What is Permaculture

?

 

Permaculture is a design approach

to arrive at solutions.

Even the most gung-ho advocates for going green are realizing that the small, simple steps – curly light bulbs, tankless water heaters, and reusable bags – don’t even begin to touch the profound challenges we’re facing now…Not to mention the massive problems coming down the pike!

Instead, we need a deeper solution:

 

One that goes beyond green…

One that looks beyond individual issues like overflowing landfills, pollution of waterways, GMOs, melting glaciers, and megastorms…

One that works with, instead of against, natural processes and systems…

We need a regenerative solution that rebuilds ecosystems and communities the way they were meant to function.

 

A holistic approach to the environment that blends ancient knowledge with 21st-century clean technology…

A creative approach to community-building that’s rooted in the most basic principles of life and social sciences…

A technically sophisticated, locally appropriate approach to designing and building human habitat and alternative energy solutions…

Most of all, we need an inclusive approach to change that embraces blue jeans and designer suits, cob and pervious concrete, upcycled rain-barrels and condensation catchment…

Sound incredible? It’s not –

this is precisely what you’ll discover in Permaculture Design.

“PERMANENT” + “CULTURE” + “ AGRICULTURE”

Permaculture provides a big-picture perspective, using nature’s patterns and rules as a basis for designing your home, backyard garden, business, community commons, and municipal streets and parkways. It’s a systematic, regenerative approach that tackles big problems and solves them with sweeping effects.

For example:

  • Erosion is creating deserts on every continent…

 

  • City water supplies are growing more toxic from chemicals used in purification…

 

  • Mainstream energy, water, and food supplies are getting steadily more expensive and less safe…

 

  • Forests are being clear-cut for wood, farmland, drilling, fracking and mining, speeding up global warming, erosion, and species extinctions…

 

  • Trash is choking landfills and oceans, and washing up onto beaches…

 

  • Toxic waste sites are multiplying around the world…

 

  • Personal and national debts are racking up and economies are getting steadily more unstable…

 

  • Developers are pulling in megamillions while families get sick in poorly built, unhealthy, chemically-processed homes…

 

…and permaculturists are using simple, low-tech strategies to rebuild soil and create lush oases not in decades but years…

 

…and permaculturists are using plants to transform sewage to clean, drinkable water…

 

…and permaculturists are building local renewable energy installations, community water-harvesting systems and self-sustaining gardens…

 

…and permaculturists are planting food forests to clean the air and water, build soil, and provide fuel, food, shelter and habitat…

 

…and permaculturists are turning waste into a valuable resource, starting up businesses and profiting from harnessing it…

 

…and permaculturists are cleaning up some of them in a matter of months using plants, fungi and microbes…

 

…and permaculturists are setting up local currencies, barter systems and time banks to bypass the staggering dollar…

 

…and permaculturists are building simple, low-energy homes, made with indigenous natural materials, debt-free…

 

And that’s just the beginning!

If you’re mind-boggled by the sheer range of these permaculture solutions – so were we!

In fact, most folks simply can’t imagine the scope – or impact! – of permaculture solutions until they’re actually taking our courses

Some Background Information & Additional Resources:

In the mid 1970s, Australian University Professor Bill Mollison and his grad student David Holmgren started to develop ideas about stable agricultural systems. This was in response to the rapid growth of destructive industrial-agricultural methods. They saw that these methods were poisoning the land and water, reducing biodiversity, and removing billions of tons of topsoil from previously fertile landscapes. They announced their “permaculture” approach with the publication of Permaculture One in 1978.

The term permaculture initially meant “permanent agriculture” but was quickly expanded to also stand for “permanent culture” as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system. To find out about the roots of Permaculture, get hold of a copy of Permaculture One, Mollison and Holmgren, 1978.

There have since been numerous other authors who have tackled the subject. Some of our favourite books include:

Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, Bill Mollison, 1988

Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Mollison, 1991

Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture, Rosemary Morrow, 1994

The Basics of Permaculture Design, Ross Mars, 1996

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Toby Hemenway, 2000

Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability, David Holmgren, 2003

Wrestling with where to begin?

Looking for in-depth technical guidance?

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