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rose macaskie
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      I know what i have learnt from permaculture, i know what part of what i now know is not dependent on on books about organic gardening but on permaculture.

     I suppose permaculture and all like, groups are founded on the  health of  the world and on our health , though maybe others see such things a different way, though in respect for Dave Chapellies reality principals, there are people who rather than being convinced, all things weighed, that other ways are haealthier for more people, don't give a damn about the health and survival of anything other than themselves.

     Permacultura taught me what agricultural scientist probably know about water harvesting and  what is, maybe, just permicultural in some aspects and sureing up mountainsides and bettering the use of the little rainfall you might receive, a subject that does not seem to be normal for the layman, that  probably is normal for landscapers and forest experts.
       permaculturists try to make availiable to everyone and to think of ways everyone  could implement the ideas that normally just help help rich groups like golf courses, big expensive goverment projects, so that everyone can use them if they deam they might be usefull. They are making knowledge that was not our general knowledge part of our general culture. When everyone knows its potential for helping increases.  

   Robert Hart a man who practices food forests but not 'swaling' a Bill Mollison thing, always considering that i have spent very little time investigating the history of these ideas, was inspired by a Japanese evangelist reformer called, Toyohiko Tagawa, who, setting out to reduce erosion, proposed planting trees to hold the soil, feed people, and animals, his three point plan. Robert Hart seems to think that combining interests,  helping soil with the peoples need to survive was Toyohikos Tagawas idea . Bill Mollison idea is to observe all the different complex interelations of a forest to understand how to grow more and better the  food production while we better soil.

    When you know soil health is important to all of us, if you care about us, you are just thinking of how to persuade others to look after soils and you come up with food forests. So that is permaculture, just beng practicle about how to make people leave a good inheritance to future generations, save the world. Permaculture is simple marketing of their product, how to save the world and it is the work of improving there ideas an dmaking them more efficient as far as ai am concerned.
   Now days with gallloping global warming and it will gallop faster, chinese and others use more  cars everyday and the melting ice and warming waters realease methane, before frozen that will acelerate the process, our need to be healthy has become a crushing need. if we don't reverse things global warming will effect us long before the time marks scientists talk of arrive. in my life and soon, not in a hundred years wheni wont suffer.  
 
       I suppose Bill Mollison wanted to pass on ideas about healthy treatment of the earth and thought up a name for his team, for all the ideas he tries to promote. He has a lot of good ideas but thinking up names is not his strong point, think of a imaginary name like, The London Hawks" and a word like "Permaculture" and you can understand just how bad he is at it. Maybe thinkng of the most uncool idea in the world is just hopelessly Australian like Dame Edna Everage, ideas. To take a leaf out of  leah sattler book i include here this smiley .My family who like ridiculising people, most especially me, say, ¿What are you doing? and i say, "writting about Permaculture". Terrible! How could he do that to his followers. Permanants were the hairstyles old ladies had when i was a child, maybe he has a twisted sense of humor.

       In the past the idea that your farm was passed on to your children was a motive for trying to look after the land. The chemical sellers have done a really good job persuading people to give up some good ideas like thinking of their grandchildren, in order to sell their destructive stuff. I suppose they just persuade people that they will grow more for the world with their products, the bad always twist moral arguements to win hearts and minds, also they just hound farmers into a position were they are obliged to sell up to firms like Smithfeilds. The chemical companies and the factory farm companies  are, like i said before, a new brand of that sort of bad ranchers who stole poor peoples land and water, mentioned in cowboy films. And they are what geoff lawton says goats are in the dead sea, "maggots eating everything to the bone".  

         Bill Mollison has a use for autumns glut of fruit, my house is full of quinces and apples now, and i woudl like to say, unless you know where to sell fruit, don't grow more than one of each type of each fruit  tree, they produce a lot. bill mollisons idea is that you feed your glut to the pigs and they turn it into meat you can eat later. I have just fallen in my vegetarianism and am filling myself full of meat. I hope to give up again some day. Bill Mollison, sepp holzer, Paul Wheaton, think of ways to help peole survive while they better their soils.

    Seed balls were new to me. I have seen them but i did not know them as a way of planting that allowed you to spread seeds without having to bury them a bit, with less fear of them being eaten and such. Also making them yourself was new to me.

     The idea that forests give us an example of how to grow a lot was new.

    Permaculturists suggest learning by doing things as well as by reading about them.  I know that growing plants on my balcony helps me get good at growing them. I start to find out how they react to fertilizers, some crumple up and die if given more than very little fertilizer. Lack of light, too much light. If i forget to water them i find out which ones flourish with a lack of water, etc.. I can see because i grow them that 'trandescantia' live for ages with no water, it makes me wonder if there aren't more explanations than the given ones for how plants survive shortages of water. So, i agree trying things really helps you know about them.
      Observing things helps, though i am not sure that it is easy to ask questions without the sort of biggish amount of knowledge that gets you thinking about new things too. Masanubo Fukuoka observed  nature but he did have a career as a soil scientist and sepp holzer too has studies at university. I dont  think people  have to go to university to study, Jesus Charco did not and he is a great green life forest anti desertification observer.  He did however study on his own.  
       Breakthroughs are breakthroughs, usually one man does not make too many in his life, it is the accumulation of break throughs that really help.  We can benefit from a lot of breakthroughs because we stand on the shouldiers of our forebears, we no longer have to invent the wheel etc..  Inventions also spoil things for us, ploughing seemed like a great idea and now its consequences  are becoming evident  or at least the cons of land left fallow are becoming evident, the soil gets carried off leaving worse soil the usefull humus particles and the usefull clay ones clay  sticks things together and holds on to nutrients so they aren't carried away though too much clay can be a problem, are lighter than other particles and get carried away first leaving the soil impoverished. In the end erosion leaves us with bare rock. Fertilisers seemed a great idea but they salt up the earth and people believed in them so much they stoppped putting in organic matter and ended up with soils that absorb and retain less water.  agri rose macaskie.        
     
     
 

 
 
 
rose macaskie
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  Brenda Groth, what if Bill Mollison is an Aussi iif you whatch him a bit he is still cute and if you whatch his video on drylalnd strategies the first one you will find it if you tap his name into you tube, you will see him going crazy about Frankilin Roosevelt for building thousands of miles of earth banks, berms to help after the dust bowl. He says the dirt banks held up the water flow and so the water penetrated the earth and created a greeness years after. He says he himselfhas put in hundreds of miles of banks but will not live to see how thay bettered the landscape so he is glad to see what these will look like sixty years later wandering in the lush and green bottoms of Frankilin Roosevelts banks. And Frankilin Roosevelts were built by hand and horse power, they didnot have bulldozers, Mollison  says it was the first and last time a governer deployed the population to clear up human damage to the land instead of to worsen it. He is Franklin Roosevelt crazy.
  You have rain gardens round the great lakes to clean up the run off from storms before it goes into the lakes and berms and rain gardens in Chicago mangement of its alleys and roads.
  Also you do have your own green people, you have Hugh Hammond Bennet and his followers and he has written a book. My first book on farming was written by him or them, it was a copilation by american agricultural scientists with a preface by him, this is a subject that wanders form side to side of the world and japan is one of its centres. Agri rose macaskie.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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It is so right that we learn not only from permaculture teaching but from other gardeners all over the world and their teachings..i have an extensive library..several thousand books, a lot of them are gardening books or landscaping. I am an avid (addictive) book and magazine reader..and I generally use my free time during winter to re read every garden book i have (i also read really fast)..and go over my notes. I like to get ideas for the upcoming year.

as for the berms..I have always been fascinated by how much more you can grow on a berm, and how much it can raise the value of your property if you live on flatter land.

when we bought this property it was a nearly  flat piece of land, an old farm, with very little on it..a slight slope from south to north and our property was on the  highest portion of the property with slopes leading away from it in all 4 directions.

when we had the housefire..the zoning had changed to where it required us to put in a raised drainfield. so we raised the area where our house and drainfield are, up another 4' from the expisting gorund leve.

the front of the house was on the higher part, so it became more of a hill in the rear of the property, where the drainfield went back about 80' from thehouse in the rear. We had the soil brought up from the low sopt closest to the house to provide a soil ramp up to the house and drainfield all the way around,w hich was planted to our raised bed gardens around thehouse and drainfield..very fertile..the place where the soil was removed is now a catch basin type of pond..and our property and later our son's propert all drains to that pond and an overflow ditch to a swamp in our woods to the north.

that drains eventually into a river north of there.
although i had spent 34 years organically gardening and french intensively gardening a huge part of the property before the housefire..that was all lost and ist gone now..and i'm beginning over..

there is so much yet to be done..the above threads were written early on this year..and now we are going into winter and i was disappointed in the little that i did get done this year. I was sidetracked by buildinig a wood shed and getting in firewood and other things..that i needed help with but ended up doing a lot myself..my son was herre to do some help,and he did some more property grading and also enlarged our pond area by double what it was..so instead of building the garden beds we ended up changing the landscape even more.

i am hoping next year to do the things i promised myself i would do this summer..like get the forest cleaned ouand planted to ofood forest crops, and get my beds in the rear prepared.

i was able to get the following new plants put in for 2009 and they are growing beautifully: 6 hazelnut, 3 walnut (butter,nut, english walnut and black walnut), 2 chestnuts, 2 pecans, lots of paw paw and seeds of paw paw, hickory nut, hardy alomond, 2 plum, one fruit cocktail tree, 2 sweet cherries, 10 lblue berries, 4 kinds of raspberries, blackberries, several apples, 3 pears, 4 elderberries, lots of strawberries, doubled the size of my asparagus and rhubarb beds..etc.

i know this seems like a    lot but it is much less than i had planned to do..so on to 2010

i do feel good about expanding the pond area to twice what it was..and getting some plantings done around the new pond area..but i can see a real change in the property toward the future. We were unable to get the horse manure that we intended to get, but did have that truckload of cow manure and a truckload of wood chips..the plan next year is to try to bring in more of the needed organic amendments to the soil.

leaving off this summer with an exgtremem TO DO list..but  satisfaction in knowing that we worked hard to get a lot done this year..that we had not figured to get done..so ahead in a fwe areas and behind in others.

wasable to put about a foot of organic material down on the gardens..which will have all winter to decompose..and have a huge compost pile to use in the spring.

i am also learning that i expect way too omuch of myself..andneed to relax and allow things to grow that i havev..and bring in what i can..not worry about what doesn't get done..

my husband will not allow me to have any domesticated animals (other than our two cats)..so we have alot of wild animals on our property but no domestic ones..last year i really wanted to start with some fowl..but wasn't able to...i'm really hpoing for a possible small flock of chickens in the spring..but we'll see..we do have a lot of wildfowl (turkey, pehasants, partridge) and a lot of small animlas (rabbits, etc) and deer and bear etc..so there is a lot of wildlife that fertilizes our property yeararound and that we do tend to cater to..but i would love to have some domestic ones..with all the coyote we have been holding off until we are sure we can provide protection for them..and are looking to possibly rescue a dane..or other large breed dog.

 
rose macaskie
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brenda groth ithink you would like bill mollisons temperate climate videos about growing where it is not so hot, they are full of lovely warm green houses.
  What a lot of trees you plant. You have grandchildren the pictures of you new shed are full of climbing frames. agri rose macaskie.
 
                          
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Personally I want to be more self sufficient and rely less on others and highly processed/machined/manufactured things.  I think that in corporates almost all of the disciplines of permaculture.  The problem I have is that I may agree with almost all of you self described "protectors of the earth".  My interests are self motivated  and not to serve larger purpose to "Save the planet".  Saving the planet is such a ethnocentric phrase to begin with. Do you think our Planet is going to die?  It can't. (unless be some how blow all of earth up or it gets sucked into a black hole/sun)  I do not think an ethical obligation to preserving natural things/landscapes is necessarily everyone's reason to partake in Permaculture. 

I am sure I am a minority here don't get me wrong.  I do not hug trees or have a membership to green peace or the Sierra club.

To me I feel like it makes total sense to be less exposed to toxic chemicals and reliance on great many other people/countries.  IF I can grow my own food why would I buy it?  Turns out our own grown food is almost always healthier. 

 
rose macaskie
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    Permaculture does or can  include what they call holistic ideas, you are happy if your enviroment is happy, If soil is helathy and plants are healthy, you will be healthy too.  My interest in farming developed sepreately from my interest in buddhist or hindu ideas.  Holism can also mean you treat the whole body as well as the part that is giving you trouble, your knee will get better when your whole body is better .
I don't know which ideas from buddhism and yoga and such are incorporated into permaculture, i know they are. i have heard two people in videos talk of doing the gardening calmly or it having a calming effect. sepp holzer lies on his land absorbing the good vibrations. The idea of doing things calmly is central to budhism. Do  things calmly, calm movements lead to calm thoughts. Calm thought reduce the temptation to do things that are unkind, of course then there can be a lot of arguement about what is unkind. what kindness is merely self destructiv ebehavior. Also doing things calmly  increases your concentration and your efficiency and your health.
  If you have strong religiouse currents in your country the adoption of buddhist ideas can cause so very violent reactions in those around you. they have lead me to being very aggressive you should not go on being so calm you are a walk over if budhist ideas are getting thumped then you have to learn the zen of arguing or even the nija of argueing anuythign goes losing it etc. at least untill you get good at it.
   I would add religiouse experiences can be used to try to convince you afterwards of philosophies you don't believe in, the arguement is, think of that experience, i gave it to you, my religion must be the right one. 
  Tonight larry king was talking about the supernatural. It is the religiouse groups who cash in on people getting enthusiatic about the supernatura,l think of the arguements of the seriesghost whisperer  with Jennifer Love Hewitt . SHe mentions church bells and the vatican in one episode and i don't think the psychology discusssed in the series is good, so it could arouse  faith in people, a strong force, combined with  not very sensible ideas . For example have you ever tried to talk to anyone about something they would rather not talk of, it takes years, ten years or fifteen or more and she does it so easily that people can be mislead about how simple really complicated manouvres are this would lead to failure in their attempts to live and fuction with others. agri rose macaskie.   
 
rose macaskie
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trevisr i suppose you are right, what to does it mean to save the planet that wont be in our hands but to save our life on it ; maybe that is in our hands. The stewards of the earth it is vanity to think you are a steward but as we have decided to take as much as we can get without leaving good earth to our children people used to do without a lot to leave their bit of tearth intact to their children well another goal like saving the earth is not to bad a replacement for handign on intackt to your children or bettered what your father left you.
    What the farmers are doing is really outrageouse and we still think of them as if they were the farmer of babe the pig, i don't know the name of the film in English.. Farmers uput  enormouse quantites of chemicals on the ground in the air into our drinking water and it must be time to protest. They are an equivilent of dirty chemical factory owners notr sweet farmers dealing with nature any more. 
      Their excuse is that only in this way can they feed the world, well if they care about people they are causeing desertification, poisoned water, salted lands their bad farming techniques srpead antheir ideas get round and make us institute what are really bad techiques in places like those the Massai Mara inhabit and them people like Bill mollison have to go and remedy the problems other white men created spoiling what was a delicate balance in places that weren't even ours. In some places the balance is strong but years of overpasturisng for example can creat deserts in these places and spain is an example of a place where the balance is strong enough to stay always for centuries on the brink of totaly barren lands or desertification, maybe it is the habit of abandonig ruined ground to cistus plants that recuperate it, what else could you do if nothing grows there that saves the country. If herbicides finish off the cistus than this may stop working.
    It would be better if more people in the west were counsciose of the dangers of modern farming and then the massai mara woudl have more people helping them right what we overbalanced, Sir Albert Howard  who started organic agirculture established what he called the law of return, all the organic matter we take out must go back, as we eat a lot of it  our black waters for example and as organic matter not only provides nitrogen that can be provided from chemical sources but also fibre that absorbes and retains more water and holds it better than most soils and turns into  scientists humus that works like gelatine holding many times its wieght in water essential in dry countries. Also plant cover, alive or dry in the summer heat and the mulch of the dead leaves of this cover, are is essential to protect the ground from the sun. A lot of the populated world is in dry places.
    BIll Mollisons permaculture simply draws together the different modern findings on agriculture that is not damaging, scientific  corroboration of how old methods were good how plants do use organic matter amino acids not just chemical nitrogen and how mixed crops do better than monocultures and methods like mulching and engineers techniques of water harvesting and and good soaking into the ground and holistic ideas and a anti capitalist morality, or just the charity of finding an easy way for us to survive if we don't have a good job and i for example need to be independent i cant ask people home can't make friends with people i chose to know,  and he gives it gives it a name so as to help to get the ideas spread.
He also lies a bit to spread his ideas as the Ipswich scientists did because they were scared that any data that proved a slow up of the march of green house warming would make us think it did not exist. i think you probably cant grow much food for yourself on a balcony though maybe you can grow more than i imagine. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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I have been slanging farmers , i have to say the amount they recievers for their poroducts makes it hard for them to be very flexible. rose.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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What are the components of permaculture?
Chemically independent?
Total reuse or recycle?
No adverse impact to the site or adjoining sites?
Are importing of compost and amendments allowed?
Complete water independence?
Energy indepence?
Is maximum output of the property required?
What are your thoughts on what makes a site "permaculture"?
At what point do you think you could be labled a permaculturist?
Is striving for that elusive title that without an initial outlay of labor and money that would enable a new piece of property to be truly sustainable any less important?
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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permaculture as a movement - we grow, we change, we learn. we correct our mistakes and above all we think ahead, drawing the line between organic and inorganic.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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Maybe that is the most important component willingness to learn and listen to the land.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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i agree with that..where are you if you don't learn from your mistakes and other peoples experience
 
rose macaskie
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      I keep forgetting, in permaculture you are meant to be able to get together to do jobs that normally only the rich or very strong could manage, or that would take years on your own, really increasing your ability to get going soon, If this part of hugle culture worked  then  jennifer halls yard could be improved, immediately, she could get rid of her puddles.
      People in really dry places coudl build water traps do water harvesting and could have berms and swales and people in wet ones irrigatrion ditches easily. I can't imagine getting such a plan off the ground,  I have no support socially my husband enjoys it if others don't like me, he seems to be good at getting people on his side it makes me feel hoplessly incapable of ever trying such a thing, so i find it reallly hard to imagine organising any such thing but i think it might not be so hard for others to organise things, maybe many women are in my situation so it woild be good to take this into consideration and have women gange together.  it makes it hard to get together group work, i think before i knew him i did not forsee a really black future as far as gettign people to do things in a group is concerned i felt tit coudl be tried. I don' t project anything unless its somthing i can do wth no help totaly on my own. Though with him i have always had to do anything i tried on my own and with opposition he has said i need to learn to do things on my own because i have occasionally asked for help, it is that sort of distortion that allows him to pull people on to his side.
  This is a really important bit of hugllekulture it can enable people who normally could not invert in improvingtheir property and being more efficient able to be just that. This is a big bit of permacultures ability to empower people to do more on eproblem with it is it might look hippy i always think of all the people who would not like to look hippy.I suppose it should be called cooperative work instead of comunal work to suit all sorts. agri rose macaskie.
 
                    
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Did or did not Europeans destroy the best examples of this with the Native Americans.
Of coarse with the dissecting mind of his understanding he (the European) would say this tribe did this and that tribe did that. And in the end will the European ever understand their is nothing new under the sun and learn from the past.

Now one goes without including the earth and the animals all are one heart and one mind.
It is a way of life in harmony with Creator...........
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Permaculture to me is a word used to describe a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship that is possible between humans and their enviroment.Its popularity is a testament to the lack of that in our culture.As an anamist,I promote a personal relationship with ones enviroment rather than following a template and I feel permaculture touches on that as well.Indigenous cultures around the world have(had)this relationship but never called it permaculture.Many people I have met that are excited about permaculture,are excited to have a name for something that is new to them but really its just the rediscovery and articulation of the ancient.In our culture of displacement,people are moving onto land they have no historical relationship with so they benefit from a system that will help them understand what nature is trying to tell them and be better able to adapt to their new land.Certain egos within the movment would like to frame it as something new and thereby cement themselves into history and it is nice to honor our elders but wisdom is timeless.The fact that many of the ideas need articulation is a testament to how distant people are from their relationship with the earth.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I think it is important to allow some folks to have a different idea of what permaculture means than others.  It seems some folks have come through these forums demanding that I change things because their vision of permaculture is different from mine.  So .... some folks think permaculture means one thing and other folks think it means another.  I think that's a good thing. 

 
Brian Martin
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Location: Western WA
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Two and a half hours ago, I didn't even have the slightest clue as to what permaculture is and only stumbled across this forum after following several links. 

Based on what I've read this evening, about the only thing I can gather so far for a definition is that what it 'is' or 'isn't' is far less important a matter than what you can do with it.  The tool set description strikes me as the most apt so far, but that may be from my own bias in hoping that it can be a tool set as I look to apply some of the approaches to things it encompasses to my own life.

From the various threads I've read through so far, it seems to be a means of providing people with both the perspective and ability to solve problems and concerns through a variety of new, old and even ancient ideas and methods without causing further damage to ourselves, others or our world.

I could be completely wrong though, like I said, I've only been going over this site and links from it for a couple of hours...
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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does permaculture include the use of herbicides?how about tractors?
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Permaculture is about using the fullest extents of our knowledge in order to make a place for ourselves with out endangering the ability of future generations to make a place for themselves.

We don't have to be perfect now, but we should be asymptotically approaching perfection.
 
Trevor Newman
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Bill Mollison stated something along the lines of "...We are working with nature..."

Penny Livington-stark restated this by saying "...We are nature working..."

In a gist this sums up what Permaculture is. Mollison's statement implies that we are separate from nature, like outsiders. Penny emphasized that we are NOT  separate from nature but rather a part of it. Permaculture is about realizing that WE ARE nature working, and then consciously designing harmonious relationships that yield healthy-regenerative lives.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Mt.goat wrote:
does permaculture include the use of herbicides?how about tractors?


Heavy machinery is generally only used once in a system, such as to dig a pond or establish a terrace. Plowing is not a good idea for a number of reasons. Natural, biodegradable herbicides are fine for very troublesome plants, but other biological controls are preferred if they are applicable.
 
Jesse Meijer
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Permanant Agriculture : To me the complete encompassing idea of connection, dependance, reliance and  sharing of the needs and desires of a person, animal, or plant. We are one family and as much as you need me, I need you.
 
                                    
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Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
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gary gregory wrote:maybe permaculture is a way for us to exercise that latency and keep it viable for future generations.   Something like the druids did.


yes.  this reminds me of Albert Jay Nock:

"wikipedia" wrote:In his 1936 article "Isaiah's Job",[2]  which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Nock expressed his complete disillusionment with the idea of reforming the current system. Believing that it would be impossible to convince any large portion of the general population of the correct course and opposing any suggestion of a violent revolution, Nock instead argued that libertarians should focus on nurturing what he called "the Remnant". The Remnant, according to Nock, consisted of a small minority who understood the nature of the state and society, and who would become influential only after the current dangerous course had become thoroughly and obviously untenable, a situation which might not occur until far into the future.


pessimistic, but it could go down that way...all the more reason to learn how to do permaculture...
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
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Permaculture is an addiction to understanding the processes of nature and her possibilities. Why is this weed coming up in my garden? Why are these pests invading my cale? A permaculturist tries to balance human needs with natures haves with as less energy input as possible.

A person with a normal (in my opinion "sick" mindset tries to erradicate nature's signs of inbalance, e.g. pests, weeds, whilst a permaculturist tries to add a corrective, therfore increases biodiversity and puts nature's versatility to good human use.
 
                        
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think it is important to allow some folks to have a different idea of what permaculture means than others.   It seems some folks have come through these forums demanding that I change things because their vision of permaculture is different from mine.  So .... some folks think permaculture means one thing and other folks think it means another.  I think that's a good thing. 






Having different definitions of the same idea may be potentially dangerous, I can humorously imagine different permaculture factions splitting off with their own ideas on what permaculture is and there will be great fighting between the Peoples' Front of Permaculture and the Permaculture Peoples' Front on whether using a tractor is ethical or not.

It is crucial to understand that permaculture is just a word which represents an idea and it is not an idea in itself.

This was made clear by my permaculture professors' four word stupid-simple definition of "PERMACULTURE IS SYSTEMS THINKING"

Once you understand what SYSTEMS THINKING is you can have a better understanding of what permaculture is. We are essentially attempting to replace our outdated linear systems of,  A+B=C(c=waste) to a cyclical one where the idea of waste has been eliminated,  z = (z^2) + c (feedback loop) ... an example would be our current sewage treatment practices vs. a Living Machine - the first deals with waste while the second has no concept of what waste is.

But if I were to simply play around with the word itself having a background in architectural history I would pose in a friendly debate that permaculture is simply a utopian IDEAL - i.e. If some day in the future the whole world is doing permaculture it sure as heck won't be called permaculture - it would be called common sense.


 
paul wheaton
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Walter Jeffries
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paul wrote:
I think a good 30 second answer to this question is to explain that the sahara desert used to feature lush growth.  Some people suggest that it became a desert due to over-intensive agriculture.  Permaculture is about reversing this process.


There's a lot of evidence now that humans had nothing to do with the desertification of the Sahara. Rather it was caused by the gradual shift in the rotation angle of the earth (the earth wobbles slowly) and by the change in wind patterns from mountain up thrusts. Neither thing is human caused. Humans merely managed to survive the desertification. They weren't the cause of all the problems.
 
John Polk
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In its simplest form, I see permaculture as:

Creating a piece of land that can sustain me,
without compromising the ability of my descendants to do the same.

Tractors?  Certainly.  In one year, it can do what would take me ten years to do by hand.
It can slice many years of of my goal to reach sustainability.  I may as well use it now while I can still afford to feed the steel monster.  I can use it to turn and distribute my compost, drag tree trunks to zone 1 for processing, and many other chores around the homestead.  The carbon footprint it creates using 100G of gas will be more than offset by the increased food/fuel that it will produce for years to come.
 
Lee Einer
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If I had to go with a souldbite within 15 seconds I would say that it is a TOE (theory of everything) for reintegrating humans with the natural world.
 
rose macaskie
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I do think, from whatching his videos that bill mollison is moved by a desire to make things all right for poor people in parts of the world where they have a little bit of land and where optimum use of the land would improve their standards of living. He is moved by pity for the poor. The japanese organic person and evangelist if i remember right who was interested in this and is similar to but anterior to bill mollison was interested in getting such people to look after their soils better if i remamber right. I could look it all up again though i dont remember how i found out about the japanese evangelist organic farming guy i think that the english and old permaculturist mentions him.
    It seemed to me tha bill mollison was also interested in providing a way out for people who hate their job and could get a small place in the country.
  Of course he is interested in treating the earth in a way that keeps it healthy.
  My brother in law said, oh he creates an ecosystem. agri rose macaskie.
 
George Lee
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It's just a fairly new-aged term...I'm not on this forum to converse and learn more about terminologies..I'm here to further and share knowledge of 'sustainable' agriculture. It angers me to a point that people run with the term, and even go as far to misuse it. I've seen videos recently where people are now using it as 'perma-culture' as in living quarters (treehouse community in Costa Rica for instance). It's permanent agriculture if anything. The homestead was secondary to Mollison's original coinage of term.
 
Tyler Ludens
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LivingWind wrote:
It's permanent agriculture if anything. The homestead was secondary to Mollison's original coinage of term.


Bill Mollison's definition includes "the homestead" in the sense of the integration of food-growing with shelter, energy, and other aspects of life, so I'm not sure that's a misuse. Permaculture is not just "permanent agriculture" in my opinion, and according to Mollison's definition.

"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."  Permaculture: a designers manual, Preface, Bill Mollison


The integration of all those things is, I think, the significant aspect of permaculture as well as the permanent agriculture aspect.  And very different from modern industrial agriculture in which food-growing is so divorced from peoples' lives that a lot of people don't even know where food comes from besides the store.   
 
George Lee
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I understand it's involved(housing).. I've heard several treat it as a permamnent-culture as in, a collective of people, or another name for 'communes'..A tree-house community as stated above..I think it's silly when people just use the term because they've heard it from a friend, but actually have no concept of the other constituents, which in my mind, are everything.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ok, thanks for clarifying. 

 
George Lee
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Do you see where I'm coming from? I watched a segment and this guy used permaculture as an eco-tourism ploy. Can you see how that kinda defeats the original slated purpose?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Definitely. 

I think permaculture flummoxes a lot of people because they want it to be just one thing, not a design system for a totally integrated way of life.  Probably even calling it "a design system for a way of life" would bug some people!   
 
Lee Einer
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Permaculture was originally developed as a strategy to manage the energy descent.

Permanent agriculture is necessary to accomplish this. But permanent agriculture is not sufficient to accomplish this.

The way that people interact must also be examined and redesigned. We cannot, for example, achieve sustainability or kick the petroleum jones while continuing with an economy that is dependent on constant, exponential growth.

So it's not just permanent agriculture, it's also permanent culture which we must study and embrace if we are to build communities that will surivive the collapse of the oil economy.
 
rose macaskie
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when we have renewable energy this bit about we can't have everything becomes obsolete we can, we will the question is if we can make it faster we will prevent a lot of suffering.
  if we remember the old arguements that refer to those days when renewable and clean energy seemed impossible it means that we are forgetting to ask for what has to be, easily can be and would be great for everyone, clean energy look at the floods in the Missisipi the whirlwinds and the floods in Pakistan band australia and china last year  all of which must have lowerd the food produced in the world, we have to have the clean energy mechanism put into place, we can't afford not to.
       On the other hand who ever believed that we could run our enormouse populations without energy.

         Before clean energy was being put into place, persuading people to live without much energy looked like the best answer to our problems, unlikely as it was to happen but now we have alternatives to petrol and atomic energy only the industrialists dont want them, propbably they are earning money with atomic and petrol and it makes them feel lazy figuring out how to earn money with clean energy. Lazy and scared that it wont be them who are fattening themselves on the new sources it wil be other families who are living it uup scared that in the shuffle up they come out bottom.
       Think how quickly they  put up railroads and canals in the nineteenth century or telegraph posts in the tweentieth if every telegraph post were a wind mill maybe sure i reckon, we would have enough energy for the country but we cant let go of the old so its though our boys die and get badly traumatised in the middle east and we get flooded and suffer from more tornadoes than ever, we want the old. It is so easy sending of the boys to kill and be killed instead of going ourselves, i am fifty six would not it be better if i went to be killed than that the young should go to die.
        If all the telegraph  posts were wind mills and all the roof tops solar panels we will have made it. Lots of little wind mills work  too, the scapescraper ones are not the only alternative, just look it up and find out how much energy you can get from small wind mills.
       How long did it industry to fill the countries full of cars, we can fill them full of solar panels. You only have to read a little bit about it or whatch a few videos on youtube to know its possible.
       There is one type of solar panel that works with dies, pigments, and can work inside a house, the energy from your light bulb will fuel a battery attached to a panel of this sort, with this type of panel you dont even need sunlight, let alone direct sunlight.
        It will cost money but so does everything, floods in the missisipi for example cost a lot and it is easier for governments to do things if the population are shouting out for them, so it is important not to be distracted by ideas like we can manage without energy if we all live ¡on a small homstead, when the times have changed because clean energy is proving to be a real alternative and we should be asking for clean energy.
        It is sure fire we can go on running our big complicated countries with clean energy, while persuading people to live on small homesteads all of them and survive is unlikely to happen and i am infavour of as many as possible benefiting from this sort of life and finding a way out in it or improving their qualitiy of life  because they dont have to buy so much food and because as maria says growing things is magically absorbing for some, so it betters your life, I get a big kick out of it but i dont think it solves our engery problems, not even jesus christ or buddha or mohamet managed to stop people being people. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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        Living Wind you say you think it is silly for people to use a term they dont fully understand, but my experience is that when you first learn about something you dont realise all the things about it that you have not heard about and tend to believe what you have  heard is the whole story so it is iimpossible not to be silly and talk about it in a ignorant way.
           I suppose the term was coined as part of a way to favour the ideas that seemed important to bill mollison.  You can hear, if you are listening to  the debate on who will follow bill laden, about the important things of leadershiop and people say that  the most important thing for a leader to do is to inspire others and that takes several gambits, it is an art like growing food is, giving your team a name is part of the instruments used by people who hope to spread an idea, some good leaders are good people like Bill Mollison and others not so good.

       Organic farming is for me about things like how to look after the soil and permaculture more about the comunities as well as the soil. Organic farming was an attempt to conteract the crazy use of chemicals that when taken too far do for soils, an attempt to point out all the activities that are usefull to plants and our earth that chemical buisinesses tend to blur.
    Sir Albert Howard who was the father of organic farming was worried because of those who used chemicals, it had just been discovered a bit before his life that plants take in minerals nitrogen carbon hydrogen and make them up into carbo hydrates and protiens  not elaborated food as am¡nimals do and so they were saying that lal plants eneded was these chemicals and Sir Albbert Howard was worried because those who advised the use of chemicals were a bit like people would be who advised that we humans only needed protiens and carbohydrates and  water and tried to reduce our diets to just these components because in fact we  need fiber and flora in our intestines though the flora does not so much aliment us as help our digestion just as the flora in the gorund helps plants get nutrients and they need fibre it  helps the ground to store their nutrients. the ground for plants is a bit like peoples digestive tract is for humans. Also  there are things that we need in our diet that scientists of the past  did not know we needed, like vitamins and different foods have unexpected side effects for instance curcumun, part of curries, has an ingredient is good against senile decay, ginger helps us produce mucose and it is not just in our noses taht mucos oils our works, so you never know what regular food  might not have that is not a good thing for those who eat it.
    Sir Albert Howard felt that those who advised that nitrogen phosphates and potasioum was all plant needed were forgetting the need for ingredients in the soil that help plants to take up nutrients and humic acids do help the chemical reactions in the soil that allow plants to absorb nutrients, they even help nutrients circulate round the plants internally hevean only know how with out gettign destroyed but tha tis what scientist say of them, so he was quite right. ALso alive soils increase plant resistance to illnness, maybe fungi pass on their resistance to illnesses. the mixture of bacteria helps keep specially bad bacteria at bay. 
  Sisr albert howard also found that in the india village he worked in they grew a mixture of plants like growing leguminouse plants to put nitrogen in the soil that allowed them to grow crops in poor soil so he respected traditional knowledge. THte reason spanish tradition seem bad too me is that they are dedicated to reducing fire risk not to bettering soils which is to  have a different goal not to be stupider than others.
 
    It is permaculture though which seems to me to bring human behavior into the question to consid that if we help eachother it will do instead of money you dont have to employ builders if the commnunity works together and help each other .  To consider the mental and spiritual health of ocmmnunities that live off the land and such questions as that modern mono crops make people poor for instance if haitians grow bananas for the world market they may in fact reduce their life style rather than bettering it when they foolow the hop eoef earning a lot of th eworld market and diverse production for themselves to produce a monocrop for us that we dont pay much for.  Permaculture tries to face the problems of for fair sized plots and human communities as well as soil. For me novels and psycology are necessary studies for this last, novels describe the problems that face people in small villages and in big towns, and in different cultures, what strains the cultural beliefs impo9se on the societeies they are part of. Novels have been around for two centuries, enough to document a lot of different situations. People did not write all those books because a simple answer helps communities but because things are complicated, permaculture can be considered along with literature and psychology when weighing up what humans need, i put it in with the others when i am weighing up human matters but I would not use it ion its own in this context.  agri rose macaskie.
 
Ken Peavey
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Permaculture is:

Walking the Path without leaving a footprint, and the path is better for it.

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