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Joined: 27 May 2007
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Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:51 pm    Post subject: PERMACULTURE-A WAY OF LIFE Reply with quote

I like to think that permaculture is a way of life as the ideas touch on most aspects of everyday living. The idea started in the mid 70's when two Australian ecologists, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, started to develop ideas that they hoped could be used to create stable agricultural systems. This was in response to the rapidly growing use of destructive post-war industrial agricultural methods that were poisoning the land and water, reducing biodiversity, and removing billions of tonnes of soil from previously fertile landscapes. The design approach called 'permaculture' was the result, and was first made public with the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. The term is the merging of the words Permanent and Agriculture. Two philosophies of permaculture that are quoted are to "think before you act" and to "practice maximum contemplation, minimum action", which sounds all right to me! Permaculture is not a set of rules; it is a process of design based around principles found in the natural world, of co-operation and mutually beneficial relationships, and translating these principles into actions.


This action can range from choosing what you eat, how you travel, the type of work you do, and where you live, to working with others to create a community food-growing project. It's about making decisions that relate to all your other decisions; so one area of your life is not working against another. For example, if you are planning a journey, consider other tasks that can be completed on the way to your destination (combining a trip to see friends with buying food on the way home, for example). It means thinking about your life or projects as a whole system - working out the most effective way to do things that involves the least effort and the least damage to others, and looking for ways to make relationships more beneficial.

It is important to observe your surroundings before making choices. Taking stock at the beginning of a project (whether it be building a house or planting a window box) of the available resources in terms of time, materials, skills, money, opportunities, land etc, and thinking about how these resources can relate to each other is a useful basis for designing a sustainable and effective system. To take the example of a garden - careful observation over the course of a few months can give information about the sunniest spots, the path of a neighbourhood fox, which areas are sheltered from the wind. Such information is not always immediately available, but can ultimately be very important. A key feature of the design process in permaculture is "zoning". This is about placing things appropriately in relation to each other, and works on the principle that things requiring frequent attention are placed closest to the home. It is about using time, energy and resources wisely, which can be as simple as planting your most used herbs nearest to your kitchen, or as complex as planning a community.


Permaculture seeks to foster the skills, confidence and imagination to enable people to become self-reliant, and to seek creative solutions to problems on a global or local scale. While the individual has a part to play, in most places it is not realistic for an individual household to provide for all of their own needs in terms of food, clothing, work etc, and the emphasis is more on self-reliance and increased sufficiency within the community, rather than individual self-sufficiency. In practice, this does not mean each person growing enough food to feed themselves in their back garden; it means that as many as possible of the inputs for a community (food, skills etc) come from within that community - perhaps in the form of community food growing schemes, Local Exchange and Trading Systems (LETS) to exchange skills and produce etc.

Permaculture means different things to different people. One person may interpret it in a practical sense in terms of growing food, perhaps, while another will focus on a more spiritual side. This diversity is important; it helps to keep a sense of balance, and encourages people to share their resources and knowledge with others.

Working together is the key - it takes a lot of strain off the individual. It also is important to be well informed and if you can help others, spread your knowledge in return. Find out more by checking out or if you fancy being more sociable check out permaculture workshops.



if you are interested in raised vegetable beds and veggie growing I have a new website - We're busy on social networking too and have over 12,000 members in the group.
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