What is Permaculture
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Author: Kevin Baker @ 03/31/14 - 06:57 pm
What is Permaculture? It is the most common question I would hear after telling people itís what I am passionate about. As a relatively new field it has not reached the mainstream. There are the ethics and principles of Permaculture, but it seems people want to know more. There are a variety of books wrote on the subject, and some authors have given their take on what itís all about. These authors have practiced the fundamentals out in the field, so what they offer is more than a definition. Itís a personal account of their work and philosophy. Just as different instructors and styles of yoga can vary, the same seems to be true in Permaculture. With this in mind, I think itís important for me to offer what Permaculture means to me.

Permaculture has elements of empowerment. Being able to grow your own food and have a complete understanding of the trip from garden to plate is important to some people. You can also grow things for other goods like wood, clothes and more. There is something powerful about a group of people being able to provide for themselves.

Permaculture will lower a personís (or groups) ecological footprint. The products from your home are as local as it can get. No travel costs, no need for preservatives, the inputs of production is considerably lower. The scope of Permaculture can be broad too; there is no limit to how many people (or spaces) can be involved.

There is a lot of respect for nature in this discipline. Permaculture recognizes the worth of all elements of the environment. Value is given to anything that provides food or habitat for humans and non-humans. It recognizes we should share space and diversity should be as high as possible. It views our interactions with other species as exchanges. Value is also given for important tangibles like air quality and shade. Your home and garden become a source of much more than just food.

I see Permaculture as an investment as well. It takes some planning and work up front, but in the long term you will definitely save time and money. You will get a higher return from your space, perennials do not have to be started from scratch, some people get paid for domestic solar power production and the price of oil and gas (so transportation) continues to riseÖ. These are some of the reasons why I think everyone should compare Permaculture to what we have been doing (conventional gardening, relying on supermarkets, etc).

Overall Permaculture is a design science that creates healthy ecosystems. It is not based on farming indicators that we have used in the past like yield. The completely natural ecosystems that thrive are our guide. As there is no single best way of practicing this way of life I find it to be very accessible. Itís about working with nature and doing the best you can. So letís get to it.

-Kevin Baker, March 31, 2014

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