What is Permaculture?
A design science based on observable patterns of nature.
Why do we need ‘design science’?
To reduce labor over time, to increase enjoyment, live a more fulfilling life.
When we choose to live by design, it becomes impossible to remain out of alignment with our true nature.
“Sustainability” becomes resilience, and ultimately REGENERATION—the repair of the damage which has already been done.
“Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself…
to harm the earth is to heap contempt on the creator…
contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.”
[Chief Seattle, 1854]
Design Science can be applied to any aspect of life (not just in the garden): home, work, community—business, government, education, health. The closer we align to natural systems, the more harmonious all of our relationships become.
“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system.”
Permaculture is not ‘just’ sustainability, although every design, regardless of whether it is plant, animal, or people-based, is system-tested for sustainability. The design is the structure of the entire system–without the design, we have nothing more than a chemical-free garden, a green business, or a building which utilizes natural materials. While there is certainly nothing wrong with any of these–they are simply elements of the design, not the design itself. A permaculture designer observes the entire system, and all of its components, compares the workings and challenges to natural systems, and makes appropriate adjustments based on those observations. This does not happen overnight–a good design and implementation may take 2-3 years, and requires commitment and flexibility–some of those qualities we have not encouraged in this society in recent years. Thus, we often create bridges–mini-installations of elements which will one day evolve into the complete design, elements such as an annual garden for food production, a compost pile, and rain-barrels for water catchment.
If you are a Florida gardener, especially if you are also a transplant, you may or may not already know how challenging it can be to grow in our mostly-sandy soil. Yes, permaculture has an answer for that, too, and we can teach you how to grow 75% or more of your own food onsite, organically, with as little ongoing effort as possible. Don’t let Florida scare you away from the garden!
If you are curious about the process of permaculture design, and would like more information, please SIGN UP below to download our FREE Ebook “Intro to Permaculture” and for info on our Intro to Permaculture course–it’s *COMING SOON* online! Our courses are held in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas–new courses added all the time–please register for updates!
Read the Permaculture Principles Series:
- Observe and Interact
- Catch and Store Energy
- Obtain a Yield
- Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
- Use and value renewable resources and services
- Produce no waste
- Design from patterns to details
- Integrate rather than segregate
- Use small and slow solutions
- Use and value diversity
- Use edges and value the marginal
- Creatively use and respond to change