Black Isle Permaculture & Arts (ScotLAND Centre)

LAND Region: 
ScotlandCentral and Eastern Highlands, Moray
LAND Project Type: 
LAND Centre
Areas of Activity: 
Culture & Education
Culture & EducationPassing on knowledge
Land & Nature Stewardship
Permaculture ethics, principles, design

We are Black Isle Permaculture & Arts (BIPA), an ecological household, garden and woodland on the Black Isle, 13km north of Inverness. We offer eco tourist accomodation, workshops and volunteering opportunities. The household and gardens are being transformed using Permaculture design and techniques to create a balanced ecosystem for people, plants and animals while also adapting to the unfolding climate and ecological crisis.

In 2.5 acre’s of garden and woodland, we aim to live a creative, sustainable and resilient lifestyle by the three principles of People Care, Earth Care and Future Care: a place where people can visit, stay, learn and share. We’ve been a Permaculture Learning And Network Demonstration (LAND) Centre since 2018 and are using our gardens to show the possibilities of Permaculture on a domestic scale.

The household and gardens at The Warren are being transformed using Permaculture design and techniques to create a balanced ecosystem for people, plants and animals while also adapting to the unfolding climate and ecological crisis. We have worked to create a place where we can live in a harmonious ecological balance which provides us with many of our needs: food, a comfortable place to live and stay, a livelihood, but also biodiversity and habitats for wildlife, and a place to share what we are learning. We have a mosaic of meadows, forest gardens, mixed woodland, wildlife pond and bog garden, a kitchen garden growing vegetables, salads, herbs, fruit, polycultures of wild flowers for insects and pollinators, and some free range hens. We use organic and no dig methods to create healthy soil, working with closed loop systems so nothing is wasted, either through composting, wormeries, mulching, reusing/upcycling materials, and wood processing for fuel.

On-site, we have built a compost toilet and a Yurt for use during events and workshops, and two eco cabins for guests wanting a simple, off grid, low impact holiday. We have used natural and organic materials to eco renovate the bungalow and installed renewable energies such as solar PV, solar hot water and biomass heating, as well as energy efficiency measures to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint. We have an arts and crafts studio where we work to create artwork and handmade products.

Number of people text: 
Clive and Julie live and work at BIPA
Contact Name: 
Clive
Number of people involved: 
2
Telephone number: 
01463 871 171
Many of the techniques and ways of working we use here are a shift in attitude from conventional agriculture or gardening, for example, active observation of ecosystems and foodwebs and making minimal intervention, slow solutions such as scything meadows seasonally rather than regular mowing, harnessing the benificial properties of ‘weeds’ and at the same time reducing time spent weeding, shifting from maintenance to harvesting (grass is a harvest which is used to make compost), no dig gardening and soil/fertility building through mulching, planting of nitrogen fixers and dynamic accumulators, and so on. It is more than just gardening as it takes in all aspects of our lifestyles such as housing, community, social equality, transport and food production. For us, as a LAND project, growing food, fuel, soil and sustainable production of resources, increasing biodiversity and habitat, circular cycling of materials, zero waste and energy efficiency are some of the key areas of focus, but we are also involved with community projects such as Transition Black Isle Seed Swap, Grow North and the MOO FOOD community orchard. We decided to become a ScotLAND Permaculture demonstration site so we can show people practical examples of how it can be applied and learn along with us. We are using Permaculture Ethics and Principles to guide how we live. The three Ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share are in the centre, and the 12 principles surround them Earth care - we use organic and no dig techniques, composting and mulching for soil health, diverse types of trees, shrubs, plants, fruit, and vegetables, land stewardship and habitat creation through ecological methods, sensitive observation and minimal changes, water saving and harvesting, and regenerative growing practices. People care – we are creating a healthy environment, a relaxing, calm place to live, work and stay, inviting visitors to learn, providing opportunities for volunteers, demonstrating the potential of Permaculture to the wider community and improving food and environment in area, for example Transition Black Isle seed swap (http://www.transitionblackisle.org/) and MOO Food community food project (http://moofood.org/). Future care – using local, ethical and ecological services and goods, land stewardship and a healthy legacy for the future, living within sustainable limits and minimising our consumption (e.g. growing food, reducing travel and commuting, making crafts, furniture, art, and produce) offering affordable workshops, open to share knowledge and experience, putting our time, energy and resources into positive local projects.
Project start date: 
August, 2015

Please contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to visit or for information about a slow and sustainable Permaculture inspired holiday! Look out for details of events on our Facebook page @BIPASCOTLAND.

Muir of Ord, Highlands IV6 7RX
United Kingdom
Highlands GB