Permaculture is a holistic approach to designing sustainable human habitats and food production systems. It is a way of living that aims to create a harmonious relationship between humans, the environment, and the food we grow.
Permaculture is based on the principles of ecology and natural systems, and it seeks to mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature to create sustainable, self-sufficient communities and farms.
The word “permaculture” was first coined by Australian ecologists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s, and it is a portmanteau of “permanent” and “agriculture”. Permaculture seeks to create permanent and regenerative agricultural systems that produce food while also restoring and preserving the natural environment.
Permaculture Design Principles
Permaculture design is guided by several key principles, including:
- Observe and interact: The first step in permaculture design is to observe and understand the patterns and relationships in the natural environment. This includes understanding the climate, topography, water flow, and other physical features of the site, as well as the local flora and fauna.
- Catch and store energy: In permaculture, the goal is to capture and store energy from the sun, wind, and other sources in a way that supports life and creates abundance. This might involve creating solar panels, wind turbines, or other energy-capture systems.
- Obtain a yield: Permaculture seeks to obtain a yield from its systems, whether that be food, fuel, or some other form of renewable resource. This yield should be sufficient to meet the needs of the community or farm while also allowing for surplus that can be used to support other systems or shared with others.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: Permaculture systems should be designed to regulate themselves, with minimal intervention from humans. This includes the use of natural systems, such as water catchments, to regulate water flow, or the use of companion planting to support the health of crops.
- Use and value renewable resources and services: Permaculture seeks to use and value renewable resources, such as solar and wind energy, and to reduce dependence on non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels.
- Produce no waste: Permaculture aims to create closed-loop systems that produce no waste. This means that all waste products are reused or recycled in some way, either to support other systems or to produce new resources.
- Design from patterns to details: Permaculture design starts with understanding the patterns and relationships in the natural environment, and then moves from the big-picture view to the specific details of how the system will function.
Permaculture can be applied to a variety of settings, including:
- Home gardens and farms: Permaculture can be used to design sustainable and productive food production systems, such as home gardens, community gardens, and small-scale farms.
- Landscaping: Permaculture can be used to design sustainable and aesthetically pleasing landscapes, such as parks, public spaces, and residential yards.
- Urban planning: Permaculture can be used to design sustainable urban environments that prioritize the health and well-being of both humans and the environment.
- Education and community-building: Permaculture can be used as a tool for education and community-building, teaching people about sustainable living and promoting collaboration and cooperation.
Permaculture offers a holistic approach to sustainable living, based on the principles of ecology and natural systems. It emphasizes the use of renewable resources and the creation of closed-loop systems that produce no waste. By designing from patterns to details, permaculture can create sustainable and self-sufficient communities, homes, and farms that provide food, energy, and other resources while also restoring and preserving the natural environment.
Whether you’re a farmer, a gardener, a landscaper, or just someone interested in sustainable living, permaculture offers a valuable framework for designing systems that are both productive and regenerative. By embracing permaculture principles, we can work towards creating a more sustainable future for ourselves and the planet.
Here are some useful resources for learning more about permaculture:
- Books: There are many books available on permaculture. A few good introductory options include:
- “Introduction to Permaculture” by Bill Mollison
- “The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country” by Peter Bane
- “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability” by David Holmgren.
- Online Courses: Online courses, such as those offered by New Climate Culture, Gaia University, and the Permaculture Research Institute, can provide a more in-depth look at permaculture and help you develop your skills as a permaculture designer.
- Workshops and Internships: Workshops and internships offered local organizations or by larger permaculture organizations, such as the Permaculture Association, can provide hands-on experience and practical training in permaculture design and implementation. Internships on farms that practice permaculture are also a great way to get hands-on experience.
- Permaculture Websites and Blogs: Websites and blogs such as PermacultureNews.org and PermaculturePrinciples.com provide a wealth of information and resources on permaculture, including articles, videos, and podcasts. There is also a plethora of information on YouTube.
- Permaculture Communities: Joining a local permaculture community or attending permaculture events, can provide opportunities to connect with other permaculture enthusiasts and learn from their experiences. Facebook and eventbrite can be great resources to locate these communities.
- Design Consultation: There are a variety of companies that offer services to aid in the design and construction of a permaculture project. These services may be helpful for larger projects or to guarantee rapid results. One popular company that offers services from design all the way to implementation, in any environment around the world is New Climate Culture. To learn more about their services visit NewClimateCulture.org. If interested, make sure to let them know TheCBGGurus sent you!
By taking advantage of these resources, while expanding your network, you can gain a deeper understanding of permaculture and how you can apply its principles in your own life.