of “permanent culture” or “permanent agriculture,” the
permaculture concept has been around since the late 1970’s.
Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist, developed this system
along with David Holmgren, one of his students. Permaculture
combines principles from the fields of ecology, architecture,
horticulture and agriculture. It also incorporates
philosophies from economic, legal, and land use systems and is
utilized by individuals, businesses and communities.
Permaculture involves design strategies for creating
sustainable human habitats by following the patterns of nature
and focusing on environmental preservation techniques.
Numerous textbooks and pamphlets are available to assist with
devising garden and greenhouse arrangements, foliage placement
and even where to position your home on a lot.
Landscape principles are integral to the permaculture
philosophy. The importance of designing ecologically friendly
garden areas is a major focal point. This is accomplished
through maximizing solar energy use and water consumption,
strategically locating annual and perennial plants, and
manipulating the micro-climate near your garden and home. The
practice of multiple-use agricultural and horticultural
concepts is an ideology that is used in permaculture design.
For instance, grape vines may function as a food source,
hedge, wind-barrier, and also provide a shaded area for other
foods that require partial sun exposure. A pond strategically
placed uphill from a garden space can provide natural
irrigation for your food-producing area during dry weather
while acting as a barrier to keep animals from entering.
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Permaculture teaches methodologies such as crop rotation,
organic fertilization, recycling and composting. This includes
techniques to attract bees and butterflies to gardens for the
purpose of germination, sheet mulching techniques, or treating
and using grey waste water in your garden.
The permaculture movement has reaped surprising benefits
worldwide. An inner-city area in San Francisco, Hunter’s
Point, created a permaculture community to respond to
pollution, poverty and the high crime rate in the area. A
youth development agency was created to help fight the
poverty, violence and drug abuse prevalent in the community.
The agency provides the adolescents of Hunter’s Point with
training in the permaculture philosophy as well as giving them
a sense of family and community responsibility. The benefits
to the environment and to the attitudes of the citizens have
provided hope for a higher quality of life in a neighborhood
that was consumed with ecological, social and economic
hardships. This Hunter’s Point plan has been a blueprint for
many other programs that have been developed nationwide.
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Dan Flixton 2009