Saturday 6 July 2013

So What is Permaculture Exactly?

Virtually all of us (some without knowing it) lead lifestyles only made possible by the ‘scorched earth’ policies of our growth-focused society. We are wildly out of sync with the ecological imperatives facing us.

The Transition movement offers a methodology for building resilient communities at a local level, so where does permaculture fit in?

Permaculture is a discipline which seeks to observe and apply the principles of natural self-sustaining systems. Originally an abbreviation of ‘permanent agriculture’ permaculture is far from confined to food-growing.

Understanding the ecology of say soil or a freshwater lake from a holistic perspective allows the distillation of principles which can be reapplied to the design of human systems such as water harvesting, energy use and buildings construction.

But the application of permaculture goes even further than this. As complex human beings we have our own personal ecology operating in our lives. Our relationships, our work, our finances, the way we raise our families and much else all function in a state of dynamic equilibrium; they are influenced by similar factors to any ecological system.

Understanding how self-sustaining systems work allows us to design out potential weaknesses (such as high energy consumption or personal stress) and design in long term resilience.

In August we are running Norwich’s first two-week residential Permaculture Design Course on 12 acres of land, 4 miles from the city centre. We will be using forest gardening, polytunnel design, ecological building design, woodland management and life-style case studies to learn and apply permaculture principles and to produce designs for sustainable living.

The course will be led by Aranya, one of the UK’s foremost permaculture tutors with several specialist guest speakers.

If you’d like to know more, including information about subsidised places, please visit:
Deepak Rughani is an ecologist and campaigner living in Norwich. He is a Co-Director of Biofuelwatch

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