What is Permaculture?
Greener Kirkcaldy are running a 2 day Introduction to Permaculture course next weekend – 8th and 9th October. In this blog I will give a little taster on what Permaculture is all about. Permaculture is an integrated approach to designing healthy, productive, wildlife friendly environments. Permaculture is being used all around the world.
Permaculture combines three aspects. These aspects are:
- An ethical framework
- An understanding of how nature works
- A design approach
It is possible we can get much more out of life by using less. We just need to think carefully about the way we use resources we have such as food, energy, shelter and other material and non material needs. We can be far more productive using less effort and at the same time benefiting ourselves and the environment.
Permaculture has three ethics. Those ethics are
- Care for People – As part of this planet you matter!! Care for people asks that our basic need for food, shelter, education, employment and healthy social relationships are met.
- Care for Earth – Permaculture works with the natural systems rather than in competition with them. In everyday life this could involve:
- Buying local produce
- Eating in season
- Cycling rather than driving
It is about the choices we make and how we manage the land.
- Fair Shares – Permaculture’s third ethic is about living within your own limits. By living within your own limits you all can create surplus resources for the first two ethics. Key social strategies include:
- Access to family planning
- Helping people to meet their basic needs of clean water
- Adequate food
- Basic healthcare and education
The Permaculture Association says permaculture seeks to create and distribute life-giving resources fairly amongst people, animals and plants while keeping in mind the future generations.
These ethics don’t just apply to permaculture but permaculture applies them to their design process. Their aim is to take the ethics away from the philosophy and use them practically in people’s life.
Permaculture has twelve design principles that they use to allow them to re-design the environment and our own behaviour using less energy and resources. The twelve principles are universal but the methods used could vary depending on where you are and the circumstances.
The twelve principles are –
- Observe and interact – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
- Catch and store energy – Make hay while the sun shines.
- Obtain a yield – You can’t work on an empty stomach.
- Apply self regulation and accept feedback – The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation.
- Use and value renewable resources and services – Let nature take its course.
- Produce no waste – Waste not, want not. A stitch in time saves nine.
- Design from patters to details – Can’t see the wood for the trees.
- Integrate rather than separate – Many hands make light work.
- Use small and slow solutions – The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
- Use and value diversity – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
- Use edges and value the marginal – Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well-beaten path.
- Creatively use and respond to change – Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be.
Find out more on the principles.
Permaculture is about low carbon, eco-friendly and having plenty. It is also an ethically based design system for people who want to not only transform their lives and the lives of the people around them, but also to play their part in bringing an ecologically balanced, fair and kinder world into existence.
Permaculture has used may useful thinking tools from different places which include design frameworks from other disciplines. The framework can help guide through the process of the design which means you are less likely to miss something. The different stages of the design process can be very detailed but below are the main things to keep in mind:
More information on the design methods.
One thing is for sure. It’s a fascinating subject, with many aspects, and it’s still evolving. If you would like more of a hands on approach and to learn more about permaculture then we have a course on Saturday 8th October and Sunday 9th October with practitioner of permaculture principles and design, James Chapman. There are limited spaces available so be quick, find out more and book your place now.