what it is about.

Much has been written on the subject of permaculture and not all of it could be covered in one small article.  I will just focus on what is similar between it and tiny homes on wheels or what is of main concern to both tiny houses and permaculture.

Permaculture is about taking care of the Earth and not polluting it while crops are growing.  It is gardening by observing what nature would do on her own with plant life, then imitating her.  It is about respecting and including plant diversity in gardening.  It is about people taking care of one another and sharing the crop surplus.  The creation of highly functional communities.  The elimination of waste by recycling and the uses of natural energies like the wind and sun.

How Tiny Homes Contribute To Permaculture.

Most tiny home on wheel dwellers are careful about being eco-friendly when setting up their tiny house.  When they settle their tiny house in the country they often do seek to put it in a position that would be most beneficial to a future garden.  Once the house is in place they sow the plants that need the most attention nearby and the ones that need less further out.

This way of gardening is an actual permaculture method.

Tiny homes on wheels attempt to stay away from fossil energy as much as possible, if not all together, and to save on water usage.  Owners will use solar power, solar water heating, rainwater harvesting and greywater treatment systems.  An example of tiny house owners doing these actions can be seen in this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbUkLeBUmxI&t=23s . 

The owners have deliberately set up a permaculture homestead without using fossil fuel energy and their tiny home fits in there really well.

Where does the permaculture begin and end and where does the tiny home on wheels homestead area begin and end?  It is hard to say because they both complement each other.  The tiny house was made from recycled material and permaculture also uses recycled material in its goal.  For example, Old big plastic containers can be cleaned and reused to put plants in for container gardens.

Recycling is important to both tiny homes on wheels and permaculture.

The tiny house in the video contributes to creating a small functional community.  There are two other tiny houses on the land.  All the inhabitants work together to take care of the food plants, which means less work for all of them and more free time for them to do other things.  It is not an unusual situation for tiny homes on wheels to come together to form a community.  If they were a few more in the video they would be a tiny house village. 

Permaculture also seeks to create functional communities.

Tiny houses are about being self-sufficient.  When you are growing food at home you are growing food locally.  No gas has to be burned to transport goods.  The importance of growing locally is mentioned in this youtube video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev_pbgENnfA  .  The man would like more tiny homes on his property so he would have more people to share in the labor and grow locally. 

Permaculture also believes in growing food locally.

Tiny can’t hold to have to many people inside the interior at one time.  There just isn’t enough room.  A lot of socializing has to be done outside.

Permaculture encourages people to spend more time outside taking care of their gardens.

There Is A Whole Philosophical Way Of Living With Tiny Houses And Permaculture.

In an earlier blog at https://tinyhomesonwheelsfornorthamericans.com/tiny-home-on-wheels-philosophy/ I explained the philosophy of tiny homes on wheels living.  Permaculture also has a philosophy behind all of its actions.

One of these aspects is to be connected to nature somehow.  You may not be able to grow a big garden on a piece of land but that is alright.  You can start on a balcony or a window sill.  Any small action where seeds are grown is good, such as sprouting which I explained on this blog at   https://tinyhomesonwheelsfornorthamericans.com/tiny-homes-on-wheelssprout-gardening/  .  Unlike the old days there are more devices and information available to help you do so.

The small actions permit you to grow some food in a tiny house.

Permaculture aims for people to enjoy the fruits of their labor in the present and not at some future point when all debts are paid.  You don’t have to have an extraordinary budget to be happy.  As long as you as able to grow your own food a good portion of your needs are covered. 

The tiny house movement wants your basic housing needs to be met but when combined with permaculture’s aim for people to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis at least two-thirds of human needs are met.  There is only the clothing need left to be met.  If you are careful with that and use them properly and efficiently you should not be wanting in that department either.

You are living life as as a minimalist, someone who lives a great life on small amounts of items.  Both permaculture and the tiny house movement encourage this way of being.

You must not think that you have to live entirely off the grid without any electricity or electric appliances.  Some people do go that far but it is not necessary.  You don’t have to take the “Little House On The Praire” image that far.

Permaculture and tiny house living just encourage you to generate your own energy as much as possible not to live without it.

You may find some of these ideas from both permaculture and tiny house living extreme at times; however, they are flexible in the sense you can decide how far you wish to go in gardening and tiny house living.  Let us face it, going back to the days when we used candles for lighting and horses and carriages for traveling may be romantic or nostalgic but it is not the least bit practical.  

Permaculture Offers A Better Farming Plan Than The Old Days.

You can’t go back to the days of the pioneers for a simplistic life, but you can get a tiny home on wheels and settle in the country with a permaculture plan.  This a better idea for agricultural methods have evolved since the days people traveled in a wagon covered with a canvas.  Much research has been done since then.  You can still get help from some energy sources you would not be able too two hundred years ago.

Tiny homes on wheels are more flexible than regular size houses.  They can be modified to follow a permaculture plan.  You can move them around until you are satisfied they are in a good location for your garden. That is why tiny houses and permaculture go hand in hand.

You can have two to three tiny homes on wheels on one property to form a community.  These people can free themselves up to do less work individually.  They can help people who don’t have land to work on.  They can also allow them to grow their food. 

Pictures were taken from Yahoo images.  The youtube videos in this blog were not created by me.

If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment please do so below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Marina Tidbury

Marina one


Please follow and like us:

4 thoughts on “Tiny Homes On Wheels: Permaculture”

  1. Never heard of permaculture until now. And I love the philosophy around it. I’m not a fan of big houses so I really love the idea of living in a small house, surrounded by agriculture and ecological features. I love adventure so it’s going to be a great experience for me. Thanks for the enlightenment. 

  2. Hi Marina,

    This is a great article with lots of information about Tiny Homes and Permaculture. I would not even know so much information if I did not read your article. One of my friends is very interested in working with permaculture. I am going to share it with him. I believe he will love this article. I am sure he will also buy your referred book from Amazon. Thanks for sharing this helpful information.

  3. Great post and good info.

    Honestly, I never knew that this still exists, when I play a game, like a medieval one, you will find it, but still like this? It is a surprise. 

    However, I think this can be a very nice and healthy life actually, as you said, it is eco-friendly, you don’t pollute anything, and you can have luxury. 

    Do you think this could be the new future for all of us? 

    Thanks for sharing it with us, it can work inspiring! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *