Introduction to Permaculture
Much more than just a gardening technique, Permaculture is a philosophy for a sustainable way of life. We didnt know about permaculture until a customer made us aware it so we decided to find out more. As we learnt about principles and ethics behind permaculture it became quickly apparent that at The Source a lot of our messaging and view is indeed rooted in Permaculture ideas. So we thought we would share a bit. .
What is Permaculture?
At its core Permaculture is a philosophy and practice deeply rooted in working harmoniously with nature. It's principles are Care for the earth, Care for people, and Fair Share - which guide all its practices.It isn’t just planting a few trees or starting a vegetable garden, or only about organic agricculture, rather it’s a holistic approach to sustainable living and land use. It’s a design system for ecological and sustainable living; integrating plants, animals, landscapes, structures, and humans into a symbiotic and self-supporting system.
Just think, who tends to a forest or any natural landscape? Noone right, yet the trees still grow, bear fruit and flower, and other plants animals thrive. Organisms rely on each other for sustenance but also protection in turn creating a complex eco-system.
12 Permaculture Principles:
- Observe and interact (“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”)
- Catch and store energy (“Make hay while the sun shines”)
- Obtain a yield (“You cannot work on an empty stomach”)
- Apply self regulation and accept feedback (“The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”)
- Produce no waste (“Waste not, want not”)
- Use renewable resources and services (“Let nature take its course”)
- Design from pattern to detail (“Can’t see the wood for the trees”)
- Integrate rather than segregate (“Many hands make light work”)
- Use small and slow solutions (“The bigger they are the harder they fall”)
- Use and value diversity (“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”)
- Use edges and value the marginal (“Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well-beaten path”)
- Creatively use and respond to change (“Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”)
In the last section below we explore how some of these principles can be applied to our daily lives.
This is just about farming and gardening right?
Not quite. Permaculture isn’t just for the green-fingered among us; it’s a lifestyle choice that encourages us to rethink our impact on the planet. It’s about making conscious decisions that support sustainable living, from the food we eat and how and what we buy, to the way we design our living spaces. In many ways permaculture offers a guide to living a sustainable future that respects the earth and all its inhabitants. It’s a pathway to creating sustainable communities, reducing our carbon footprint, and living more harmoniously on this one planet.
Applying Permaculture Principles to my modern day life
All of us can apply some of the Permaculture principles to our daily lives - in fact I think we already naturally do as these principles stem from nature and therefore come naturally to us. It’s a something is better than nothing approach, none of us are perfect, we can’t always avoid plastic or waste or flying and sometimes we need to do what’s easiest and most convenient. We just need to try do different or moderate next time, and definitely give ourselves a break when we aren’t perfect.
Observe and interact
Making conscious decisions when buying things, especially bigger purchase items. Do I really need X,Y or Z. Often by not buying then and there, when it shows on your socials but rather taking a day to think about whether you need it means not buying it at all. Most of us have what we need.
Catch and store energy
When am I at my best? I am most motivated in the morning so getting some exercise in before work has always worked to keep me consistent. What foods make me feel good and full of energy? What makes me feel bad? What impact will a late night have on what I had planned tomorrow?
Obtain a yield
It is important that what we grow and cultivate in our lives should offer us a yield or a benefit in return. Do I spend my energy on things that give maximum yield? Are you yielding what you want from your efforts? Do you get more than just money from your work but a sense of fulfilment and belonging?
Apply self regulation and accept feedback
The idea for this principle is to consider and be open to accepting feedback. Whether that be from your family, friends, co-workers and even your own body. Often we feel when something is not right.
Produce no waste
Consider our lives and where we spend our time, resources and energy, are we creating waste or being wasteful? Do we waste our time (social media scrolling, procrastinating)? Does our buying and consumption create more waste than it has to - here is where shopping plastic free and buying organic from us helps!
Integrate rather than segregate
This involves thinking about how we can share our resources and abundance with those in need while also being open to receiving from others where we have gaps. It's about fostering collaborations and partnerships that not only benefit us individually but also contribute to the greater good, creating outcomes that are more impactful than what we could achieve alone. By engaging in this shared ecosystem of give and take, we can build a more cohesive and supportive community.
Use small and slow solutions
There the power in making incremental changes in our lives. Imagine the impact if many aspects of our lives were enhanced by just a few percent. This perspective encourages us to focus on small, manageable changes that can lead to a better life. Rather than striving for big statement all of nothing changes that our culture often glorifies, such as drastic weight loss or dramatic increases in wealth and status, we should embrace subtle yet sustainable modifications. These small changes are not only easier to integrate into our daily routines but also tend to have a lasting effect. Simple actions like a meat free day, making an effort to reduce plastic, saying no to a coffee cup (because you have a reusable one) or plastic bag. Embracing slow, patient changes can be the key to lasting and meaningful improvement.
** Cover and banner image from https://www.ktshepherdpermaculture.com/free-to-use-illustrations.html