Permaculture: What is it and Why is it Important?
Developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970’s, permaculture has spread wildly throughout the world. The term initially meant ‘permanent agriculture’, however it evolved to also represent ‘permanent culture’.
Permaculture is the ethical, scientific and synchronistic design of natural systems to ensure a sustainable philosophy of living. It also aims to facilitate abundance for the future of humanity by producing all the food and materials it needs on a local scale. At its core, permaculture is simply the collaboration of humans and nature in action.
Due to the unsustainable agricultural practices that we currently employ, permaculture is also an evidence-based solution to the self-destructive path we are on.
What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is working in conjunction with nature, not against it. It is the local production of all the materials each person needs, such as food, shelter and fuel. Its use of the land is the opposite of a monoculture, which is the hallmark of the harmful industrial-agriculture model. Instead it’s a polyculture, where a diverse range of vegetation and animals are utilised to support each other into abundance.
As a quick overview, a permaculture plot has five zones. The first is the most utilised and is therefore the closest to the residence, which contains vegetable and herb gardens that need continual maintenance. Zone two is where daily attention is still required, but not as often, such as with poultry pens and orchard trees. The third zone is less visited and generally reserved for self-feeding stock and seasonal crops. In zone four there are food and fuel options made available from the food forest and zone five is a natural area that is rarely visited.
“The aim is to create systems that are ecologically-sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long term” – Bill Mollison