I’m sure many of you have wondered, “What is this Permaculture I’ve been hearing about, anyways?” It’s a good question and today I’m going to hand this topic over to Joel (my other half) who has his Permaculture Design Certificate and also studies the topic pretty much every moment that he can. This will be the first of many in a series about Permaculture that Joel will write for this blog. We’ll start at the beginning, however, with Permaculture 101: The Basics. Take it away, Joel!
What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is a holistic design system for creating sustainable human settlement and food production systems. It is a movement concerned with sustainable, environmentally sound land use and the building of stable communities through the harmonious interrelationship of humans, plants, animals and the Earth.
“Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life” – Albert Schweitzer
- Earth Care ~ We must provide for all life systems on Earth to continue and multiply. We depend on good health in all systems to function for our survival. Our fates are intertwined with all Earth systems.
- People Care ~ All people must have access to those resources necessary for their existence. Cooperation between people makes healthy communities. Helping family and friends aid our own survival as well as the entire family of life.
- Fair Share ~ Continuous growth in a finite system must provide for a return of surplus to the Earth and people to be sustainable. If each person takes only their fair share, then there will be enough for everyone, and there will continue to be in the future.
To provide you with a good example of what I’m talking about, let’s look at the difference between the conventional way of producing an egg versus the Permaculture Ethics way of producing that same egg, using diagrams from Bill Mollisons’ book, “Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual”
The Permaculture method of producing an egg shows care of the Earth by not using unsustainable, extractive, polluting methods. The only commercially fabricated products can be recycled, repurposed and reused almost indefinitely (chicken wire, drum, roofing, guttering). All other inputs are sustainable and help provide a better, more rich Earth environment.
People care is exemplified by producing an egg that contains no unnatural ingredients, such as hormones and antibiotics. The industrial method produces an egg that contains these products that are detrimental to a persons health. By moving to a Permaculture method of producing eggs, more people will be able to share in the bounty by not having to rely on an expensive, energy intensive industrial method of producing an egg.
This is only one example of putting the Permaculture Ethics into action, and I will talk about different systems and designs in more detail as we go along. For now, think about how you can start to move your lifestyle more towards Permaculture Ethics. With everything that you do think of Earth care, people care and fair share and I’m certain that you will start feeling more connected not only to your food, but to all of the systems that life depends on.
Thanks Joel! This is just to get you started in thinking the Permaculture way, there will definitely be more to come! I can’t wait until we can get our very own Permaculture landscape up and running, and you better believe that I’ll be taking you along for the ride! For those of you who want further reading, check out the book Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway and, of course, the bible where the wonderful egg production diagrams came from:
Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison, the father of Permaculture.
Now I’m excited for Part 2!