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Permaculture Design

Permaculture is a merging of two words, permanent agriculture. Originally used as a systematic process in the 60’s by Austrian Farmer Sep Holzer but later founded, practiced and researched during the 70’s by Australian Bill Mollison.

This is a process that works in harmony with nature by reproducing the natural processes and elliminating wasted energy and resources.

Some of the simplest and most effective methods are to simply shape the land so that water run off is slowed down considerably allowing it to be absorbed slower and last longer. This can be in the form of terracing cut across hills or ditches (or swales) dug into surfaces to allow them to fill up and slowly trickle over. This water catchment is something that we use already in our homes in the shape of water barrels and water storage systems , but if incorporated into the land, it will essentially become self sufficient and work in it’s own natural way while offering us the fruits of our initial labour year after year!

Companion planting also comes under the umbrella of permaculture wherby giving a host plant for predator insects to elliminate pests helps to cancel out pesticides, genius!

The subject has been taught in many countries by a select few that live the permaculture design lifestyle and has since grown exponentially.

PERMACULTURE DESIGN PRINCIPLES

For residential use or to plan a sustainable permaculture design in any space, zones are used to record and design what will go where.

Zone 1 – The kitchen garden, plants that need regular maintenance.

Zone 2 – Compost bins, animals that will need regular feeding.

Zone 3 – Plants and shrubs grow with low maintenance but still producing

Zone 4 – A wilder part of woodland but still maintained.

Zone 5 – No management is needed for this area. This will be woodland and will be the most sustainable part of the whole process. Eventually this can spread allowing you to be as self sufficient and sustainable as you wish.

There are many more methods such as aquaponics that go hand in hand with these processes and can present anyone struggling financially, suffering health problems or even looking for a cleaner lifestyle with a whole world of new opportunities.

Parts of Africa, Australia and many other deserts in the world have been transformed by the methods used in permaculture by shaping the land to hold any water that may fall and green what was once sand. It has also showed people living in third world countries ways to make the most of their surroundings and sustain it to bring consistent promise to poverty stricken regions.

Not only is it the poor that are learning these beneficial methods but everyday city dwellers who are looking for ways to save money and water in an ever more populated city are using the process on a more contained form. Even if that is just a rainwater barrel, the benefits, no matter what the area, are endless.

Below is a video of the first part of the permaculture design course taught by one of the most influentual people in the education of permaculture, Geoff Lawton.




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