What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is the conscious creation of a paradise. It is planned and implemented a semi-natural habitat that satisfies all human needs and at the same time is self-perpetuating with as little effort as possible.
To put it simply, permaculture can be understood as a logical further development of organic farming, which has its origins in the anthroposophic foundations of the Demeter Association in the 1920s. It is only logical that vegetables grown in permaculture 100% comply with the current organic guidelines – and much more than that.
A sustainable alternative plan
Permaculture is a sustainable alternative to the prevailing industrial agricultural system. Industrial agriculture relies above all on monocultures, because this allows the yield to be maximized in the short term. But preserving a monoculture is only possible through the massive use of pesticides. To maximize yields, chemical fertilizers are often used. These practices pollute soil and water and reduce biodiversity, which in turn leads to a loss of previously fertile soils through erosion.
The destruction of nature has taken on a really questionable dimension in this day and age. At the same time, however, more and more people are becoming aware that the world will have no future if we do not change our ways of thinking and acting. Humanity needs sustainable and efficient systems, not only for food but also in all other areas. The permaculture movement is trying to plan and implement such systems.
Orientation to nature
Permaculture design is based on the model of nature. The observation of plants, animals and other elements serves as a basis for planning. Because the diverse ecosystems of nature are unsurpassed in terms of efficiency and sustainability. Ecosystems of perennial and self-propagating annual plants and animal species are planned and implemented in a small space.
In the process of implementation, the old knowledge of experience from different cultures is combined with the newer methods and techniques so that habitats can be designed that meet the basic human needs and are nevertheless ecologically sound.
A holistic approach
However, the principles of permaculture are no longer used only for agricultural projects. Meanwhile, social aspects are also included. It has become a holistic approach to the design of social settlement areas.
What else is permaculture?
The history of permaculture is still young. And yet a lot has happened. Meanwhile, it has become a social movement. And the rapid spread of these movements shows how rapidly these new ways of thinking are spreading. Today we still have time for a change of direction. We have the opportunity to create a paradise out of our planet where there is enough for everyone and where everyone can live together peacefully. The future will show how ready we are to go this way. Definitely, the chances are there. The opportunities and potentials have never been so great as today. Whether we will use it, however, is another question.
Beginnings & Development of Permaculture
The term “permanent agriculture” was used as early as 1911 by the American agronomist Franklin Hiram King to describe sustainable agricultural systems in China, Korea and Japan. But the development of permaculture did not begin until the 1970s. At that time, the Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren laid the foundation for today’s permaculture.
They recognized the destructiveness of the prevailing industrial agricultural system and developed a counter-proposal characterized by sustainability and efficiency. Above all they were inspired in their considerations by the organic farming, which was already well known in Europe at that time.
In 1978 Bill Mollison published the book “Permaculture One”
In 1978 Bill Mollison published his first book “Permaculture One”, in which he describes the new approach to permaculture. Then in 1981 he was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize for researching and describing the concept of semi-natural agriculture.
Mollison and Holmgren tested their design principles through hundreds of projects. They quickly realized that social aspects had to be included in the planning. Permaculture thus became a holistic approach to the planning and design of social settlement areas.
New insights broaden the approach to permaculture
Later, the permaculture approach was broadened by integrative thinking and insights from systems theory, cybernetics and deep ecology. Instead of only observing the individual components of a system, the interactions between the elements of a system are always included in observation and planning. This holistic approach assumes that an element can never be considered as separate from the entire system because the element-system interactions are an important part of the element. Attention is thus focused not only on the components of a system, but above all on the relationships between them.
Permaculture becomes an international movement
Today it is an international movement for spatial planning and design. The principles are also used for the areas of energy supply, landscape planning and for the design of social infrastructures.
Permaculture – the difference to organic.
As is the case for most of organic farming, 100 percent of permaculture is done without chemically-synthesized crop protection and fertilizers and genetically modified material. In permaculture, only organic supplement fertilizers or mulch are used, which protect soil and water. Above all, the soil should be kept as natural as possible during permaculture. Microorganisms in the natural humus layer of the soil ensure that the soil remains fertile. This in turn guarantees that fruits and vegetables grown in this way are full of vitamins and minerals.
In general, the focus is exclusively on the natural ecosystem and natural cycles. Thus, the permaculture providers cultivate their vegetables in mixed culture – as a result, different plants supply different nutrients they need – and moreover commit themselves to using water as sparingly as possible.
Another difference to the organic products of permaculture products is that fruits and vegetables deviate even more from the standard sizes of the fruit nowadays, since they grow even more naturally than pure organic products. Also, permaculture products are only available at their actual harvest time, and they contain seeds that themselves produce fruit-bearing crops – thus, unlike the hybrid seeds of the agricultural industry, they are seed-safe seed. Unlike organic, according to the guidelines of permaculture there should be no long transport routes. Organic potatoes from Egypt and organic apples from New Zealand, which land in this country in the shops, according to permaculture supporters are just a sign that bio does not mean a complete departure from industrial food production.