Last week I gave you a brief overview of Via Campesina, Food Sovereignty, Eco-agricultural farming and Permaculture. These concepts/associations/practices are of paramount importance today for they represent a way out of the mire we find ourselves in; the wrong path we have chosen that is careening us towards a planet devoid of its magnificent biodiversity. These movements are ways-of-life that provide the answer and solution for our 800,000 starving fellow human beings.
I will devote an email or two to each of the social movements to properly introduce their tenants to you. In this email we will focus on Permaculture.
Permaculture as a concept and discipline is—to use a phrase from my hippy generation past—totally mind-blowing! The definition I quoted in last week’s email overviews it well.
The word “Permaculture” was coined in 1978 by Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist, with one of his students, David Holmgren: It is a contraction of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture”. Permaculture is about designing ecological human habitats and food production systems. It is a land use and community building movement, which strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils and water into stable, productive communities. The focus is not on these elements themselves, but rather on the relationships created among them by the way we place them in the landscape. This synergy is further enhanced by mimicking patterns found in nature.
The following will illuminate this definition. I first want to introduce you to Dr. Bill Mollison whose Permaculture concept and movement is now taught in 30 countries and several hundred languages. He has been awarded the Nobel Prize for the Permaculture work. Be sure and click on each of the links in this email, for they have been carefully selected and will take you deep in to the heart of Permaculture.
In this first video link Dr. Mollison shares with us the origins of Permaculture. By living in, and observing the relationships of living species within the forest, he has derived principles that we can use to create our permanent self-sustaining households, communities, towns, states and nations. Ecosystems within ecosystems—that balance energy inputs with energy expenditures—systems that provide organic foods for its inhabitants locally.
Dr. Mollison calls the forest our greatest teacher, the most complex and stable of all living systems, habitat to tens of thousands plants, animals and microbes, working and living together. He analyzed the processes involved in the perpetuation of the biodiversity of life in the forest: The forest creates not only a vibrant ecosystem for its inhabitants, but it is also critically importance to the earth’s oxygen cycle, provides a large amount of our precipitation needs, and is fundamental to atmospheric stability. Deforestation affect weather patterns, oxygen availability, and precipitation. Draughts are one symptom of deforestation.
“It is the character of forests to moderate everything. Forests moderate excessive cold and heat, excessive run-off, excessive pollution. As forests are removed, immoderate extremes arrive… At the present, we are cutting one million hectares per annum in excess of planting. Of all the forests that we ever had, as little as 2% remain in Europe… There is no such thing as primeval European forests. As little as 8% remain in South America… Even in the best managed forests, we have a constant loss of 4%, giving 25 more years to go.” (Mollison, 1981, The Terrible Time of Day).
The Permaculture Master Plan
This is the perfect time to bring Permaculture to the forefront. In this clip, entitled The Permaculture Master Plan, a vision is provided as to how it may be taught and spread around the world.
The vehicle of implementation could be governments sponsored and financed creating jobs for millions. It could be structured similar to the US Peace Corps. In fact, it could be part of the Peace Corps program, expanding it into a three year volunteer training and employment under the title, The Permaculture Project. Its goals are the following:
Permaculture in Action- Greening the Desert
In the following clip you will see the unbelievable restoring benefit to the land that Permaculture can produce. An absolutely barren desert is transformed into a Garden of Eden.
In this final clip Nightline with Terry Moran interviews a family in Pasadena, CA, who turned their yard into a food system. Again, it is absolutely amazing how productive our local environment can be. It is just a matter of our all learning how to nurture the land.
We have been given a magnificent earth of abundant life that is sensitive to our touch. We have abused and misused it. Our lack of good stewardship has brought our earth into crisis. We cannot sit back and wait for someone to develop some sort of master plan that is adopted worldwide, but each of us incrementally in our own home and neighborhood and communities can make the changes to sustainable living.
I added last weekend a 5-gallon pot with a tomato and basal plant. This joins with our herb garden, in a pot, on our deck containing dill, thyme, sage, mint and rosemary. It’s a beginning. How are you doing?
New on our website is the new formulation of Cruciferous Sprouts in capsules. Four capsules will give you the nutritional strength of the teaspoon of the powdered form. We took out the alfalfa, cauliflower, red clover and added cabbage and red radish. Take it away from food to maximize absorption.
The Last Quiz Answer: This amazing animal is the world’s smallest primate. Now do you know what it is? It’s a lemur for Madagascar.
“If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons, but barrels.” (Steven Hopp)
A family documented year of procuring as much of their food as possible from neighboring farms and their own backyard.