What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is becoming an increasingly popular toolbox of ideas for farmers and gardeners. “It is a system for designing agricultural landscapes that work with nature… I like to call it edible restoration, since the tools used in permaculture can help to restore land as well as yield food for humans.” —Amy Stross, The Suburban Micro-Farm: Modern Solutions for Busy People
That all sounds good, doesn’t it? I doubt, however, that you could head out to your backyard and begin practicing permaculture after learning that definition!
One of the reasons why a definition of permaculture is so elusive and varied from source to source is because the approach pulls together a wide range of disciplines such as “ecology, appropriate technology, economics, gardening, evolution, construction, energy systems, social justice, and a raft of other seemingly disconnected fields”, says Toby Hemenway in Permaculture: The Design Arm of a Paradigm Shift.
The important thing to note is that permaculture is most often used for creating efficient and productive landscapes that sustain themselves into the future by regenerating biodiversity and lost fertility.
Our landscapes tell a story, and permaculture can help us read them.