Introduction to Permaculture

What is Permaculture ?

Permaculture is defined as “the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient”. However, there is a growing number of people to whom that Permaculture means much more as if it’s a philosophy.

This might have happened because a number of advantages and important connections with other systems were found while pursuing this sustainability. Agriculture for millennia has been the basis for humanity and society as we know it. It has a direct impact on fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climate, diseases, plagues, ecosystems and countless other nature elements. Based on the principles of Permaculture a number of solutions were found that have very positive consequences. Both directly or indirectly, in life and nature and even in today’s most valued factor, money. Permaculture seems to be, in various ways, a miraculous solution for a whole array of problems, a sort of elixir that cures a number of diseases and ailments.

Why isn’t Permaculture a “thing” worldwide ?

Why it’s still not implemented on a very significant scale worldwide can be reduced to two interconnected reasons: lack of information and big capital companies interested in maintaining the status quo. One thing for sure is true: that the awareness is growing, and those who have observed it automatically develop a passion for Permaculture. And to love of nature that then transpires into other aspects of life. Still, Permaculture in its essence can be a pretty big and complex topic. Furthermore, there is no one-book of universal Permaculture solutions that work every time. Yes, there are a number of already published books, but there are no true limits to its extent and range of solutions.

How did I manage to learn an apply the Permaculture principles ?

I’ve been learning and applying Permaculture principles to several projects I have been involved in. I’ve always learned something, but this last time I learned much more than I anticipated.

The differences between Europe and South America are huge when it comes to agriculture. So huge in fact that major Permaculture components couldn’t be merely adapted to a new environment, but actually completely redesigned.

I worked in an organic garden in Ecuador

Definitely not ideal conditions. But when one thinks of the Amazon, we think about lush vegetation and dense flora. “How come?” – we ask ourselves. For instance, the answer to that is that the Amazon thrives on its own because it has been untouched for a large number of years. Nature has found itself a way, as it always does. This has created a very special sort of climate that allowed the proliferation of the species. The ecosystems here are very fragile and the independency between plants and animals is extremely high. On a side note, rebuilding these ecosystems after deforestation becomes harder and harder with every acre of Amazon destroyed.

I was part of an organic garden project in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Here there are a number of extreme factors that severely condition farming. For starters, the soil is mostly clayish. This means roots have a hard time fixating themselves. That the permeability to water is very reduced, that the water table is situated very close to the surface (at times even above). And that a high percentage of seeds drown before sprouting.

 

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