Q: Dear Hettie — I love organic gardening and want to do more. I want to be more ecological and self-sustaining. I’ve heard the term “permaculture” used by like minded acquaintances, but I can’t really pin-point exactly what people mean by it. What is permaculture? Can learning about it help me do more for my family and the earth?
A: Well, says Hettie, In 1978 Bill Mollison and David Holmgren coined the phrase “Permaculture” to describe a set of agricultural principles that mimic the way Mother Nature sets up her gardens all over the world. Of course, indigenous people have been using these sort of techniques for thousands of years, but Mollison and Holmgren wanted to present them to a modern audience.
Today these principles are taught and used all over the world in villages, towns, on farms and in urban landscapes.
Permaculture describes a system that is sustainable and self-renewing – thus, permanent. It is a philosophy of designing a maximally efficient and minimally interfering system that echos the wisdom of nature, the rhythms community life and honors the harmony of it’s elements. Permaculture lets us see waste as resource and offers the opportunity to recover order in disorder.
Although Permaculture principles were originally applied to agriculture — harmonizing the needs of plants, animals and people and producing more and better because of it — they can be applied to all aspects of life and culture.
Around here, we relish the good life by applying Permaculture principles to everything we do. On our Urban Farm and Guesthouse, my feathered sisters and I collaborate with tons of critters, using the wisdom Mama Nature gave us to keep the place growing strong and beautiful. Mama and Papa Soul help out, too … When they’re not otherwise occupied
So, yes, Permaculture definitely can help you do more for your family and the earth!