Permaculture (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 people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order. Permaculture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms. ~ Bill Mollison (Designers Manual p ix)
It is a Holistic design science that consciously integrates sustainable human settlements with regenerative ecosystems, mimicing the stability, autonomy and synergy inherent in natural systems. It is simply put, the wisdom of setting things in their right balance and place. Good design is one that recognizes then emulates the synergies and patterns of interaction which naturally exist between elements, therefore reducing input, time and labor.
To do this, permaculture uses a diverse set of principals some of which are:
- Working with rather than against Nature.
- Polycultures and diversity as opposed to Monocultures.
- Agricultural practices that regenerate soils rather than degrade them.
- Water conservation through water harvesting, heavy mulching, composting, water recharge, anti evaporation strategies.
- All waste is recycled, outputs of each element in the system are used by other elements, and all inputs are provided by more that one element.
- Eliminated dependency on Big-Agro products (Hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, Feedstock)
- Ethical conduct: Care of the earth, care of the people, sharing surplus, fair share
- Energy efficiency, appropriate technology and relative location
- Plant stacking and accelerated successions