Permaculture

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Permaculture, or permanent agriculture, involves consciously maintaining agriculturally productive ecosystems which integrate harmoniously with the people and the landscape. Permaculture is a way of providing food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

Contents

Why should I be aware of this?

  • Permaculture is a globally recognised environmental design methodology based on the philosophy of working with nature, shunning thoughtless action, and paves the way for long term sustainability.
  • It is a form of ecological engineering with a focus on sustainability. It can be applied to any climate except arctic regions. Permaculture has even helped transform small portions of dry arid desert in the Sahara into a food bearing oasis. It has the possibility of ending hunger in the most famished areas of the world.

All about Permaculture

Permaculture is based on creative uses of our water resources as it pertains to conservation, irrigation, distillation, restoration and more. More effective use of water ensures that it is available for drinking as well as for giving life to self-sustaining permaculture garden round the year.

Permaculture was developed by an Australian, Bill Mollison who described it as “conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.”

Permaculture ethics

  • Care of the earth – This involves caring for all living and non-living things: soil, plants, animals, atmosphere, water. No activity should do any harm, but rehabilitate the earth, promote active conservation and the frugal use of resources.
  • Care of people – meeting their basic needs such as food, shelter, education, and satisfying employment are taken care of.
  • Contribution of surplus time, money and energy to achieve earth and people care – this calls for helping other do the same after we have taken care of our basic needs and designed our systems to the best of our ability.

Harmonious integration

The concept of permaculture is harmonious integration of landscape and people to provide their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

Permaculture should not be confused with organic food production. It includes other factors such as energy use, technologies, natural resources, animal and plant systems and social and economic structures. It is all about getting back to basics, working with nature and looking after the earth for future generations. Any experienced farmer with an understanding of nature can thus be a practitioner of permaculture principles without even knowing it.

Combining the best

Permaculture gardens combine the best of wildlife gardening, edible landscaping, and native-plant cultivation into one low-maintenance, self-contained and productive ecosystem. Edible gardening, keyhole gardening, companion planting, vertical gardening techniques, sheet mulching, solar greenhouses, and composting are some of the gardening and recycling methods common to permaculture.

Variety of uses

There are a variety of uses for permaculture gardens:

  • They provide food and medicinal crops, wildlife habitats, crafting materials, an attractive appearance, and a private, relaxing atmosphere throughout every season.
  • They produce food by using a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.
  • You can grow plants that are used for medicinal purposes.
  • Permaculture gardens are attractive to an array of wildlife.
  • Many of the plant materials are also used for crafts.
  • Permaculture gardens are often used as quiet sanctuaries for meditating and/or exercise as well.

Modern permaculture

Modern permaculture is a system design tool. It is a way of:

  • looking at a whole system or problem;
  • observing how the parts relate;
  • planning to mend sick systems by applying ideas learnt from long-term sustainable working systems;
  • seeing connections between key parts.

Hear

Portugal-based permaculturist Andy Hill talking about his definition of permaculture and how he's putting the principles into practice in the face of climate change, peak oil and the current economic model.

References:

  • What is Permaculture?
  • Permaculture
  • Permaculture Gardens