By J Russell Hart
Our society today is basically selfish and we rely on industry for our needs. We like fast food, throw-away goods and cheap fuel. None of this is sustainable and will eventually lead to a society that falls in on itself. But help is at hand; it is called permaculture.
Permaculture is another way to look at the world and its resources. We'll look at just what is meant by permaculture, the history of this conservation movement and meet some of its originators and the future of Permaculture. You may find that you are already applying some of the basic tenants of this small but growing movement.
What does it Really Mean?
Permaculture, as you may have guessed, is a contraction of the words permanent culture. The idea being that we rely more on sustainable agriculture not dependent on fossil fuels.
It will use local resources, smaller more diverse crop planning, non-chemically dependent fertilizing, for example.
Permaculture is a movement away from anything big and industrial to the smaller and sustainable farms, encouraging more interdependence with community members.
How Permaculture Began
It all began in the '70s by a wildlife biologist and ecologist named Bill Mollison of Australia. He saw the growing monster of the Industrial revolution and its impact on our culture.
How this kind of culture was bound to eventually cave in due to its monstrous appetite. Rather than reacting in a negative way to this, he instead decided to take a more positive approach.
By studying nature, he came to several conclusions about how nature goes through sustainable cycles without the benefit of man. Bill began to live and then to teach his philosophy.
Basic Steps of Permaculture
Another man who has silently built up a following in this movement is Masanobu Fukuoka. He believes that you should disturb the soil to an absolute minimum. Seeds are planted right on the soil's surface and then lightly covered with straw or other light mulch.
Weeds are trimmed before the flower stage and allowed to become part of the mulch. This kills unwanted vegetation without poison and gives a favorable soil in which to plant. In time the soil becomes healthy and weeds and pests become less of a concern.
You Mean Weeds are Good?
Ruth Stout is another voice in this community. Her ideas about "no-till" gardening have caused many to change their views about weeds and weeding. Similar to Fukuoka, she purported to never need to weed but allowed plants to grow together.
All vegetation, both "good" and "bad," build the soil which leads to healthy crops which means less pests. Once the soil is built weeding becomes as simple as flicking out the weed. All without chemicals and pesticides.
Small Beginnings to - What?
From its small, quiet revolutionary beginnings, it is apparent that permaculture will have to be embraced to a greater or lesser degree. Pollution due to industrial waste and mass transportation systems are on their way down memory lane. It will cost too much to ship in food from across the country so it makes more and more sense to buy food grown locally or grow it yourself.
The basic philosophy of permaculture is gradually gaining ground as people begin to understand its benefits. Once thought to be something that only 3rd generation hippies were interested in, it can now be seen in urban life as people have their vegetable patch and throw the unneeded pieces and prunings back onto the garden for mulch.
It is good to see that something so inherently useful to society across the globe is having such a good impact on all our lives.
A keen and active gardener the author of this article, Russell Hart, had the good fortune to own ten acres of land on which to build his garden.
As he progressed with the task of establishing the garden property, and co-incidently having adopted the Paleo diet due to it's basis being eating only natural foods (see http://www.paleodiet1.com ) he came across the permaculture concept. He immediately recognized it's benefits, both for himself and his property and for the overall benefit to society.
Learn more about Russell's approach to successful gardening by visiting http://www.creativegardeningtips.com
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