Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Introduction to Permaculture

the word Permaculture was first coined by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison of Australia. it originally referred to "permanent agriculture", but was later expanded to include "permanent culture", as it was seen that social aspects were equally integral to a truly sustainable system.

Inspired by Fukuoka natural farming philosophy, Mollison has described permaculture as "a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than premature and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single project system." . Permaculture follows a guideline set of principles, that in gardening by, and living by, creates a more sustainable way of life.

What sets permaculture apart from other developmental approaches is that it is not just a model, it is a comprehensive design process. Each environment, whether in a home, school, office, workplace, farm, or village, has a unique set of elements and design considerations. But while each environment is viewed as unique, in permaculture design and practice, economic benefit does not contradict, or even benefit to, these three core values or ethics.

  • Care of the Earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply.
  • Care of People: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
  • Distribution of the bounty: By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.

Permaculture focuses on patterns of landscape, function, and 'species assemblies', also referred to as guilds. by creating guilds of species that work together, one can maximize the 'synergies' in the environment, and thus maximize productivity. it's all about observation, to see how different elements relate to one another, and putting said elements in it's most useful place. there is no waste in Permaculture!


Holmgren's 12 Design Principles:

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature's abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: 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.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: 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.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

 as previously stated, these design principles applied to any environment or setting can create a more sustainable one. even the principles themselves are cyclical, once an inevitable change arises, we can start over again from one... observe and interact.

Welcome to Southern Ontario Urban Permaculture.. we have created this page spread the word about more sustainable methods of growing food, and living life.. and show that permaculture style gardening is viable for our climate/hardiness zone. we will post about the garden patch, sustainable resources and practices, and share links for useful information. thanks for checking us out!

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