Permaculture as a movement is now 30 years old. Many of us doing Permaculture have set up on sites on our own. Some have joined a eco-living community and live in a village of some shared facilities, orchards and fields.
Villages are more economical and environmentally sensitive than either cities or farms.
Villages can be settlements to minimise waste; build businesses and community productivity; increase diversity in the landscape; and preserve natural areas within a populated area. Most people choose to live in areas that have a good micro-climate and most cities are based on a natural water course. These ideal living areas, if allowed to be developed unplanned can pollute the very environs that attracted people in the first place. The air and water becomes polluted, the natural vegetation and animals drastically reduced and the people’s health deteriorate.
Why villages and not individual permaculture designed farms? It is easier to set up self-reliance and community interdependence if we are in contact with others regularly. People on farms can feel isolated and over-worked (it is very time consuming to be self-reliant on a large property), when they need quick assistance (with sick animals etc.) help is delayed. In Permaculture Villages areas are shared for large scale use such as large animals, mixed broad acre plantings etc.
Villages enable people to pool resources and share resources (specialised equipment, tools, transportation, machinery, animals, information, education, services). Sharing resources builds understanding.
Modern society seems to cling to the notion of a beautiful untouched wilderness. We idolise nature without people. And it is this concept that drove tribal people from their lands, broke the bonds of sharing and has driven our culture from its agricultural roots. Permaculture is not about opening the precious remaining rainforests for dwellings but about bringing nature back to the people.