Live Local. Live Small. Understanding the benefits of permaculture

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by Michaelangelica, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    May 2, 2006
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    (A good summary of PC)
    Of all the mail generated from the Live Local column, last week’s update on my new year’s resolutions garnered most. Apparently, there are more gardeners and foragers out there than I realized. One of the defining experiences of my life happened when I was 17 and moved to a commune operated on permaculture principles. I mentioned this in response to one person who came into the bookstore to talk last week. It was a good reminder that permaculture is not part of the common lexicon.

    Codified by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the early 1970s in Australia—apparently, Australia is an area that is much more cognizant of their dwindling natural resources than perhaps we are—permaculture is all about design and sustainability within natural ecosystems. Among the many purposes of its development is the attempt to reclaim desert for food production.

    Like many things, permaculture took a life of its own and evolved beyond what its originators ever envisioned. What began as a method for farming in resource-deprived areas has grown to include a Permaculture Credit Union and financial planning, which is largely based upon local currencies and investing in renewable resources.

    The three driving ideas (or ethics) of permaculture are: Care for the Earth, its people and return the surplus. The latter is sometimes referred to as “Setting Voluntary Limits.” An example of returning the surplus would be the latest locavore club Port City Swappers, which encore reported on last week. People bring food items they have made (jams, bread, pickles, veggies from their garden) and barter with others to trade.

    There are approximately 12 design principles associated with permaculture, which cross over into other parts of life. For example: observe, diversify, obtain a yield, integrate not separate, maximize small and slow solutions rather than big and sudden, etc. One of my favorite takeaways from permaculture is the idea that every problem is a solution—i.e. “I am surrounded by insurmountable opportunities.”
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