Permaculture (permanent culture, or permanent agriculture) is a combination of ideas, practices, ancient traditions, modern technologies, natural patterns, and synergistic systems that come together to create continual, self sustaining communities. But it’s more than that. Perhaps too much to put into words in this limited space. Former student of the Lyons Permaculture Design Course, Katie Homes, shares her experiences in the first 12 days of her course…
“I didn’t know what Permaculture was when I walked into my first day of class 12 days ago, I just knew that I wanted to be there, on that farm in Lyons, CO, digging my hands into some serious dirt and finding myself lost in endless conversations on a different way of life. Further knowledge on medicinal plants is what sold me on attending the course but really, I had dabbled in all of this “permaculture stuff” in previous education back in my college days. ”Why are you attending this course?” friends and family have asked me and I answer with this: I want to live WITH the Earth, not against it.
Erin, one of my many teachers, told us that there are endless ways to explain Permaculture. If you google the term Permaculture you find definitions like these:‘Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.’ – Wikipedia
‘Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.’ – www.pemaculture.org
Yeah, exactly, SO much more. Technically, from what I gather, permaculture is based around three aspects.
- Earth Care
- People Care
- Fair Share
It’s an ethical framework of sorts, understandings of how the earth and human nature function, concluding with a design approach to allow humans to live in a system that supports their natural environment. By providing a homestead that nurtures the land and the animals in it, humans benefit as well. The outcome? An ecological system that is NOT competing with each other but co operating with one another. A land that thrives and gives back in abundance and all the things we throw the green dollar towards: Food, medicine, and community. In a sense, Permaculture is teaching us to mimic what nature already is; a fluid self-sustaining system of companionship and support. The truth is, it’s not important if we know or don’t know what Permaculture is defined as. I’m not concerned with the term. I’m concerned with the lessons that Permaculture teaches; the ones we should already know and maybe already do know deep down in our gene pool.
The Native Americans knew and countless of other indigenous communities knew, and STILL know. Why are the rest of these communities, we, so out of the “know”? How did we get here, so incredibly removed from the very things that are vital to our existence? Why can our children list off an abundance of logo’s from technological companies, but know almost nothing about the plants and tree’s in their backyards? Our thumbs move at an incredible speed, texting friends from across the room, while our verbal communication skills dwindle. Our finger nails remain clean, feet polished, where are our favorite grass stained jeans?
There is this misconception that connecting with our backyards and growing nutrient rich foods is an expensive endeavor. Just this morning my sister told me she wanted to re design her back yard, but that it was just too expensive. She would be “splurging” on two rose bushes later this spring. No offense, rose bushes are beautiful and I love the smell, actually I lie, I don’t really like the smell of roses, I have snagged many clothing items on those rather razor like thorns and don’t really understand what all the hype is. You can harvest the rose hips, they are a great source for vitamin C, but I doubt that was her reasoning for including these potent creatures into her landscape. I realize I am TOTALLY getting off subject, but just wait, I do have a point in here somewhere.
Instead of planting a non-native plant in her east coast landscape, why not plant something NATIVE, ah-ha, wouldn’t that be something. Or maybe something edible, medicinal, or SOFT? The cost of two rose bushes, the non organic kind, and I say that light-heartedly, is about $18.95 including tax. She could buy a total of 6 packets of seeds that would give her an incredible abundance of plants in her yard. For instance, tomatoes grow like little red balls of Gods on the East coast due to the, heat, humidity and rain fall that occurs there. Chives, dill, cucumber, Echinacea! Oh, the possibilities for not only esthetically BEAUTIFUL plants but nutritious plants as well! AND if she re positioned her gutters, the rain water she could collect… well, that’s another topic.
The point is, is that we need to get reconnected with our land. We need to reconnect with ourselves and we need to turn our cell phones OFF. All of the community that we are eager to connect with, the nutrition and health that we would like to nurture our bodies with, and the peace we are seeking to lessen the chaos of our lives, is all found in nature. If this is the case, why are we paving it and sweeping it clean of its medicinal properties? Why are we quick to divert rain water into a massive, turbulent stream of run off, stripping our soil’s magic and placing it into the oceans when we could be diverting it into our gardens? Why are we not going with the flow but against the tide natures natural way of being? So many “whys” that will hopefully be addressed here in this blog.
Anyway……. back to Permaculture. It’s incredible. It’s a modern name for ancient old concepts. It’s connecting US to the land and the LAND to us. So let’s all say goodbye to our past ideals and welcome in the new ones.”