Is permaculture just a fancy name for ”cooler” organic gardening?
Permaculture is a design philosophy /methodology and set of practices that aim to create sustainable and self-sufficient human settlements and agricultural systems. It is based on the principles of working with, rather than against, nature; maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste; and taking a holistic and integrated approach to design.
Permaculture practices include using diverse plant and animal species in mutually beneficial relationships, incorporating elements such as composting, water management, and natural building materials into designs, and minimizing the use of non-renewable resources. Permaculture can be applied to a wide range of contexts, including urban and rural settings, and is often used in agriculture, forestry, and land management.
Some common techniques and strategies used in permaculture include:
- Plant guilds: Groupings of plants that have mutually beneficial relationships, such as a fruit tree surrounded by nitrogen-fixing plants, pest-deterring plants, and plants that attract beneficial insects.
- Polycultures: Planting a diverse mix of crops together, rather than a monoculture of a single crop, which can improve soil health, increase pest and disease resistance, and improve overall yield.
- Agroforestry: Integrating trees and shrubs into agricultural systems, often by planting trees and crops together in a way that maximizes their productivity and ecological benefits. Good example is the multistrata agroforestry - the food forest.
- Water harvesting and management: Capturing and storing rainwater and using it efficiently, through techniques such as swales, contour planting, and cisterns.
- Composting: Decomposing organic matter to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used to fertilize plants.
Permaculture has the potential to help create more sustainable and resilient communities and food systems, and is increasingly being adopted around the world as a way to address environmental and social challenges.
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As you may know, both of us are Finnish Permaculture Association actives since its creation in 2016.