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Thread: Permaculture: Modeling Nature's Own System for Optimal Results

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    Thumbs Up Permaculture: Modeling Nature's Own System for Optimal Results

    What is Permaculture?

    Permaculture is about working with nature to make a better world for us 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, shelter, energy & community in ways that are healthy & efficient. Through Permaculture design we can improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society & our environment.

    Permaculture has an ethical basis:

    Earthcare - Enabling all life systems to continue & increase.
    Peoplecare - enabling access to the resources people need for a good quality of life.
    Fairshare - Voluntary limits to population and consumption; to share resources for Earthcare & Peoplecare.



    Permaculture is a way of designing systems, to maximise outputs from minimal inputs. While it can be applied to almost anything that we do, it is most commonly at present applied to farming & gardening. Our current systems are very energy-intensive, either through the heavy use of machinery, fossil fuels, chemicals or manual labour. Not only are these unsustainable in energy terms, but they are also rapidly degrading our soils & in turn the food that we grow upon them. While natural systems cycle back nearly one hundred important elements into the soil, NPK fertilisers only put back three! The end result of such practices is plain to foresee. We need to start using alternatives urgently! While the current trend back towards organic farming & gardening is a step in the right direction, any system of mono-culture (planting large areas with a single crop) will always be a struggle against nature's unstoppable tendency towards bio-diversity. Thus 'organic' in itself is still not the answer. We need sustainable systems & Permaculture can provide them.


    When applied to growing, Permaculture models nature's own wild systems while substituting many plants & trees (many from similar climatic systems from around the World) that are more useful to humanity. These new systems are wildlife-friendly too, as diversity provides many habitats, yet unlike mono-cultures, an imbalance in the number of species is never allowed to build up & create a problem. Nature always fills a vacuum & while a mono-cultured field may look full, it occupies only one level in terms of height & depth. Observation of nature's systems has shown there to be seven distinct vertical layers in any stable environment with a variety of rooting depths that draw up nutrients from all levels within the soil. This process is beneficial to all the species growing (& ultimately living) there. Stable systems also have stable microclimates, so 'crop failures' become insignificant as there will always be plenty of other species that do crop well in any given year. Crop failure can of course be disastrous with mono-culturing, leading to mass famine in some cases. Permaculture is a rapidly growing science, with more & more being learned all the time to fine-tune the design process.



    Many books have already been written about its concepts, including several very large ones! Permaculture can be used to design from very large to very small areas of land (even balconies & window boxes!). Of course every little does help, both in creating stable environments & encouraging others to do the same. I think that Permaculture has a very important role to play in creating a sustainable future for all who share this beautiful planet. It is also a common fallacy that Permaculture is just about organic gardening. In fact its design principles can be applied to all areas of modern society; from architecture to transport systems & economics to community building; creating more sustainable lifestyles for us all.



    Bringing Permaculture design into our own gardens is a first but very important step that we can all make. At home we can create a low-maintenance attractive environment that can also provide us with a significant quantity of fresh, nutritious food at the same time. All people need is the information to help them to do it, plus better access to a few more plants & trees that aren't currently easily available. Permaculture is something that we can all learn relatively easily, I think a lot of it is just common sense that I hadn't thought of before! Once we understand the basics, everything else builds on those principles & we become part of the worldwide group of people learning by simply living it. Whilst the ideas are relatively new (about thirty years), Permaculture systems have already been designed & applied successfully in all the different types of climate around the World, in many cases restoring productivity to land previously made barren by mono-culture systems (see 'Greening the Desert' movie here for a fine example!) & allowing people to feed themselves again. Permaculture works, as established designs clearly demonstrate, but then this is hardly a surprise as nature has been doing it right for a very long time!

    Source

    :tree3: :tree11: :tree15: :evergreen :tree21: :tree25: :tree24: :tree28: :tree6: :tree3: :tree23: :tree29: :tree5:

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    What is Permaculture ?

    I'd like to know. I'm sorry to have to say that, even after carefully reading this post, I still don't have a clear idea of just what Permaculture is. It is clear enough, what Permaculture is "not just". It is not just organic gardening. But, just what it IS seems vague and nebulous.

    BTW, I have generally not been impressed with the products of organic gardening which I have seen on sale in health food stores. In fact, it has always seemed to me that I could easily recognize the organic vegetables and fruit because they look so ill-favored and under-nourished as compared to the chemically fertilized ones. eyes:

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    What is Permaculture ?

    I had really hoped that someone would respond to my post. I would seriously like to know just what permaculture is. If anyone knows more about it, would you please respond ? :

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    What is permaculture?


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    What is Permaculture ?

    Thank you, lei.talk. That reference was very helpful. From what I've read about it, the idea of permaculture seems to be rather unrealistic, a bit too idealistic . I fear that it takes too little account of human greed and short-sightedness. eyes:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egil Skallagrimsson
    Thank you, lei.talk. That reference was very helpful. From what I've read about it, the idea of permaculture seems to be rather unrealistic, a bit too idealistic . I fear that it takes too little account of human greed and short-sightedness. eyes:
    That reference gives the umbrella 'ideal' which I can see your reaction to but permaculture is really most about farming and not as much the social engineering it aludes to -the social stuff won't work how these people plan But the gardening/farming aspect of it is really important and does work. Even simple decissions are a step toward "permaculture". Grow a privacy hedge rather than building a fence, choose a plant that produces something useful. Planting plants that drive away certain pests next to plants that are vulnerable to those pests. There are so many ways that it can be utilized that are not the perfect hippie commune they talk about it can be. Untill recently most peoples practiced "permaculture"in some way (at least the one's that survived for any legnth of time), but we've thrown out most of the knowledge they learned over hundreds of years so we'd better relearn as much as we can fast if the species is going to survive. So the writing tends toward a little liberal idealistic, whatever, if you take off alot of that veneer it's just common sense. And it certainly doesn't have to be called "permaculture". Call it "sustainable gardening", or even better "the way our ancestors did it".
    Wake, Jotun, wake! Shake, Jotun, shake! Burn and blow, rain and snow! Wake, Jotun, wake!

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    Growing permaculture in the city

    Growing permaculture in the city

    A complete newcomer to permaculture, Lisa Schnellbeck reports on how an introductory weekend course has changed how she approaches urban living.


    When thinking about permaculture in action, like most people I had imagined an idyllic smallholding, an ecovillage or, at the very least, a suburban semi with an abundant garden, a turf roof and perhaps – let’s be really adventurous – a composting toilet. But where does that leave the average city-dwelling apartment renter with no garden, who has never even picked up a trowel, someone like me? How can I integrate permaculture into my life?
    Alpay Torgut, who has been involved in permaculture for many years, has rather different ideas about what permaculture in action means. His vision embraces urban living and provides solutions for those not ready, unable or unwilling to move to the country. Alpay has been running permaculture classes several times a year since 1990. I spent a weekend in North London at Alpay’s course ‘An Introduction to Permaculture’ learning more.
    Read further HERE

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