Permaculture is an ecological system meant to sustain a human community under all its aspects, in a quiet natural environment. This concept can teach us how to build natural houses, to produce ecological food and to maintain the ecosystem in which we live, how to store and to use rainwater, how to develop the community and many other such things.
The term has been initially employed in 1978 by Bill Mollison and adopted later on by his student David Holmgren. It comes from the contraction of the terms "permanent agriculture" or "permanent culture". The two mentioned researchers have defined agriculture as an ecological human habitat and a natural food-producing system.
It is a territory used by a human community which works and develops, harmoniously integrating into the environment, by imitating forms and their way of interaction within their living microclimate.
Permaculture includes details such as how to ensure food in certain kinds of environment. Thus, the so-called "food forest" environment can imitate architecture and the relationships between plants and animals in the same way as in a natural forest from a geographic area where the community is located. Only that the system thus created is an artificial one.
It may contain a great variety of plants and a huge biodiversity. The concept of food forests, also called forest gardens, was initially presented by Robert A. de J. Hart in his book entitled 'Forest Gardening' and then became one of the basic books for this concept of permaculture.
The permaculture forest's main purpose is to copy the organization of a real forest in nature. Although they are not exactly real or natural, but artificially-created by humans, they are actually managed ecosystems that can be very diverse from the biological point of view and also highly productive.
Therefore, one could say that at a permaculture farm, there are several goals to for these food forests to achieve, including: producing food, producing forage for insects such pollinators, for chicken and for mocking birds.
Also, the main idea is to build a sort of wildlife habitat, and nurture our bodies with several types of medicinal teas and herbal concoctions. And last but not least, they are meant to give us a sense of well-being and create something beautiful.
Much like in the case of pastured chickens, in the case of food forest the caretaker focuses on the use of various plants, as often as possible. The most part of these food forests are planted with local apricots, cherries, plums, pears, some going back to very old times, in fact.
For the creation of guilds, one can maintain a so-called nursery garden, in which the plants are first grown to be then divided, or where one can harvest seeds from. The so-called "guilds" is a combination of insects, animals, plants and mushrooms.
It may be found as such in a natural environment or it can be re-constructed, depending on one's needs. Animal and garden food must be thus ensured, as well as medicinal plants, spices and good quality wood.
This culture includes important mystically-spiritual content as it presupposes a valuable contribution from community members to the development of the whole. Some people may have problems understanding this concept, so it is important to form basic, simple things. For instance, one may place plants around a fruitier and observe how they interact.
Apart from food forest, raising chickens and other kinds of animals is still a basic part of the permaculture concept. In a self-sustaining environment, animals play a major role. Without their contribution, the ecological balance could not be attained or maintained.
Animals are necessary for fertilizing the soil, for cleaning up the remains of fallen fruit, for spreading seeds, for the removal of weeds and keeping away all sorts of harmful creatures.
Water is vital not only for survival, but also for sustaining life, for how could we possibly produce food without the help of water? Collecting rainwater is another permaculture rule. Space should be organized so that the process of water collecting could be done through channels, gutters, draining muddy areas, water reservoirs, and so on.