What is Permaculture

Permaculture. A design system for life.

An amazing man called Bill Mollison who is affectionately regarded as the modern protagonist of this nature care system, brought attention to the ideas of many centuries of cultivating and living systems used into the current consciousness through his activities and determination to live in harmony with nature. Though not the creator of the ideas themselves, he very much pioneered a way of doing it all by the book as it were. Not really by any book of course, but through writing down and sharing his ideas he kick-started a new era of environmental activism associated with designing growing and living systems. (See Permaculture, a designers manual)

Later, followed by another visionary David Holgrem, they boosted the awareness of how we could do things much differently to the modern agricultural norm of Mono-Culture farming. You know, that type where all the hedgerows are torn out and trees cut down to create larger fields. Those that then flood and become less productive because of the actions afore–mentioned. The wildlife that once lived in hedges, ditches and woodland, indelibly linked to the living systems that support each level of the food chain, the biodiversity and harvest wiped out. Flooding caused by less trees and plants drawing from the land, things that held the soil in place and feeding nutrients into the earth and Co2 from the air.

The upshot of doing this to nature is now most evident. When we need to be giving more back to the earth and taking less, we seem hell bent on doing the exact opposite. Permaculture begins with the observation stage, the in-depth look at what is already working and acknowledgement that nature had done it better for millennia until humans arrived, so possibly has it all under control. Once that is viewed, we have a much better chance of copying, or even adopting similar functionary systems to create better yield than with the modern agri-destructive ways.

The Ethics of Permaculture.

It may seem funny to think of being ethical to grow food. But this is why permaculture is one of the best ways to work. For it requires one to think not only of self but of others. Be that animals, birds and bees, flowers, trees, plants or even the inhabitants of the worlds oceans, rivers and lakes. You see, the planet gives us all we ever need to live a happy and successful life here. But because we are only one of the myriad of other creartures and species that populate earth, we have to work collaboratively with them, rathert than greedily steal from them. It is obvious, if we use the first rule of permaculture Observation that we cannot do without the other elements. They and even we, play a fundamental role in keeping the balance between each of the other elements so that everyone/everything not only survives but prospers. So it is an act of suicide not to conclude we need harmony rather than taking it all.

There is a lot to learn about self sufficiency and food growing in particular so stick with us as we apply what we can to the Co-housing community idea we are starting here in central Italy.

Here is a couple who took the art of living of the land to a new level of challenge. Not exactly Permaculure based, but very innovative and creative in their particular environment. See for yourself how they did it.

To be continued…….