(permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and
maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have
the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural
ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and
man providing food, energy, shelter, and other
material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.
A new way to garden successfully
principles in today's environmentally conscious world can work
to make every gardener more successful in all fields of
gardening including growing crops, garden design, rearing
harvesting and more. I first saw the advantages of
permaculture when I visited a 'forest garden' some years ago.
The principle of this 'forest garden' was to grow crops in a
way that replicated a natural forest. The trees and shrubs
were tightly packed in layers from the tall fruit trees 'the
canopy' to medium fruit trees, small fruit trees and shrubs,
climbers right down to herbaceous crops and root vegetables.
All this was grown organically working with nature rather than
against it. This idea was the brainchild of the UK's late
permaculture pioneer Robert Hart.
Photo of Robert Hart's
by Graham Burnett - Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
One of the most
amazing things I found in this garden, of which there were
many, was the soil. After years of 'chop and drop' mulching -
a practice of growing fast growing leguminous crops and then
simply chopping them down for mulch, the soil was rich, very
rich, dark, full of life, worms, insects and very fertile.
Although I do not have a 'forest garden' I do use the
leguminous 'chop and drop' technique that works very
successfully for me.
I was always interested in 'forest gardening' ever since I
watched a film about Robert Hart and his garden when I was a
teenager. Incidentally I have found this video on YouTube and
have posted it below. There is more to permaculture than
simply 'forest gardening'. With research and practice I
believe everyone can benefit from the practices of
permaculture in their own garden and that the worldwide
implications for its use would be life changing, which in my
view is a necessity.
- Forest Gardening with Robert Hart
DVD contains archive footage of Robert Hart, the founder
of Forest Gardening, who some forty-five years ago had a
vision of planting a small food-producing forest, which
could fulfill the needs of a healthy diet and at the
same time create a beautiful and ecologically sound
environment. He based his ideas on tropical forest
gardens, which combine maximum output with minimum
philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather
than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation
rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at
systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one
yield of them; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own
design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and
strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit
life in all its forms.
The first recorded modern practice of permaculture as a systematic method was by Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer in the 1960s, but the method was scientifically developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and their associates during the 1970s in a series of publications.
The word permaculture is described by Mollison as a portmanteau of permanent agriculture, and permanent culture.
The intent is that, by training individuals in a core set of design principles, those individuals can design their own environments and build increasingly self-sufficient human settlements — ones that reduce society's reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution that Mollison identified as fundamentally and systematically destroying Earth's ecosystems.
Considered to be the 'father of permaculture', an integrated system of design, co-developed with David
Holmgren, that encompasses not only agriculture, horticulture, architecture and ecology, but also economic systems, land access strategies and legal systems for businesses and communities.
Farmer, author and an international consultant for natural agriculture.
Coming from a line of farmers, he took over his parents' mountain farm business in 1962 and pioneered the use of ecological farming, or Permaculture, techniques at high altitudes (1100 to 1500 meters above sea
level) after being unsuccessful with regular farming methods.
Ecologist, ecological design engineer and writer. He is perhaps most well known as co-originator of the permaculture concept with Bill Mollison. Through the spread of permaculture around the world, his environmental principles have exerted a global influence.
Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher.
Geoff took over 'The Permaculture Research Institute' in
Australia after Bill Mollison retired in 1997. Lawton
has undertaken a large number of jobs consulting,
designing, teaching and implementing in over thirty
countries around the world. He has currently educated over 6,000 students in permaculture worldwide. Lawton's 'master plan' is
to see aid projects being replicated as fast as possible to help ameliorate the growing food and water crisis.
Hart was the pioneer of forest gardening in the UK. Forest gardening is a food production and land management system based on woodland ecosystems, but substituting trees (such as fruit or nut trees), bushes, shrubs, herbs and vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow on multiple levels in the same area, as do the plants in a forest.
Thompson talks about his experience of using
permaculture principles in a homestead in the remote
outback of South Australia.
We sat on the pretty veranda and discussed the job. “Do whatever you can in the time you have available but cover all your exposed areas with factor 50, drink plenty of water and make sure you constantly make loud noises, particularly by stamping your feet or hammering with your gardening tools on the ground”.
And that was a brief introduction to a few days worth of landscape gardening in a homestead in the remote outback of South Australia.
Drinking plenty of water made lots of sense. It’s hot! Down-under in the Australian outback
during the month of February is similar to our August. The factor 50 turned out to be a sun cream laced with zinc that was the necessary means of protection from the intense ultra violet rays that now bombard the whole continent, deprived of protection from the sun with the depletion of the ozone layer. This is a truly serious problem for Australians these days with the incidence of
melanomas almost endemic. As to the ‘make plenty of noise’ suggestion….well, that simply is
intended to ward off the local snake population which includes the two most venomous species on the planet. The ‘Brown snake’ and the fearsome ‘Red Bellied Black’, bites from which are never less than lethal.
This classic DVD
is an introduction to Permaculture (Permanent
Agriculture): the design of an ecologically sound way of
living in our households, gardens, communities and
businesses in co-operation with Nature. This DVD, whose
aim is to inspire people to start their own permaculture
projects, shows how it is practised in four very different