Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally production ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of stable social order. – Bill Mollison, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual
There are three main ingredients to permaculture.
- Shared ethics of “earth care”, “people care” and “fair shares”(which is shorthand for limits to populations and consumption, and the fair distribution of resources to further the work of earth care and people care.) Permaculture also stresses the importance of taking personal responsibility for our actions.
- Ecological principles derived by the observation of natural systems, by ecologists such as Birch and Odum.
- Design tools and processes that allow an individual or group to assemble conceptual, material and strategic components into a “pattern” or “plan of action”, that can be implemented and maintained with minimal resources.
Summary of Permaculture Principles
1. Observe and Interact – Observation is interaction and Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
2. Catch and Store Energy – make hay while the sun shines
3. Obtain a Yield – You can’t work on an empty stomach
4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback – Take Personal Responsibility
5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – Nature knows best
6. Produce No Waste – Waste not – want not
7. Design from Patterns to Details – Don’t reinvent the wheel and See the forest before the trees
8. Integrate rather than Segregate – Together We Achieve More
9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – Small is beautiful, slow is sane and Slow and steady wins the race
10. Use and Value Diversity – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and The key to intelligent tinkering is to save all the pieces
11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – The action is at the edge
12. Use and Respond to Change Creatively – Everything evolves, is succeeded but comes around (again)