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Permaculture in a Nutshell

Permaculture Knowledge

Permaculture is a 10,000-year-old technology based on knowledge of our tribal ancestors. It’s not only a regenerative way to grow own food (fruit, vegetables and animals) but an holistic lifestyle and philosophy.

Jago Jan Veith

We are all Visitors to this Time, this Place

We are all visitors of this time, of this place. We are just passing through.

Ay a proverb of the Aboriginal people of Australia that says “We are all visitors of this time, of this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, grow, love… and then return home.”

We must bear in mind that our time here is limited! That’s why we need clear priorities to reach our goals in the near future. If you view money as the goal, then you miss the point. Money is infinite, but your time is not.

Culture + Permanent = Permaculture

The word comes from ‘Permanent Agriculture’ although in reality it is more correct to speak of ‘Permanent Culture’, since it also refers to political, economic and social systems based on the natural ecosystem.

International: Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, Australia Masanobu Fukuoka, Japan Sepp Holzer, Austria
Image: Permaculture Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, Australia – Masanobu Fukuoka, Japan – Sepp Holzer, Austria

Permaculture is based on ancestral techniques (10’000 years) and in turn benefiting from modern technology, to integrate the best of both worlds. International: Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, Australia. Masanobu Fukuoka, Japan. Sepp Holzer, Austria

State Of Our Modern Society

State Of Our Modern Society

Now our society is so advanced that with the latest technology we are able to make very deep holes … to extract oil, then refine the oil and transform it, for different uses, such as that of a water bottle. That same bottle of water will be drunk in a few minutes and will return in a landfill at the bottom of a hole… It takes 25% of the amount of oil to produce the plastic bottle compared to the amount of water to fill it… We have totally lost total connection with our planet. The food, the houses where we live, the jobs we do sitting all day, social life, and so on.

Humans Just Arrived 3 Seconds Ago

The day humans go extinct the planet will continue as it has already existed for millions of years. If we condense the history of the Earth into 1 day, of the 24 hours of its existence, the dinosaurs populated it for 1 hour and went extinct 20min ago! And we, human beings, have only been in it for 3 seconds! 23h59min57sec (200,000 years ago): The modern human being appears…

The Permaculture Flower

Permaculture Flower
Permaculture Flower

Permaculture is a holistic system with principles and techniques to achieve long-term auto regenerative systems, obviously without exploiting resources or creating any pollution.

Permaculture is the philosophy of working with, and not against nature; prolonged and reflective observation, rather than prolonged and unconscious work; to understand plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating areas as mono-productive systems. To make people aware of the need not only for them to be producers of their own food. But to realize where the food that is consumed in general comes from, thus helping the people to reconnect.

These principles are seen as universal, although the methods used to express them will vary greatly according to the place and situation. They are applicable to our personal, economic, social and political re-organisation as illustrated in the permaculture flower. Each principle can be thought of as a door that opens into whole systems thinking, providing a different perspective that can be understood at varying levels of depth and application.

So what is Permaculture all about?

Best permaculture tool?
Hammock. Observe and interact, repeat.
Permaculture Design Principle Nr. 1 – Observe and Interact

There is no such thing as garbage, only wasted resources.
Permaculture Design Principle Nr. 6 – Produce NO Waste

Permaculture Design Principle Nr. 6 – Examples:
Grey water = Nutrients for plants
Organic waste = animal feed
Wood waste = fuel for the oven
Used Tires = construction blocks for structures

Infographic: Garbage Decomposition Time

Produce NO Waste – Creative Reuse and Recycling – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Estimated decomposition rates of common debris in the ocean

Permaculture Zones

The Permaculture Zones

The Permaculture Zones are a key design tool that we use in Permaculture, and they are part of the decision making matrix. Zones are concerned with the level of human activity, efficiency of movement, and human effort on a Permaculture site.

Permaculture Design Principle 2

Chicken - Permaculture Design Principle Nr. 2 – Each Element Performs Many Functions

Permaculture Design Principle Nr. 2 – Each Element Performs Many Functions

Element with multiple functions.
Each element fulfills multiple functions.

Food Forest

A food forest mimics a forest edge that is planted with edible plants. Picture all of the vertical layers of a forest growing together: Tall trees, small trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground covers. Tall, canopy trees grow inward from the edge.

The food forest is a palate of climate specific plants and animals that is adapted to each site and context. While it doesn’t produce a concentrated calorie resource like monocultures, it does however produce a range of food crops as well as medicine, fiber, fun, fuel, fodder and fertility. So beyond this yields, there are many other important ecosystem functions that it performs like building soil, promoting biodiversity and completing the hydrological cycle.

Imagine a forest that produces fruits and nuts, edible pods and leaves, delicious roots and mushrooms. In this forest there are multi-purpose plants that help with pest and weed control, and provide fertility. This forest has the same environmental benefits as a natural forest, but it produces food for humans. orchards in 3 dimensions with all the advantages that entails, little maintenance, a lot of production in a small space, beauty.

Further Permaculture Information

Of course there is much much more and detailed information about Permaculture available for example here on Wikipedia or if you like to read books to feel free to check our Goodreads Permaculture recommended list.

Our top Permaculture books so far:

Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Mollison, Bill
Permaculture Design – a Step by Step Guid by Aranya
The One-Straw Revolution by Fukuoka, Masanobu

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