Permaculture is an ethical design science for the establishment of sustainable productive ecosystems that mimic the natural world.
There are many tools available to you in the production of food and community. A wide diversity of disciplines and literature exist that each have valuable insight to offer: organic, biodynamic, agroforestry, aquaculture, and the list goes on. These and many other practices are tools that can help us build sustainable productive ecosystems in agriculture and human settlement. The problem is that each of these, and the many other disciplines that are out there, lack unifying principles that can make sense out of the whole. They are like taking a hammer to build a structure that was never designed by an architect. Permaculture is a design system that is to food production and community development what architecture is to building.
When we began to learn about and apply Permaculture principles and ethics so many things snapped into place. Not just in food production, but in our relationship to God, other people and the world around us. It helped us to clarify a commitment to restoring the neglected, bringing life out of dead things and working toward abundance. It has helped us develop a creative eye to establish places of peace that produce yields of food and community.
Permaculture is driven by a set of ethics and principles. There are three core ethics:
Return of Surplus
All three must be in place for any of them to work. For example, if we are not caring for the earth, people will suffer; If we are not caring for people, surplus will be an unachievable dream; if we don't give surplus back, the system will not be self-sustaining.
Permaculture principles also provide a way forward in some of the most complex environmental and communal issues of our day. Permaculture provides powerful insight into climate destabilization, food security, community development and many other pressing social and environmental issues. This is one of the reasons it is being recognized as a valuable asset in worldwide aid projects.
There is a great deal more that could be said about Permaculture. A lot has been said. You could spend days traveling down the online rabbit hole from blogs to videos to books and the like. If you are interested in learning more, consider taking an on-site class at Out of Ashes Farm. Nothing beats learning together in community and seeing principles in action in moving toward a more regenerative lifestyle.