Monday, May 5, 2014

What is Permaculture?

So the plan was to write three blog posts about permaculture for my class, one in April, one in May and one to bring it to an end in June. Well I started writing and realized that there was way too much awesome stuff to cram into only three posts. The first one was on soil, which I am really interested in because there is just so much I didn't know (and much more I still don't)! But I realize that I didn't introduce permaculture at all. So this post will be a quick introduction to what permaculture is in the first place.

There really isn't a single set definition of what permaculture is (making this post a bit of a challenge)... If you google the definition it'll tell you that it is "the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient." That is not a wrong or bad definition but I would say that it is incomplete. 

Permaculture can be either permanent-culture or permanent-agriculture. Permanent meaning ultimate sustainability where agriculture can be done year after year forever and make the land and ecosystem healthier, while never diminishing land anywhere. Many operations claim to be sustainable but are only taking into account things that happen on site and not other areas that are affected. I am very skeptical of products or businesses that claim to be sustainable.

The way it achieves sustainability is by mimicking the natural world and allowing Mother Nature to do a lot of the work for you. It is letting food grow just as it would in nature and creating a space where as many aspects of a complete ecosystem can be expressed all the way from the bacteria in the soil, to the top predators roaming your land.

Because permaculture has both the 'culture' and 'agriculture' it is not only a way of growing food but also a way of life. It is growing food for a better world and trying to bring that better world into every aspect of your life. 

You don't have to grow food to be a permaculturalist. You can support people who are doing permaculture, or just make your life more sustainable by trying to follow nature's lead in other ways. 

In what ways are you a permaculturalist?


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