Permaculture is an agricultural system which follows the natural cycle of our ecological system, to produce agricultural goods, in a way that the agricultural productivity as well as sustainability is maintained.
The term ‘Permaculture’ is a portmanteau word for ‘permanent agriculture’ and ‘permanent culture’. Permaculture is basically an agricultural system which focuses on the natural way of practicing agriculture, maintaining the ecological system and not strictly adhering to the systems followed in modern agriculture. This system was designed and developed by two Australians named Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Permaculture has been defined by Millison as, “A philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single project system.”
The ethics and values on which this system of Permaculture is based are:
1. Earth Care
Earth care, means that we humans should try not to increase situations in which we destroy or perish the natural functioning of our planet earth. As this in turn will lead to consequences which will compel the extinction of human beings. We need to understand that we are merely a part of the earth and not its conquerors. If other animals and creatures will not exist, we will not exist too. There can be no better example than global warming to explain this.
2. People Care
The principle of people care can also be termed as the principle of cooperation. The principle of people care in Permaculture means that we all should work together and help each other instead of competing. One cannot develop a community by only helping oneself and staying alone. To live in a better culture and community, we have to work together and stay together.
3. Fair Share/ Setting Limits to Population and Consumption
Fair share indicates the equal right of using natural resources by all individuals. Natural resources are scarce and moreover, no one really owns it. Therefore, each one should get the share of what they deserve. These resources should not be concentrated in just a few hands, but optimally allocated.
Benefits of Permaculture
After looking at what permaculture is, let us now look at its benefits.
Using all the natural components of the ecosystem like composting the waste into useful organic matter and manure, you save up a lot of money which you would otherwise be spending on conventional farming.
In Permaculture, the waste products are recycled and manured back to the earth in the form of compost. Once you start following this practice, the waste material is later used as a natural fertilizer. There is less waste because all the present resources are optimally utilized.
In permaculture, one uses natural fertilizers and mulch for farming and gardening. This helps you in resisting your produce from being exposed to the harmful chemicals that are used in pesticides. The agricultural system followed in Permaculture, will let the natural ecosystem predators perform the functions of the pesticides for you.
If you are using the most natural way of agricultural cultivation, then there is no way you can increase the pollution. In fact, the zone in which Permaculture is practiced will be pollution free.
Develops Community Values
When you apply the Permaculture system you automatically develop values like creating pollution, helping your fellow beings, and using only how much you need.
An important part of Permaculture is zoning. Zoning means arranging the produce depending on what ripens first and what needs more attention. Following this way, the ripe fruits and vegetables are plucked first and the latter ones, as and when they ripen.
Self Reliance and Diversity
One can produce a diverse range of produce in his/her land. Permaculture brings about the sense of self-reliance, as one can grow whatever he needs and consume it. Also, if there is some surplus, then, there are ways of preserving them and using them later.
Promotes Green Living
In Permaculture, one uses natural fertilizers, natural pesticides, and freshwater reserves. It undoubtedly promotes green living of the backyard style.
Helpful in Improving Environmental Conditions
Permaculture teaches us different ways of attaining sufficient and sustainable agriculture in a way beneficial for the environment. Those who follow this culture, produce agricultural goods using a harmonious integration of human dwellings, micro-climate, plants, animals, soil, and water in a productive and stable way.
Can be Applied in Already Functioning Systems
Permaculture can be applied in different agricultural systems that are already functioning. Though, it is necessary that the land is suitable for it. Permaculture can be practiced in areas where agriculture is traditionally practiced and is not located in a commercially developed area, where most of the constituents of our ecological systems have perished.
The system and the concept followed in permaculture sounds very promising in maintaining the ecological system well and also in bringing self-reliance to the farmers or those with forest-gardens, by the means of implementing sustainable and productive farms and gardens. It is basically about going back to the traditional method of farming, incorporating the features of organic farming, agro-forestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. And, there really seems no other way of saving the earth from the calamities created by us.