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What is permaculture?

The shortest definition can perhaps be found in the works of Bill Mollison, the man who coined the concept of permaculture together with David Holmgren and received the Right Livelihood Award in 1981 for “developing and promoting the theory and practice of permaculture”. In his book, ‘Introduction to Permaculture’, he writes: “permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments”.

According to Mollison, the result should always be “ecologically and economically sound”. The term permaculture itself is a contraction of the words permanent and agriculture.

Permaculture is based on the diverse, complex and productive interrelationships and patterns found in nature and aims to develop practical, long-lasting agricultural systems.

Together with David Holmgren, Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison shaped and made popular the concept of permaculture.

There is enough for everybody

In permaculture, the goal is to try to work in the most efficient way possible in terms of resources while at the same time generating income. The proper management of water, energy and soil is central to this approach. Permaculture always takes a long-term perspective, considering all the specific local conditions and trying to make the best possible use of them.

Optimizing instead of maximizing

As a basic principle, a permaculture-based system aims to optimize the use of the land that is available. The natural limitation of space is counterbalanced through diversification; in other words the same land is used in multiple ways. Multiple use acts as a guarantee of the stability of a system that produces more as it is progressively developed.

Transferring from nature to culture

The planning and maintenance of permaculture-based cultivation are based on the complex interrelations of natural systems. Material, water and energy cycles can be optimized with relatively little input. The longer it is in use, the more income it will yield, with the concept of multiple use playing an increasingly important role.

Recognizing and exploiting potential

The further developed a permaculture system is, the more potential it will have. Which of the possibilities will be best exploited will depend on the personal skills, interests and needs of the people taking care of the system.

Developing resilient cultural landscapes

Natural systems are astonishingly resilient. This is a characteristic feature of well-planned and properly maintained permaculture systems. Each individual farm element fulfills several important tasks, and each important task is secured by several farm elements. Hence, the whole system is closely interrelated and can cope with a partial or even complete failure of one branch of production.

A positive blueprint for the future

The objective of the permaculture approach is to farm in an ecologically responsible way and to promote biodiversity wherever it is possible. Permaculture is a philosophy as well as a design approach whose roots date back to the 19th century. Today, it also applied in the design of social structures, landscape planning, architecture, urban planning and energy supply systems.

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Abonniere den Krameterhof-Newsletter zum Thema Permakultur. Erhalte immer das aktuelle Kursprogramm. Nicht mehr als eine E-Mail pro Monat.

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