Episode 321: Permaculture

Chickens can play a large role in permaculture: eating pests, scratching, and depositing nutrient-rich droppings.

Chickens can play a large role in permaculture: eating pests, scratching, and depositing nutrient-rich droppings.

The word “permaculture” refers to a set of values and principles that utilize ecological designs and self-maintained natural systems. The point is to give back – to our gardens, to the earth – in an attempt to balance out the destructive impact our own existence has on the immediate environment. The replenishment rhythms and systems in nature are used a guide in creating meaningful solutions for daily living.

While permaculture can be an approach to anything, it is typically based in agriculture and ecology, incorporating organic farm practices, agro forestry, integrated farming and natural building solutions. The core philosophies are cyclical: Care of the Earth, Care of People and the idea of Fair Share – taking only what you need.

In this episode we learn how permaculture is defined, and consider systems for our own homes and gardens, and how some simple additions or tweaks to existing habitats can help maintain a greater balance between the living world and modern convenience. We meet some folks who live and breathe and teach permaculture, and learn how these principles can be introduced into any environment, large or small.

Chef Nathan prepares a tasty marinated beet salad that was a real crowd-pleaser on set!

The Twelve Principles of Permaculture

  1. Observe and interact – By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy – By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback – We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services – Make the best use of nature s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste – By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details – By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate – By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions – Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity – Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal – The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change – We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

For More Information:

About

Growing A Greener World is a national gardening series on Public Television that features organic gardening, green living and farm to table cooking. Each episode focuses on compelling and inspirational people making a difference through gardening. This gardening series covers everything from edible gardening and sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking and preserving the harvest.

Comments

  1. lavieve says

    whoa, website looks different than last time i visited! And now the video is too pixelated to watch. Fail:(

    • says

      Hi Lavieve. Yes, the site has def. had a total makeover since the last time you were here. As part of that change, we wanted to create a richer viewer experience for all our episodes online. But, we don’t have all the kinks worked out yet. The larger format requires a much larger file upload from us. Please bear with us. Whatever we do will be better than anything in the past. Thanks for your patience and thanks again for letting us know.

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  4. Marie says

    There was a mention in the beginning of “permaculture” certification. We would like more information on this, please. Thank you

    • says

      Thank you so much, John! It’s the truth… the more we learn about permaculture the more we can make smart choices that impact the things we care about (our health and families, the Earth, our communities). We really enjoyed doing this episode.

      P.S. I also really enjoyed meeting you at the conference in Mass. It was a real treat!

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