Permaculture is Design not Chance
A lot of people think they are doing permaculture by growing food, being active in social networks and community banking etc. They might be doing something that looks like permaculture, but unless it has intentional design, it is permaculture by chance. Permaculture takes chance out of the equation and sets out to make things happen by design.
It’s not about what you have, but how you use it.
A tree has many uses and so does a pond. Even a house produces more than shelter for the residents; it produces some shade and windbreak for the garden. A gnarled and knobbly tree that is useless for lumber will provide shade for many years. And an old hen will serve to fertilise the soil, consume scraps, and scratch up the garden so we can manage it where it can be of good use. Each things we have has several functions. We can choose to ignore these function or use them by consciously connecting things and creating a design.
Here is a dysfunctional garden, the truck is a danger to water quality and to the hens and is heating up in the full sun. The pond is evaporating fast in full sun. The herb and vegetable patch is in deep shade. The house has rotten fruit on its paths and is not shaded.
In this second sketch, the same elements are better positioned so that they work together. The falling fruit is eaten by hens; the hens kept out off the paths, away from cars and vegetables; the pond helps cool the house. The vegetables and herbs are close to the house and near the path so they are noticed and harvested often. Palms collect breezes, circulate the air near the house, and provide shade for the house and truck.
house and near the path so they are noticed and harvested often. Palms collect breezes, circulate the air near the house, and provide shade for the house and truck.
There can be no ideal model for a permaculture design. Each permaculture design must be tailored according to needs of the user, the climate, the shape of the landscape and the social needs. Permaculture design works best through observation and interaction. The user takes an active role in creating their Permaculture lifestyle.