Permaculture in Practice

I am an absolute amature at permaculture. Are you sensing a “master-of-none” theme here? It is accurate. But ever since reading Toby Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden almost 20 years ago, the principles and their application have intrigued me. If you aren’t familiar with permaculture, it is an approach to modeling sustainable, natural systems in human-centric spaces.

You notice that when you go out into your local forests, prairies, or even deserts that they do not require human care. They are beautiful, sustainable systems on their own, relying only on sun and rain and the local soils for their care. Food is produced and waste is recycled. Everyone and everything in that ecosystem plays a role and depends on at least some of the other residents of the place they call home.

Why don’t our yards work that way?

Could they?

Permaculture’s basic principles are designed to help people create systems that are more like natural ones. The 12 principles are as follows:

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources
  6. Produce no Waste
  7. Design from Patterns to Details
  8. Integrate, Do not Segregate
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions
  10. Use and Value Diversity
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change

In coming posts, I will explore each of these separately and show how I’ve attempted to apply them in the yard.

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