- Permaculture Talk from Claire
- Garden Potluck
Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles, centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.
The concepts of permaculture were originated by David Holmgren & Bill Mollison. Last week our very own Claire Madden, one of our VCGN Teaching & Education Interns, took us through the 12 basics principles of permaculture, as articulated by David Holmgren in his book: Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. (Below). Condensing these twelve principles of permaculture into one definition is no small feat, but ultimately, it’s about caring for the earth, caring for people, and the importance of a return of surplus.
- Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
- Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
- Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
- Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
- Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
- Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
- Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.
While it may seem to be easier said then done, transforming your backyard into a permaculture masterpiece doesn’t have to happen overnight. It is actually recommend that you make changes gradually, observing how those changes influence and transform the natural makeup of your garden space. So if you are considering your own permaculture project, take some time to do your research, and make changes at your own pace. Observing your own unique results will allow you to recognize which changes have been successful, as well as those that may do well with a tweak or two.
If you are looking for some additional info, check out some of these books…
Permaculture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements – David Holmgren
Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability – David Holmgren
Farmers of Forty Centuries – F. H. King
Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture – J. Russell Smith
One Straw Revolution – M. Fukuoka
Principles of Permaculture – David Holmgren
An Introduction to Permaculture – Bill Mollison
Another amazing potluck has been entered into the record books! Delicious food and great company. The spread was amazing, and so was the weather on that beautiful sunny morning. I can’t believe that we only have one more community meal left. Our time together as a class is speeding by, but we will all have some great memories to hold on to, even after the bounty has been harvested and our classes come to an end.