What is Permaculture?

As some of you will know (since I’ve talked about it so much!) I participated in a Permaculture Design Course earlier this year and many of you have asked me “what is Permaculture?” So I thought I would do a short series to explain it. In this first post I will give you the summary given by the Permaculture Association UK. I will then try to explain a little more in subsequent posts and why I think it is so relevant to my faith.

Permaculture Explained from “Permaculture Works” by the Permaculture Association

Permaculture works with nature to make a better world for all. By observing the natural world we can see that there are a set of principles at work.

Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems to provide for our needs of food, water, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. Through permaculture design we can improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Permaculture has an ethical basis:

  • Earth care – enabling all life systems to continue and increase
  • People care – enabling access to the resources people need for a good quality of life
  • Fair share – limits to population and consumption – to share resources for Earth care and People care.

Twelve permaculture design principles allow us to creatively re-design our environment and behaviour in a world of less energy and resources. They are universal – how they are applied vary greatly from project to project:

image1. Observe and interact – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

image2. Catch and store energy – “Make hay while the sun shines

image3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach

image4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation

image5. Use and value renewable resources and services – “Let nature take its course

image6. Produce no waste – “A stitch in time saves nine“, “Waste not, want not

image7. Design from patterns to details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees

image8. Integrate rather than segregate – “Many hands make light work

image9. Use small and slow solutions – “The bigger they are, the harder they fall“, “Slow and steady wins the race

image10. Use and value diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

image11. Use edges and value the marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well beaten path

image12. Creatively use and respond to change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be

I hope to expand on these ethics and principles in further posts but if you can’t wait talk to me or visit:

The Permaculture Association

Permaculture Principles

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