In Chapter 3, I discussed data obtained during two summers in the Loetschental and other Swiss valleys. The Loetschental Valley has been isolated from contact with surrounding civilizations by its unique physical environment. For twelve hundred years during which time a written history of the valley has been kept, the people have maintained a high level of physical excellence providing practically all their food, shelter and clothing from the products raised in the valley. Cattle and goats provided milk, milk products and meat. The stock was carefully sheltered during the inclement weather and great care was used to carry back to the soil all of the enrichment. This, of course, is a process that is efficiently carried out in many parts of the world today. In this manner extensive depletion of the minerals required for food for animals and human beings may be prevented. Their practice is in striking contrast to that in many of the agricultural districts of the United States in which the minerals are systematically shipped from the land to the cities, there to be dissipated to the ocean through the sewerage system. Among many primitive races there is some attempt to preserve the fertility of the soil. For example, in Africa, many of the tribes that depend in part on agriculture, cleared off only a few acres in the heart of a forest and cropped this land for a limited number of years, usually less than ten. Great care was taken to prevent the loss of the humus both through drenching rains and wind erosion. The decaying vegetation and lighter soil that might be dislodged by the water were caught in the entanglement of roots and shrubbery surrounding the agricultural patch. The surrounding trees protect the soil from wind erosion. Care was taken not to form gullies, furrows and grooves that could carry currents of water and thus float away the valuable humus from the soil. This again is in contrast to conditions in other parts of the world, particularly in the United States. Sears (5) has stated that "Bare ground left by the plow will have as much soil washed off in ten years as the unbroken prairie will lose in four thousand. Even so, soil in the prairie will be forming as fast as, or faster than it is lost." In Nature's program, minerals are loaned temporarily to the plants and animals and their return to the soil is essential.
from Weston A Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
Wherever the Way is cherished,
Horses pull ploughs and their dung fertilizes crops.
Wherever the Way is abandoned,
Horses pull cannons and their dung messes streets.
--Laozi (Lao Tsu as it's commonly spelled)
I think he too was a permaculturist, relatively (how about no ploughs either?), and I see others on this site have identified the Dao with permaculture principles. But I just found this quote especially beautiful.
In a sense you don't have permaculture until you have agriculture. you have to lose sanity to know the difference it makes when you've got it back. when it's just the way things are, then a change can sound enticing. Once you've seen what agriculture does, then you can see the old ways as brilliant and beautiful, and even extend their principles further and get really into innovation along the lines of the Way.
Connected or reconnected. Fit with the right cycles and in the right season. Nourished and nurtured with natural energy. Aware of place and part.
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