About Three Sisters Permaculture:

Three Sisters Permaculture provides permaculture design consultation and educational programs for individuals, businesses, organizations, and communities.

With over thirty years experience in the field of ecological design, Three Sisters Permaculture is one of the oldest permaculture design consultancies in North America. Our broad experience in design, planning and building is deeply rooted in our commitment to creating beauty and abundance and regenerating our soils and landscape.  Our permaculture education programs include Permaculture Design Courses, Advanced Permaculture Trainings, and other workshops, presentations and programs.

The “Three Sisters”

No, I didn’t have three sisters, and neither did my mother.

According to Iroquois legend, the Great Spirit gifted Native Americans with the edible plants of corn, beans, and squash.  Referred to as the “three sisters,” the plants were traditionally grown together as mutually beneficial companions.  The tall corn stalk provides a trellis for the bean vine, the bean replaces nitrogen to the soil, and the squash’s large leaves provide a living mulch, shading the ground and conserving moisture.  Grown in this way, the three sisters are an excellent example of a sustainable agriculture system.

Corn, beans and squash can also be the basis of a healthy bioregional diet. The Iroquois knew them as “sustainers of life.” The amino acids of corn and beans provide a balanced protein when combined, and both are good sources of vitamins and minerals.  Squash is high in vitamin A and potassium and provides a complex carbohydrate low in calories. Squash seeds are also high in protein and minerals.  Together, the three sisters formed the basis of a nutritious, low calorie, high fiber diet for the original Americans.

Why Three Sisters Permaculture?

We chose the name “Three Sisters” for our farm and our permaculture enterprise both to honor the Native American people and because the three sisters guild is an excellent example of the ecological systems that we seek to emulate in our work.

2.1.Corn Beans Squash

Image credit: Chris McHenry Glenn
A depiction of the “Three Sisters”: corn, beans, and squash