An Introduction to Permaculture…

Having been with the company for three weeks now, the time has come for my first blog post. I thought that it would be a good opportunity for me to talk about one of my main interests, which also happens to be rather appropriate, considering the industry in which we operate.

permaculture

Permaculture is, to describe it in its most literal terms, ‘permanent agriculture’. I first heard of it during my GAP year in Brazil, when I spent time on a Permaculture farm, and I have been fascinated by it ever since.

Permaculture is an integrated approach to designing healthy, productive and wildlife-friendly places and communities. It operates under three main ‘ethics’ –

1: Care for people; building communities and helping people to access resources necessary to their existence.

2: Care for the earth; working with natural systems rather than competing with them and using methods that have minimal negative impact on the Earth’s natural environment.

3: Fair shares; By governing our own needs, living within limits and consciously co-creating, we can create surplus resources, which aids the other two principles.

Despite my interest in cultivating crops and creating wild-flower gardens, I am by no means naturally green-fingered, and have been responsible for the untimely death of many a rose bush and tomato plant. However, regardless of this apparent lack in skills, I ploughed on with my research into Permaculture, and a few years ago I enrolled in a Permaculture Design Course. This was a turning point for me, as I learnt the principles of working with nature rather than against it, including techniques such as companion growing, no-dig gardening (a real revelation for a rather lazy gardener!) and ‘maximum yield from minimal effort’. It quickly became apparent that through implementing these principles even I could have success in growing my own food and creating wildlife habitats and, as I had always suspected, there is little more satisfying in life than that.

I am about to embark upon my diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, which is a course of self-directed study, during which I will prepare 10 designs that, in theory, demonstrate my ability to apply permaculture ethics and principles, and show my competence at using a range of design methods, tools and skills – I will keep you posted with my progress!

Fay Wilkinson

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