I’ve desired a piece of land and a nice garden for a long time. We’ve also wanted chickens and goats and lots of other things that more property would support. It’s finally looking like that might become a possibility… more news on that to come. But while I continue to dream, I’ve been reading some things about sustainable gardening and have come across the idea of “permaculture”.
Originally developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Australia in the 1970s, the ideologies of Permaculture have morphed and grown into a movement with its eyes on a healthier and better world. I see a lot of value here and it puts into words some of the things I’ve wanted to seek as a Christian who loves God’s creation. I believe that “tend the garden” was God’s desire for us in the beginning, and still is.
There are 3 Foundational Ethics and 12 Principals of Permaculture.
Foundational Ethics of Permaculture:
- Care of the earth
- Care of people
- Fair share (use only what you need and share or repurpose the excess)
The 12 Principals of Permaculture:
- Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
- Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
- Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
- Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
- Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
- Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
- Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.
It’s great too that these principals apply to society and other things besides plants and ecosystems. I hope to put some of this into practice whenever I have the opportunity.