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What is Permaculture?

December 22, 2009

Its a word you have heard thrown about.  I will do my best to define it for you.

Permaculture or permamant agriculture is a sustianable regenerative  design system starting with three basic principles: earth care, people care, resource share.

These three principles turn into a lifestyle and coming together of many movements including but not limited to green building, sustaibable agriculture, soil and water regeneration, local economy,community, indigenous wisdom, renewable energy and community networking.

It is small scale food production that tries to mimic the patterns in nature while taking into account the person involved.

A permaculturist first studies the landscape to be planted on. This helps us know what is already happening on the land and how that can be best used to grow food.

Some of the things we look for are:

water and land slopes-where is it steep,flat etc. Where does the water move to and fom?

Access and Circulatiuon- What are the most common habits,walking patterns of the people that live there.

Vegetation and wildlife- what can this tell us about the land

Microclimates- where is it sunny cold windy noisy warm shady etc.

Zones of use-what part of the land it used the most? where the least etc.

Soil – overall soil quality

From this assessment we then have more information to to put things in the best place (for example the greenhouse in the location with the most sun. )

We also try to create edible forest gardens which is again looking at nature. We look at all the layers of the forest and try to mimic the pattern in orchard design. Just like the forest has ground cover, herbacious plants, small shrubs, smaller trees and big trees so will the forest garden.  But each layer will be either edible, fixing nitrogen or attractive to insects. In this manner we build a whole system that works in symbiosis with each other and in the long run needs minimal people management.

We use base maps to record all the information and from this we can create a summary from which to build our final design.

An0ther big part of pemaculture is getting the most use out of every element in the system. Or to capture and recycle and store energy for as long as possible. For example in many parts of the world water is the limiting resource and we work on slowing down and capturing as much water as possible through ponds, swales vegetation etc  in order to grow more plants and stop desertification.

With the input of the client and looking at their goals a design is created and  a plan drawn up for its implementation.

This methodology of permaculture allows us to get the food we need while maintaining the health of the overall ecosystem we are using.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 1:15 pm

    I love what you do! It’s what I do only I do it on my own property so far. Thank you especially for sharing your drawings. I love them. The idea for the ponds is interesting. We’ve been trying to get something like that designed into our place… Still working on it.
    Keep up the good work and Happy Spring,
    Katrien

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