Permaculture was created by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the mid-1970’s as a response to the pollution and destruction of the land and its natural resources. It is a philosophy they developed from observing nature and utilizing the wisdom of natural systems. In Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison, he defines permaculture as “… a design system for creating sustainable human environments. […} The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long term.”
The foundation of permaculture is built on three ethics: care of earth, care of people, and fair share. To illustrate how the ethics are applied, we can consider the act of planting a pear tree. Planting the tree cares for the earth by creating a niche ecosystem, exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen, shading the ground, feeding the worms and soil organisms, supplying pollen for bees, habitat for animals, and countless other benefits. Planting the pear tree cares for people by providing fruit to eat, shade, the aesthetic beauty of the tree, and pruned wood can be used for mulch or energy. Fair share means we think of others and only take what we need, leaving enough for other people and future generations to enjoy. Planting near a neighbors yard or public area, allows others to access fruit and share in your bounty, generating good will. Fair share includes maintaining the health of the tree so that it lives a long and fruitful life to supply fruit for the next homeowner or generation.
There are also twelve permaculture design principles that evolved from 'systems ecology' and create the framework for designing permaculture systems. Incorporating vermicomposting (worm composting) into your kitchen or garden practices principles #5, #6, and #9.
Of course this is just the beginning. Once your eyes open to see the amazing power of permaculture, you won't be able to imagine any other way of thinking or designing.
We look forward to seeing you at one of our classes where we will explore all aspects of Permaculture.