Permaculture and Me

I’ve found all the posts on facebook so depressing today that I’m going to side step them and talk about something that cheers me up: Permaculture!

I’ve never done a permaculture course, so I’m no kind of expert. I’ve done a bit of reading, a lot of which I’ve forgotten. I’m too tired to do research (don’t ask). So this is a stream of consciousness rap on the subject.

I can’t remember when I first heard of permaculture, it would have been in the early 1980’s most likely. It resonated with me mightily. I have long believed that we live on one small planet where everything is interrelated. Everything effects everything. Nothing is without knock on effects. And that belief is at the heart of permaculture.

As I understand it permaculture, as a term, was coined by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison in the late 1970’s in Australia. They had noticed that nature was really good at creating an abundance without human intervention. This was a pretty radical thought. Maybe modern food growing wasn’t the best way.

In Japan, Masanobu Fukuoka was considered strange by his farming neighbours. He grew most of his crops on a perennial basis. Instead of constantly digging and fertilizing and weed killing, he farmed gently, disturbing the soil as little as possible, growing plants in the places where they thrived. These places he chose by observation, by being very much connected with his land.

So the idea that maybe nature knows best how nature works rooted in my mind. And the idea that we should bugger about with the land as little as possible, do as little harm as possible, seemed good to me. I like permaculture, it makes sense to me.

Also like the “every problem is an opportunity” approach to things. I wish I could feel like it more often. I like reed beds, or anaerobic digesters, as ways of dealing with human excreta.

I love the idea that you can grow at least some of your own food wherever you live. On a window sill, in pots, in a garden, on a smallholding, in a forest garden, on a farm, it can all be permaculture, it’s about the approach, not the scale. Companion planting, soil health, organic growing, using natural solutions to the problems nature throws at you. It feels very right to my thinking.

The problem is, I’ve never done it. I’ve never been very patient and it takes time and patience to set up permaculture growing. But now, I finally feel that I might be able to try. I love trees, I love the idea of a forest garden. We’ve got some plants in pots… Who knows where it may lead.


Permaculture One, David Holmgren & Bill Mollison

One Straw Revolution, Masanobu Fukuoka


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