What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is a system of design principles that emphasize the mutually beneficial relationships that already exist in nature for the purpose of creating agriculturally productive, stable and resilient ecosystems that meet humanity’s basic needs (food, shelter, clean-water, energy, beauty, and community) and simultaneously supports and sustains the biodiversity of Life.
A permaculture designer or practitioner is not creating anything new. Their role is to actively observe relationships, patterns and systems in nature and based on the needs or goals at hand, use the information and resources available to design and nurture a sustainable and productive landscape. That’s the whole point! By working with Nature’s systems, deepening our understanding, being intuned and caring for Her resources our needs can be met. It’s an approach to and redefinition of how we use and manage land (some a small plot in the city to acres in a rural area) that considers the bigger picture while valuing each element and consideration as having a unique relationship, purpose and value to the whole system.
Ethics of Permaculture:
- Earth Care- respecting and nurturing all living and non-living things that share this earth
- People Care- love, care and respect for self, neighbor and community
- Fair Share- share or return surplus to earth or people
1) Working With Nature Rather than Against Her (constant process, never ends)
Observe, respect and work with Nature’s patterns to meet your needs.
2) The Problem is the Solution
Viewing every seeming “problem” as an opportunity or solution.For example, the excess of cooking oil from commercial kitchens can be used as energy to power vehicles.
3) Catch and Store Energy (ex. rain water, passive, solar, windpower)
4) Make the Least Change for the Greatest Possible Effect
Minimize unnecessary effort. Instead of digging up your lawn by hand (an enormous effort that will probably result in the lawn’s regrowth due to the fact that it is very difficult to dig up all the roots), sheet mulch instead! Cover that lawn with biomass, and let the lawn decompose and turn into topsoil with the help of worms, bacteria, and fungi. Nature does the work, and you are left with rich, living topsoil (and a healthy back).
5) Integrate rather than Segregate (Stacking Functions)
For example, a tool shed can serve to store tools, collect rainwater from the roof, seed starting or transplanting, an organizational place for garden/farm notes and tasks, even provide a place of shelter and shade while working.
6) Use and Value renewable resources and services
take inventory of the resources available to you (ex. timber, rock, skills and tools within your community)
7) Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
For example, consumption of food water and energy. Is the system working efficiently? if not, what connections or relationships are you missing?
8) Obtain a yield– design only to bring about a yield and meet a need.
9) Produce no waste– by valuing and using the resources we have available to use nothing goes to waste. Sometimes this requires creativity!
10) Design from patterns to details- by stepping back and looking at and assessing the big picture we can begin to map out a design based off of patterns. The details fill in as we go.
11) Use Small and Slow Solutions- starting small is more practical and sustainable to maintain. Build as you go and at a pace that make sense.
12) Use and Value Diversity– diversity creates strong, stable and resilient relationships where each element or species has a unique purpose and quality that support those around them.
13) Use Edges and Value the Marginal- The intersection between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
Restoring Roots Co-op applies these principles not only through the means of working consciously and sustainably with the living eco-system but also through the social structures and organization of our business, cooperatively!