Permaculture is a design philosophy and set of principles for creating sustainable and self-sufficient systems. It was developed in the 1970s by two Australians, Bill Mollison, and David Holmgren, as a way to address environmental degradation and the overuse of natural resources.
Permaculture is based on the idea that we can create human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships and functions found in natural ecosystems. This means designing diverse, resilient, and efficient systems that work with rather than against nature.
Permaculture principles can be applied to a wide range of contexts, including home gardens, farms, and communities. Some of the key principles include:
- Observing and interacting with the natural environment to understand and work with its patterns and processes.
- Catch and store energy, such as through the use of solar panels or water catchment systems.
- Obtain a yield, which means maximizing the benefits and outputs of a system while minimizing inputs.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback, recognizing that all actions have consequences and seeking to understand and address those consequences.
- Use and value diversity, recognizing that diverse systems are more resilient and productive.
- Use edges and value the marginal, recognizing that the edges of a system often have the greatest potential for productivity and diversity.
- Creatively use and respond to change, recognizing that change is constant and seeking to adapt and thrive in the face of it.
Permaculture practices can include things like growing a diverse range of crops, using companion planting and polycultures, incorporating animals into the system, and using natural resources efficiently.
Permaculture offers a holistic approach to designing and managing systems, and it has the potential to create more sustainable and equitable ways of living. By working with rather than against nature, permaculture can help us to create both productive and regenerative systems that support the health and well-being of both people and the planet.