Hopefully by now we will be enjoying a bit of a break from the garden and are just waiting for some decent rain before starting to plant out trees. I had said before that I would write a bit about permaculture when things quieten down (in the garden anyway) so here it is.
I know some of you have participated in a few of Jo Duffs courses/ workshops over the years and quite a few of you are members of the permaculture group as well, so this won’t be a totally new topic to you.
‘Permaculture’ from the words ‘permanent’ and ‘culture’ was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s. From their observations of natural systems they came up with a group of ethics and principals for designing communities and landscapes that would allow us to live in a truly sustainable way.
If you are lucky enough to have spent time in a relatively untouched piece of nz bush, then you would have seen examples of the type of sustainable system on which permaculture is based.
Imagine that forest without any human intervention, no predators, no pests, and no humans. The bush would contain within it, along with sunlight everything that all the species within it need. In this natural system, nutrients are used, and recycled producing no waste. This is the basis of permaculture.
A Permaculture system is one which is designed by humans, to mimic natural design while at the same time providing for our need for food, shelter, community etc. in a sustainable way. Sounds wonderful and in our modern world when we see everyday examples of how unsustainable our current systems are, climate change ,pollution, dirty rivers, huge equity gaps, wars, loss of biodiversity…sometimes it can seem overwhelming. Permaculture is one of the tools we can start using to try and redress this imbalance. There are examples around the world of permaculture making a huge difference to some communities.
The first part of Permaculture are the three ethics: EARTH CARE, PEOPLE CARE, and FAIR SHARE. I believe these ethics should form the basis of everything we do. I see examples of these ethics being considered frequently on our Facebook page with the way in which many of you have been sharing information, resources and trading produce.
The Principles (of which there are 9 main ones) Guide our planning of permaculture landscapes and communities. The principles are applicable to anywhere in the world…Whether rural or urban, arid, tropical rainforest or Cold temperate. The Principles are listed below.
‘PRODUCE NO WASTE’
‘CATCH, STORE, AND RECYCLE ENERGY’
‘BUILD/ ENCOURAGE DIVERSITY’
‘KEEP SOIL WILD’
‘USE BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES’
‘OBTAIN A YIELD’
‘USE MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS TO MAXIMISE PRODUCTION’
To make this article more useful and meaningful, I will post an explanation, with examples of one of these principles each week. Your challenge is to add examples and /or photos.