Permaculture is an approach to the design of sustainable systems and a system of agriculture that works in harmony with natural processes, with minimal labor costs and without harming the environment.
The term "permaculture" emerged as a combination of the terms "sustainable culture" and "sustainable agriculture". Permaculture was developed in the 1970s by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.
This this caused by a rapid degradation of land and water resources due to modern agriculture. Bill and David started publishing books. Molison gave lectures all over the world, teaching hundreds of students in his 2-week Natural Design course (which turned into a Permaculture Design Certification Course). Their ideas spread from agriculture to eco-settlements. Started in Australia, permaculture became an international movement. In Europe, this method was used systematically by the Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer.
Permaculture's philosophy is based on three ethical principles:
CARE FOR THE EARTH
CARE FOR PEOPLE
David Holmgren formulated 12 basic principles of permaculture:
1. Observe and Interact
By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
2. Catch and Store Energy
By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
3. Obtain a yield
Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work you are doing.
4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback
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
Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
6. Produce No Waste
By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
7. Design From Patterns to Details
By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filling in as we go.
8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate
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
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
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
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
We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.
The basic tool of permaculture is the design, the functional organization of space. The ability to identify and communicate with all elements of the environment will allow a harmonious arrangement of the site. You can learn such design at the annual permaculture design certification course.