Permaculture Basics

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles that seek to simulate natural ecosystems.  It has many branches including design, construction, engineering, and, of course, agriculture.  The basic philosophy is to work with nature, not against it.  There are three core tenets of permaculture:

  • Care for the earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply.  This is the first principle, because with an unhealthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
  • Care for the people: Provision for people to access the resources necessary for their existence.
  • Return of surplus: Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics.  This includes recycling waste, sharing surplus, and using no more than what you need.

Permaculture uses observation of nature to create regenerative systems.  A number of gardening and agricultural techniques are considered a part of permaculture:

  • Agroforestry – incorporating trees and shrubs with livestock and crops.
  • Hügelkultor – the practice of burying large volumes of wood to improve soil water retention and fertility.
  • Natural Building – a philosophy of building design that seeks to lessen the ecological impact of buildings.
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Sheet Mulching
  • Intensive Rotational Grazing
  • Fruit Tree Management
  • Compost Management

As you can see, permaculture is a very broad topic, and many aspects of permaculture can be incorporated into your landscape.  Interested in learning more?  Join us Monday at 6 pm in Mason, WV for “Natural Gardening Using Ducks as Pest Assassins”.