"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system." — Bill Mollison
Originally, the word “Permaculture” was the combination of the two words “permanent” and “agriculture”. Two Australian men named Bill Mollison and David Holmgren coined the term in the 1970’s. It is an agricultural philosophy that allows us to use the resources that we have around us to their fullest potential. By observing and learning from our environment, such as how does nature replenish its soil, how does nature protect and conserve its water resources, how has nature adapted to the specific climate of an area, etc…we can learn how to imitate these natural processes in our daily living. The more closely that we can work with nature, the more likely we are to establish a balance which will provide us with the things that we need without hurting the environment.
One of the founding fathers of Permaculture, Bill Mollison, has defined Permaculture as “the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems, which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.”
Central to permaculture are the three ethics: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Here are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren:
- Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
- Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
- Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
- Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
- Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
- Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
- Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
- Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.
Free Online Permaculture School
Free Online Permaculture School — https://www.openpermaculture.com/
Shamanic Permaculture Course
Our friends at the Paititi Institute in Peru lead a Shamanic Permaculture Course which offers the opportunity of connecting to Nature on an external level, as well as connecting to the Nature within us, and recognizing the relationship and interdependence of both our inner and outer landscapes. Ultimately, it is a powerful introduction into the ways that humans can live in a harmonious relationship with Nature.
Turning Dreams Into Permaculture Realities — A story of a man's completion of a Permaculture Design Course and how it changed his life.
Shamanic Permaculture — Where the inner & outer landscapes meet.
5 Ways to Prepare Beds for Tree & Shrub Planting — Five methods for creating beds for trees and shrubs. From straw bales and mulching to green manures and inverted sod.
Growing Trees for Bees — Paul Alfrey from the Balkan Ecology Project shares a variety of trees that we can all plant for the bees. From fruit and nuts, to nitrogen-fixers and ornamentals.
The Off-Grid Medicinal Herb Farm — Elder Farm in Devon is an off-grid, permaculture, medicinal herb farm, and is part of the Ecological Land Co-operative's first site in the UK. Working with ELC makes smallholding and small-scale farming possible.
What Has Farming To Do With Metaphysics — Discover the connection between farming and metaphysics.
The Renewable Energy Revolution -- There is an energy revolution happening, but no, it is not being televised. Around the world people in many countries are working to deploy renewable energy technologies at a scale and pace that is transforming the way energy is used and generated. It is starting to disrupt the existing markets for energy.
Permaculture, Natural Building, Gardening, & Sustainability — The planet has been severely harmed due to our way of life, a way of life which is not in harmony with the laws of Nature. In this video playlist, lies many ways that we can strengthen our connection to the natural world, return to leading natural lifestyles, and thrive as stewards of the Earth, rather than behaving as a virus to the planet that we live on.