Permaculture is practical, grass roots sustainability in action. It provides immediate tools for people to reduce their environmental footprint and build resilient communities. It is a creative design process that is based on ethics and design principles. It guides us to mimic the patterns and relationships we can find in nature and can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and even economics. When applied to gardening it suggests that not only can we grow food almost anywhere – from fruit shrubs in patio pots to vines on fences – but we can get higher yields with less effort simply by mimicking nature.

International Permaculture Day – May 3rd 2015 – the day we will celebrate probably the most important efforts by us to repair the damage already done and to cease our continuing damaging practices – Permaculture.

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Permaculture is practical, grass roots sustainability in action. It provides immediate tools for people to reduce their environmental footprint and build resilient communities. It is a creative design process that is based on ethics and design principles. It guides us to mimic the patterns and relationships we can find in nature and can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and even economics. When applied to gardening it suggests that not only can we grow food almost anywhere – from fruit shrubs in patio pots to vines on fences – but we can get higher yields with less effort simply by mimicking nature.

NOTE: At GreenMyLife, we can help you set up a permaculture driven green space if you are in Bangalore – get in touch for our landscape design services.

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Central to permaculture are the three ethics which form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies:

  • Care for the earth – Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish
  • Care for people – Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
  • Fair share – Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics. This includes returning waste back into the system to recycle into usefulness

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There are 12 permaculture design principles as described by David Holmgren in hid permaculture ‘Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability’:

  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
    By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
    By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a Yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
    Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
  4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
    We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
    Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
    By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
    By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
    By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
    Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
    Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
    The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
    We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.

    NOTE: At GreenMyLife, we can help you set up a permaculture driven green space if you are in Bangalore – get in touch for our landscape design services.

Happy gardening

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