What is Permaculture?
So what is the meaning of permaculture? At its essence, permaculture is about working with nature to create a better world for us all. By studying the secrets of life's success, we can derive for ourselves a set of guiding principles. Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems to provide for our needs of food, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy, efficient and sustainable. Using Permaculture design we can improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.
Permaculture has an ethical basis:
Earth care - enabling all life systems to continue and increase.
People care - enabling access to the resources people need for a good quality of life.
Fair share - voluntary limits to population and consumption; to share resources for Earth care and People care.
Permaculture is a way of designing systems, to maximise yields using the least effort. While it can be creatively used to design almost anything that we do, it is at present most commonly applied to farming, I will therefore give an overview in relation to food systems.
Using Permaculture Design
For most of us, bringing some Permaculture design into our own gardens is a first but very important step that we can all make. At home we can create a low-maintenance, attractive environment that can also provide us with a significant quantity of fresh, nutritious food. All we need is the know-how, plus better access to a few plants and trees that aren't yet easily available.
Permaculture is something that we can all learn relatively easily; a lot of it is just common sense that we hadn't thought of before. It provides us with the tools to help us make the right choices for our particular situation and then connect those things together in the most beneficial way. Once we understand the basics, everything else builds upon those principles and we become part of the worldwide group of people learning by simply living it.
Whilst Permaculture is relatively new (about thirty years), it is modelled on a system that is as old and successful as life itself. Permaculture is a rapidly growing science, with more and more being learned all the time to fine-tune the design process. Permaculture works, as established designs clearly demonstrate, but then this is hardly a surprise as nature has plenty of time to get it right.