In a post on another forum, a person said, " ...not considered a permaculturalist because she grows annual vegetables and she tills." This made me stop and think. Just what do people consider to be permaculture? No annuals, really? But if that is what nature intended the plant to be, it is not acceptable to permaculture? Thus, does a purist permaculture follower need to go against nature? Ummmm. No tilling? But nature tills via insects, worms, birds, and mammals. If we bar chickens, pigs, aardvarks, warthogs, elephants, etc from our gardens so that we can harvest the crop for our food, would we then not be allowed to till in substitute for the tilling animals we barred? Must permaculture mean no-till, really zero till? My thoughts are just how purist can we get and still have enough food and resources to support our family?
I live in the tropics where veggies deemed annuals grow for years. I have 5 year old tomato plants, 8 year kale and chard, 10 year parsley and still going. Would these be acceptable permaculture plants to a purist in the tropics but not if one lived in say, Montana? if a purist shuns annuals, does he also shun buying seeds? Or is seed saving the only acceptable way to go?
How different is sustainable agriculture from permaculture? I find the terms confusing because I don't have a clear definition.
While I consider how I farm my homestead to be mostly sustainable, fairly self-reliant, low impact, and organic, I now wonder if it fits the description of permaculture.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
I'm not a big fan of labels. Or fitting in, for that matter. My hippy mother gets on me for having a bunch of tiny tractors and a dozen or so other little motorized contrivances for various woodsy/farming functions. Screw it, if it makes my life easier and I enjoy fixing the damn things, I'm good with it. Besides, most of them were very cheap or free. As for tilling, I have a 1954 David Bradley walking tractor. I can't wait for an indigenous critter to do the work, but I'm damn sure not gonna till 150 acres by accident either. I have to eat. My family has to eat. I like to live indoors with heat and a/c. I like motorized contrivances. I am not a caveman. I'm here for the advice & ideas. If you don't accept my methods, well tough.
That previous post was a rant. Sometimes the misguided & Holier Then Thou's get on my nerves.
I view permaculture as creating or assisting my environment in producing for me, everything my life needs to be comfortable & happy. Without significantly altering the natural order of things.
Planting annuals from organic or heirloom seed which I can cultivate for next season's planting is permaculture.
Using my forest to provide higher yield for me and my critters to make it through til next year is permaculture.
Using soil amending foodies for next years soil undoing corn in small plots is Permaculture.
Gathering fallen wood and sticks in faggots for heat instead of felling perfectly good trees is permaculture.
Growing grass and weeds on my roads instead of gravelling & bulldozing is permaculture.
Saving all the poop in huge recycled blue barrels for use in later soil amendment is permaculture.
Eating rabbits, chickens & goats grown with minimal to no impact instead of unsustainable beef is permaculture.
Using any kind of solar system instead of the coal fired grid juice is permaculture.
I think it means different things to different people. Some can be over the top in their own personal definition. I like to think I'm making a smaller impact on the planet. But I'm going to take advantage of whatever "waste" a consumeristic society has thrown my way. That said; If anyone has a Lawntractor they don't want anymore, I will happily rehome it. Then probably turn it into a Mad Max Death Machine. I do admit I have a problem.
"...not considered a permaculturalist because she grows annual vegetables and she tills."
In my opinion ...
There are many people in the world without a clear understanding of permaculture and get related subjects confused , overlapping them , excluding others , modifying existing ones to suit their needs or beliefs, Permaculture is simply changing your environment to sustain human life in a systemic change, requires time and effort , often changing the landscape, to make lasting (permanent) food delivery system (culture) working with nature , not against it.....
I believe that no system in nature works without tilling , as you say birds and stock do great work in the gardens tilling, many people in my area think permies destroy "native" area's because we don't plant ONLY native trees .... in our farming community , Farmers know they are killing soils , and salesmen sell them "no till" equipment ....thinking "thats the answer" ..... or "not permaculture cos you use outside inputs", Some people believe "permaculture" is farming without chemicals , and mix terms or interchange them as "Organic, horticultural , polyculture, wholistic management" my advice is don't get concerned what other people think , do what makes you happy and live your life as close to nature as possible....
I'm often asked if i believe in chemicals .... i tell them , i am a carbon based lifeform , farming vitamins, minerals, and gasses via solar exchange with the assistance of other carbon based lifeforms, without chemicals , this system wouldn't be possible......
Su Ba - I'm only a beginner on this whole journey, so very little I have to offer is from my own direct experience or knowledge.
But - I think very few people would argue that Geoff Lawton is not a permaculturist. I think it's not hard to find evidence that Geoff plants annual vegetable crops and in the videos I've seen where he discusses the annual crop area at his facility, it sure looks like tilled earth to my eyes.
I don't think that one can, or should, try to define "permaculture" as "growing this and not that, using these techniques and not those" because then you get yourself into all sorts of traps. I think it is intended to be about finding sustainable solutions for the unique situations we find ourselves in, rather than presenting some kind of formulaic set of responses to be applied everywhere.
It gets to be the old saying - "if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".
Permaculture is a system of design with specific processes that were originally developed by Bill Mollison and Divid Holmgren. It is an attempt to answer the question of how people can live.
Things like annual vegetables, or use of a tiller may be used as elements in a permaculture design, but their use has no bearing on weather one is a "permaculturist" or not. In some circumstanses, they may be very appropraite and effective design elements. In others, not so much. That does not make them right or wrong for the design. It's more correct to think in terms of better or worse.
I would say "... not considered a permaculturist because she has no zone map, sector diagram, or slope drawing."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqSzrS6ksUM To me personally this is part of permaculture , if we all give up cars yet need to travel , bikes would probably fill that niche to a large extent , reusing or re-purposing those for other applications would be a good use of resources, here is a broad acre hand plow , i would include this under the "permaculture" umbrella , some might argue it , but each to their own
Peace and Love Dave oxoxox
Permaculture we can say the combination of two words that is Permanent agriculture. It simply means farming by using natural organic method with an aim to maintain balance in ecosystem and without harming environment. It designs on the following principles that are before building a farm one needs to observe and study its natural components and how they relate to each other, central themes which include use of pattern both natural and specific that is pattern used for specific field, evaluating these parameters then leads to the design, implementation and long-term maintenance of the this system
Permaculture isn't that hard to understand. Sometimes a little bump helps: richsoil.com/cards