“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.” – Bill Mollison (“father of permaculture” since 1978)
So what exactly is permaculture? And how does it relate to ecovillages? On a basic level, the word permaculture is a combination of the words permanent and agriculture. Permaculture is a way of the designing the environment while considering relationships within the food system and beyond. Permaculture focuses on making reliant consumers into responsible consumers.
A major part of permaculture is a focus on biomimicry and imitating processes in nature. Recycling of waste is particularly important, because so many people do not realize that when you throw something away, there really is no “away.” Everything on the Earth is connected, so waste has to go somewhere. Therefore, it is essential to focus on reducing waste and turning the waste that does occur into something useful. Consequently, the permaculture idea becomes a cycle of reusing and reducing. Through this notion, one is able to create a system where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Permaculture focuses on the relationships in nature and the idea that everything is connected. Some examples of permaculture practices include rotational grazing, harvesting rainfall, gardening, and strategic planning. Below are the permaculture principles that guide a successful permaculture establishment. The three major ethics are care for the Earth, fair share, and care for people. On the outside of these three principles, there are a variety of other important things to consider when thinking about permaculture.
The above principles are a guide to help people re-think society’s behavior and change the way we think to be more sustainable. If you would like to learn more, there are a variety of resources available. Here are some of my personal favorites, but there are many more available:
Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren. The whole book is available from Amazon or a free summary can be downloaded from this website: http://permacultureprinciples.com/resources/free-downloads/
Article in the Daily Meal: http://www.thedailymeal.com/what-permaculture-and-how-you-can-volunteer-help-sustainable-agriculture
The website Permaculture Principles: http://permacultureprinciples.com/
Epicure and Culture. “What Is Permaculture? (And How You Can Volunteer To Help Sustainable Agriculture).” The Daily Meal. Spanfeller Media Group, Inc., 17 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
Holmgren, David. Permaculture: Principles & Pathways beyond Sustainability. Hepburn, Vic.: Holmgren Design Services, 2002. Print.
Permafund. “Permaculture Design Principles.” Permaculture Principles. Permafund, 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.