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Carol 10-10-2008 03:18 PM

Permaculture Design
 
Permaculture Design

Permaculture Mandala summarising the ethics and principles of permaculture design.The word permaculture, coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s, is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture as well as permanent culture. Through a series of publications, Mollison, Holmgren and their associates documented an approach to designing human settlements, in particular the development of perennial agricultural systems that mimic the structure and interrelationship found in natural ecologies.

Permaculture design principles extend from the position that "The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children" (Mollison, 1990). The intent was that that by rapidly training individuals in a core set of design principles, that those individuals could become designers of their own environments and able to build increasingly self-sufficient human settlements that reduce societies reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution that Mollison identified as fundamentally and systematically destroying the earths ecosystems.

While originating as an agroecological design theory, permaculture has developed a large international following of individuals who have received training through intensive two week long 'permaculture design courses'. This 'permaculture community' continues to expand on the original teachings of Mollison and his associates, integrating a range of alternative cultural ideas, through a network of trainings, publications, permaculture gardens, and internet forums. In this way permaculture has become both a design system as well as a loosely defined philosophy or lifestyle ethic.

Permaculture principles draw heavily on the practical application of ecological theory to analyze the characteristics and potential relationships between design elements. Each element of a design is carefully analyzed in terms of its needs, outputs, and properties. For example a chicken needs water, moderated microclimate, food and other chickens, and produces meat, eggs, feathers, manure while doing a lot of scratching. Design elements are then assembled in relation to one another so that the products of one element feed the needs of adjacent elements. Synergy between design elements is achieved while minimizing waste and the demand for human labor or energy. Exemplary permaculture designs evolve over time, and can become extremely complex mosaics of conventional and inventive cultural systems that produce a high density of food and materials with minimal input. While techniques and cultural systems are freely borrowed from organic agriculture, sustainable forestry, horticulture, agroforestry, and the land management systems of indigenous peoples, permaculture's fundamental contribution to the field of ecological design is the development of a concise set of broadly applicable organizing principles that can be transferred through a brief intensive training.

Origins
In the mid 1970s, two Australians, Dr. Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, started to develop ideas that they hoped could be used to create stable agricultural systems. This was a result of their perception of a rapidly growing use of destructive industrial-agricultural methods. They saw that these methods were poisoning the land and water, reducing biodiversity, and removing billions of tons of soil from previously fertile landscapes. A design approach called "permaculture" was their response and was first made public with the publication of Permaculture One in 1978.

The term permaculture initially meant "permanent agriculture" but this was quickly expanded to also stand for "permanent culture" as it was seen that social aspects were an integral part of a truly sustainable system. Mollison and Holmgren are widely considered to be the co-originators of the modern permaculture concept.

After the publication of Permaculture One, Mollison and Holmgren further refined and developed their ideas by designing hundreds of permaculture sites and organizing this information into more detailed books. Mollison lectured in over eighty countries and his two-week Design Course was taught to many hundreds of students. By the early 1980s, the concept had moved on from being predominantly about the design of agricultural systems towards being a more fully holistic design process for creating sustainable human habitats.

By the mid 1980s, many of the students had become successful practitioners and had themselves begun teaching the techniques they had learned. In a short period of time permaculture groups, projects, associations, and institutes were established in over one hundred countries. In 1991 a Television documentary by ABC productions called 'The Global Gardener' showed permaculture applied to a range of world-wide situations, bringing the concept to a much broader public.

Permaculture has developed from its origins in Australia into an international 'movement'. English permaculture teacher Patrick Whitefield, author of The Earth Care Manual and Permaculture in a Nutshell, suggests that there are now two strands of permaculture: a) Original and b) Design permaculture. Original permaculture attempts to closely replicate nature by developing edible ecosystems which closely resemble their wild counterparts. Design permaculture takes the working connections at use in an ecosystem and uses them as its basis. The end result may not look as "natural" as a forest garden, but still has an underlying design based on ecological principles.

Modern permaculture
Modern permaculture is a system design tool. It is a way of
1. looking at a whole system or problem
2. seeing connections between key elements (parts)
3. observing how the parts relate,
4. planning to mend sick systems by applying ideas learnt from long-term sustainable working systems.
In permaculture, we are learning from the working systems of nature to plan to fix the sick landscapes of human agricultural and city systems. We can apply systems thinking to the design of a kitchen tool as easily to the re-design of a farm. In permaculture we apply it to everything we need in order to build a sustainable future. Commonly, “Initiatives that are taken tend to evolve from strategies that focus on efficiency (for example, more accurate and controlled uses of inputs and minimisation of waste) to substitution (for example, from more to less disruptive interventions, such as from biocides to more specific biological controls and other more benign alternatives) to redesign -- fundamental changes in the design and management of the operation (Hill & MacRae 1995, Hill et al 1999)." "Permaculture is about helping people make redesign choices: setting new goals and a shift in thinking that effects not only their home but their actions in the workplace, borrowings and investments" (A Sampson-Kelly and Michel Fanton 1991). Examples include the design and employment of complex transport solutions, optimum use of natural resources such as sun light, "radical design of information-rich, multi-storey polyculture systems" (Mollison & Slay 1991). "This progression generally involves a shift in the nature of one’s dependence -- from relying primarily on universal, purchased, imported, technology-based interventions to more specific locally available knowledge and skill-based ones. This usually eventually also involves fundamental shifts in world-views, senses of meaning, and associated lifestyles (Hill 1991). My experience is that although efficiency and substitution initiatives can make significant contributions to sustainability over the short term, much greater longer-term improvements can only be achieved by redesign strategies; and, furthermore, that Steps need to be taken at the outset to ensure that efficiency and substitution strategies can serve as stepping stones and not barriers to redesign...” (Hill 2000)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture


http://you-can-do-it.typepad.com/permaculture_design/
Create a beautiful and productive organic garden with little money or effort

http://www.lostvalley.org/epcp?gclid...FRz9IgodG2DCGw
Integrating Sustainability for the Land, Built Environment, and Human Communities on the Village Scale and Beyond
We are currently accepting registration for: Fall Ecovillage and Permaculture Certificate Program (October 1 - 28, 2007) and Winter Permaculture Design Course (November 29 - December 13, 2007).
These dynamic programs are about learning solutions to environmental and social problems that we can implement in our own lives, in our local communities, and on larger scales. In doing so, we develop skills that help us foster communities that are more ecologically regenerative, socially cooperative, and personally satisfying.
These courses provide a holistic overview of the concepts and practices of permaculture.

http://www.sustainableabc.com/permaculture.html

"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."
Masanobu ***uoka
Seed International: Sustainable Education and Ecological Design

SEED International has assisted individuals, businesses, community-based organisations, and local and regional governments in over 15 countries, and offers a range of Ecoliteracy and Ecodesign Consultancy services


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