Those who employ permaculture...
...reduce grocery bills dramatically.
...can reduce energy costs.
...have no concerns regarding the origin of their food, and therefore, are not left questioning the growing, handling, or processing practices employed in the acquisition of their food.
...eat organic and local food whenever they want.
...have peace of mind, knowing they are living in a positive relationship with the environment.
...can reuse all waste produced on a daily basis.
...have been able to grow food in the middle of the desert (with no synthetic chemicals)!
...create wildlife habitat in their own back yards and communities.
...become more in touch and involved with their communities, creating more resilient, stronger neighbourhoods.
And much more!
More on Permaculture...
Click Here for some of the principles of Permaculture
All About Permaculture
The term "permaculture", coined by Bill Mollison, is a combination of the words "permanent agriculture" as well as "permanent culture".
Permaculture, when employed intelligently and thoughtfully, can allow us to become more self-sufficient, greatly reducing our ecological impact. It is a way of designing human settlements so that the full potential of nature may be utilized in order to support human survival and well-being. It seeks to respect and even mimic nature rather than to compete against it. This natural way of designing living spaces employs carefully thought out design strategies which focus on relationships or connections between various elements, rather than focusing on the individual elements themselves. In this way, permaculture as a whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.
The Following are 12 design principles of Permaculture, which can also be applied as valuable life lessons:
In describing how it compares to conventional gardening or landscaping, the founder of permaculture made the following statement describing modern landscaping practices...
“The lawn and its shrubbery is a forcing of nature and landscape into a salute to wealth and power, and has no other purpose or function.
The only thing that such designs demonstrate is that power can force men and women to waste their energies in controlled, menial and meaningless toil. The lawn gardener is schizoid serf as well as the feudal lord, following his lawnmower and wielding his hedge clippers, and contorting roses and privet into fanciful and meaningless topiary.”
Pollution, disease, processed food, stress from long hours in the office, over- consumption—all prevalent issues in our modern lifestyles. We extract resources and expend a tremendous amount of time and energy processing, packaging and shipping them, only to produce a product we use once and then discard. We place a refrigerator in one of the warmest parts of our homes only to cool the air in that space by about 20 degrees, and then take out the food only to warm it again. We live as consumers instead of integrating our lives as part of a larger whole and harmonizing our lifestyles with our natural surroundings. This way of life can only go on for so long before something eventually gives way and becomes self-destructive.
As a visual, let’s compare two families. Family “A” has 1600 square feet of groomed lawn in their backyard with a poplar, a couple of non-fruiting shrubs, and a small plot of annuals they purchase each year at the garden centre. They spend an average of about 2 hours per week making a trip to the grocery store, using about 5 dollars worth of gas each trip. There, they spend an average of $200 on essentials such as food, most of which is highly processed, and lacking in nutritional value. Much of this food also comes in plastic, aluminum, and cardboard containers. Each of the packaged food items, in fact, uses fossil fuels and time to produce, not to mention the same fuels, in addition to chemicals such as pesticides used in the production of the food-crops while creating the end-products themselves. Once the food arrives home, it is placed in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, their extensive lawn requires mowing almost weekly due to the chemical fertilizers they have used. Yet they still must constantly tend to its water needs during the dry season. Their flower bed requires regular maintenance as well, including yearly trips to the garden centre to purchase annuals costing hundreds of dollars each year. They even water with chemical fertilizers and use herbicides in order to keep the landscape looking pristine. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. And for what as an end product? More work.
Now let’s look at family “B”. They have a 1000 square foot space in their yard which has been irrigated with water runoff from their household roof, the water is then channeled through various trenches and swales which are also mulched, and inter-planted with various species of mutually beneficial, food-bearing plants, which not only hold good soil in place, but create new soil, while tremendously slowing evaporation and water loss. In fact, the runoff from their roof is virtually enough to keep the entire garden moist for the full growing season. For Calgary’s average rainfall, using a 500 sq. ft roof (which is relatively small) nearly 15,000 liters of water on average can be harvested annually. The time spent watering, therefore is virtually nil. In addition to this, the fact that the species of plants varies greatly, and that they vary in height, etc., there is little to no weeding, and very few insect pests, as they are not drawn to a large proportion of plants at once.
This is just the beginning of where permaculture can have a positive effect. When we begin to look at how rainwater runoff can be integrated into plumbing, how greywater can be used to supplement garden watering, or how fast-growing vines covering a southern wall can cool a home in summer, or adding a chicken element to the backyard for added nitrogen to help plant growth and with their eggs, add protein and omega fatty acids to meals, along with other benefits, the possibilities are countless.
Ideally, when compared to traditional methods of land use such as industrial farming which perpetually demand more and more energy consumption and yield less and less, permaculture over time, results in more output from the land than the energy that was initially put in through labour. It emphasizes cooperation, rather than competition between organisms as the ultimate means of survival and life's necessities. Ultimately, permaculture seeks to alleviate our dependency on fallible, wasteful and destructive systems and allows the individual to take control of his or her own survival, placing power back in the hands of the private citizen.
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