What Is Permaculture' - www.kninfocare.blogspot.com*

What is permaculture and what are its benefits?

Permaculture is a method of farming that is very different from traditional farming. It is more complex and environmentally friendly than traditional farming and it is very long lasting. These include crop diversification, growing multiple crops together in one area, and using more perennial plants.

Although the term permaculture is relatively new, the term permanent agriculture first originated in 1929. Many of the methods used in this type of farming are very old and traditional and can be found in many indigenous cultures around the world.

To understand permaculture and what makes it different from traditional farming, it helps to look at traditional western farming and bring awareness to what we assume.

Modern Western agriculture

Modern western agriculture is characterized by crop monoculture. Typically, the land is cleared and different parcels of land are dedicated to growing different crops. Crops can be rotated over the years or divided into patches or strips, but are usually prevented somehow in space or time. Many crops grown in this way are annual crops, grown only in one season. In western agriculture, farmland or arable land is spread over most of the miles, with only small buffers of forest area in crop lands.

Permaculture violates all these assumptions or standard practices. In permaculture, many crops are often grown in a single plot in such a way as to increase the total productivity and reduce the problems of pests and weeds.

Environmental principles that inform permaculture

The difference between permaculture and mainstream western agriculture can be seen as the difference between the environmental approach to agriculture and the mechanical method. While Western agriculture seeks to control or control nature, permaculture is based on working with nature.
Thus permaculture requires an in-depth knowledge of plants, animals and their relationship to each other, but they can potentially yield great benefits.

Advantages and benefits of permaculture

The most immediate and attractive advantage of permaculture is the huge increased yield of crops. Although Western monoculture farming is the most productive way of yielding a single crop per acre, in permaculture, combining multiple crops on the same land, the total yield of all combined crops can be very high. For commercial farmers, this means higher incomes and for homeowners, it can mean a larger amount of total food production.

It also reduces the need for inputs like permaculture fertilizers and often eliminates the need for herbicides and pesticides completely. Although the labor for the initial setup for a variety of permaculture methods can be very high, long-term maintenance can be greatly reduced, especially the need for weed removal. By recycling chemical inputs and organic waste products from plants and animals, using them as fertilizer, permaculture also reduces pollution.

The result is an epic victory for both sustainability and financial output.

Flexibility and adaptability

Permaculture is also more flexible in unusual weather conditions such as unusually dry, wet, hot or cold. The increased variety of crops provides a buffer or safety measure, as different plants have different levels of resistance to different types of adverse conditions. But the increased total biomass, which is consistent with more stored water, more buffer against the wind and the ability to cool more in hot weather, also translates to increased flexibility of the farming system with extreme weather events.

Crop diversity is also an economic buffer, which helps protect farmers from price fluctuations, such as the gluten of a particular crop can lead to lower prices for that year.
The result is a system that is not only more productive but also more flexible, stable and predictable in the long run.

Examples of traditional permaculture

Native Americans in North America used a method of growing three seedlings in the same area, called three sisters, beans, corn, and squash. These crops complement each other in terms of environment as well as nutrition. The corn will grow straight and provide a pillar for the beans to climb. Corn needed more nitrogen, but beans were a nitrogen fixer. Squash, which has a habit of planting vines, but is more widespread, covers the ground and removes weeds. Squash also covers the soil by retaining moisture. Crop harvesting produces more complete protein for the human diet than just beans or corn will provide.

A sustainable system is any system to that in its lifetime can produce more energy than it takes to establish and maintain it. Permaculture Design is the first system of conscious function design in the world. That’s its unique aspect. And functional design is sustainable. Permaculture was a concept that Bill Mollisonand I worked on in the 70s. Today, well, call it sustainability. They based it on a simple question related to the design of agriculture. If most of nature dominated by perennial plants, tree and long leaf plants, why is our agriculture dominated by annual crops? Why doesn’t it follow the design rules of nature? We’ve got used to the idea that for any key problem or important activity there’s one big solution that trumps all others and some version of it ends up everywhere. 

 

Once you deal with nature and local resources, local situations, then the design solutions are all different. When you look at a complete system, there are two things that are very undesirable. One is work and the other is pollution. Pollution is a product of work. Work results from not supplying every component in your system with its needs. Now let’s put that in another way… If you didn’t put a tank on your chicken house, you got to carry the water to the chickens. So you incur work. Now if you didn’t collect the eggs from the chicken house, that’s pollution. So pollution is an unused resource. It didn’t go somewhere where it would use. It was actually the entire way we related to nature. So human settlements, the design of houses… the way we organise everything in society was a part of that. It comes from two Latin words “Permanens”:to persist indefinitely. “Cultura”: The Practices that support human occupation. Put those together, it’s a persistent system that supports human existence. We eat food, we grow a garden, why don’t we grow our food in the garden and bring those things back together. Rather than the industrial system which spread severy thing out in these long supply chains. Another thing that’s extraordinarily intriguing; when you design well, nature takes hold of what you’ve done and does it better. All you got to do is watch the system and guide it slightly. So, Permaculture is really a design system for both sustainable land use and sustainable living. I suppose the simplest thing to say is; an attempt to build a wonderful place to live.

Sustainable Agriculture

 
Sustainable agriculture relies on healthy soil. That means the plants will require less water than non-organic farms. In a sustainable farm, farmers keep their soil healthy with organic farming techniques. The quality of soil will vary by location. Using organic practices makes it easier to control the soil because it has been already mixed by the farmer. You can use techniques such as vermicomposting to prevent the soil from becoming depleted and break down organic material. It can also contribute nutrients for healthy crops.
 

 

Three parts to the permaculture design process

At the foundation of all permaculture projects is an inter-relationship between design principles and practical applications, and between principles and practical application. Permaculture design is founded on principles, and these principles are intended to provide a sustainable balance for people and the environment. These principles can be summed up as:
First Principles – It is the first principle to begin with a review of our underlying assumptions of sustainability, and a desire to set a new direction for our society and our environment. These are often referred to as the principles of resilience and an ecological approach to design.
Second Principles – There are three principles that govern the permaculture design process: Design is about the production of resources. The design process promotes efficiency and provides a focus for the planning and designing process.
Third Principles – Permaculture design is a research-based design approach; the outcome of the design process is design, which results in effective and profitable solutions. Each project should be evaluated on its results.
The principles are clearly identified, but not explained in much detail.
These principles create the design framework that defines how the design process progresses. They are not set in stone. It is important to use these principles as guidelines for designing our projects, but not as definite roadmaps. We still have much to learn about sustainability.

 

 

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