Permaculture is such a complex term and for most people it is hard to comprehend all the areas that are covered with this elaborate system, since it is found in agriculture, construction and ecological building, and even technology, education and economics. However, it can be said that permaculture is a system of design principles that are focused on replicating or mimicking patterns and features found in nature, in order to protect the planet and have a self-sustainable ecosystem.
The actual term “permaculture” was coined in 1978 in Australia, when a college professor (Bill Mollison) with his graduate student (David Holmgren) created the elaborate system of ideas and principles, and published a book named “Permaculture One”. This is considered as the founding moment of the new system, although organic farming and eco-movements existed for a long time (even from the start of 1900s). Permaculture was heavily influenced by works of some of those pioneers of natural farming and sustainable living, including Masanobu Fukuoka, P.A. Yeomans, Rudolf Steiner, Lady Eve Balfour and others.
Imagined as a form of beliefs and set of codes, permaculture is focused on achieving the maximum level on connectivity and coherence between humans and landscape, creating sustainable, environmentally sane areas through mutual activity and interrelationship of people, plants and animals. This is divided into three main ethical rules, or tenets:
Permaculture farming is based on those ideas, but its overall message is focused on coherence of elements and the resulting synergy, and never on factors being isolated or working on their own. This may sound as the mantra from the Borg community, but things are not so intense and in this system everyone is encouraged to preserve his or her personality, even though it looks like the “resistance is futile” and that we all need to be together on this one. Saving our planet means saving ourselves, and only if the sum of its parts are together can the whole become even stronger.
There are various projects around the world that support the principles and ideas of permaculture, but one of the most popular nowadays is the “Regenerative Leadership Institute”, whose founder and CEO – Vladislav Davidzon, created a design school with slightly revolutionized approach to permaculture courses. He introduced pragmatism and total immersion in nature, and this Institute nowadays provides free online program for all interested clients. Combination of technology and eco-activism is something that future is demanding from us, and sooner we wake up and start doing something for ourselves and the nature, can we expect better days for our children.
It is no secret that monocultures provide a good base for pests to advance from minor nuisance to full blown disasters. As a result chemical insecticides have become increasingly popular to a point where some farmers see them as a basic necessity. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Farmers can learn from balanced ecosystems like forests where pests are kept down by natural predators. Permaculture relies on the principles of a resilient and balanced ecosystem to protect crops from pests.
For instance, if you use slug pellets, they will kill slugs and hedgehogs. But since slugs have a shorter lifecycle compared to hedgehogs, they will be back soon and they will thrive in your garden because you killed the only thing that could threaten their existence. Using hedgehogs to your benefit, on the other hand, has long term benefits. In addition to slugs, hedgehogs also feed on snails and other insects. Encouraging hedgehogs will require you to use a wooden box that will serve as the shelter with an opening of no more than 13cm. Bury it at a strategic location in your permaculture garden and cover it with twigs and soil, and don’t treat the box.
Codling and leek moths can be effectively controlled with bats. These birds are attracted to gardens with night-scented flowers, hedges and water features. Use a bat box to encourage them and place the box in a high, sheltered and sunny spot.
Insectary plants, otherwise known as welcome mat plants, are a great way to attract beneficial insects to your garden. Insects like lacewings, hoverflies and ladybirds feed on pests like aphids and red spider mites. Good examples of welcome mats include parsley, fennel, dill and angelica. It’s important to ensure that beneficial insects have access to nectar throughout the year and this requires that you use insectary plants that flower at different times of the year. To find out more about you can control pests naturally and promote plant growth in your garden, enroll at Open Permaculture School and also visit Regenerative Leadership Institute site.
You can have a greywater system for your family’s use or one built as per the number of rooms that the house has. Start by determining the average amount of greywater that is generated at home. The water could be generated from laundry dishwashing, bathing, and other miscellaneous uses. On an average the sink drowns about two to five gallons per day, the shower heads about five to seven gallons, the dishwasher about four to five gallons with the washing machine taking up to thirty gallons per day.
Give the final consideration on the way to dispose the effluent into the soil and ensure that the soil can accept the amount of water that will be generated from your activities, treated and discharged. You may ask your local sanitation engineer to test the ground to determine if it would percolate the water.
In the overall site plan look at the topography, slope, soil conditions and the ledge. You should look at the levels of the groundwater and the buildings around the compound. You should also check if the vegetation in the compound can withstand the grey water that you shall introduce. You should not use the greywater near the wetlands or water catchment areas.
It is important to check the plumbing code in your area and any state regulations that limit the use of greywater. The reuse regulations will lead you to safe ways of effluent discharge and other land application regulations that should be followed. In some states, you are required to have a permit from the local health boards before using the greywater. Some state environmental regulations also limit the use of greywater and require a detailed investigation before allowing the use of greywater.
The greywater may be used on the soil as it is and the soil microorganisms can work on the elements in the water safely. However, if the amount of water is so high, you may need a leach-field or the cesspool to treat the water so that it can be stored for longer before being released to the soil. The septic tanks should only be used for the blackwater.
The Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute teaches a number of ways of conserving water and reusing the greywater. They have over the years contributed to a better environment. You can apply at any time for their water conservation courses and enlighten yourself on the best ways to manage your water resource. For more information visit Regenerative Leadership Institute page.
Guilding is one of the most impressive gardening aspects of permaculture. Plants grow in small and reoccurring groups known as guilds in nature. Each guild is known to have seven layers each of which are designed in a way that uses one aspect of either the root strata or the sun. Every element of a guild makes a unique contribution. For instance, the shrub layer provide food for birds that feed on insects or use low trees as a habitat while tall trees provide shelter for small animals. Additionally, root plants seek out nutrients made available to the soil by decomposing foliage and plants found in the herb layer fix nitrogen. Mulch plants increase biomass that helps with regeneration of the soil, while neighboring plants act as protection for the entire guild.
Permaculture gardening takes advantage of nature’s biodiversity and resource management by using the knowledge to modify nature into sustainable agriculture. It is however unfortunate that we have chosen to do so in a way that only favors monoculture forgetting that Gaia can produce much more biomass on her own without any inputs on the same acre. The trick here is to ensure that we merge plants that produce usable products from humans with Gaia’s self-sufficiency and productivity. And what better way to achieve that than guilding?
In most cases, the tall tree layer is forgone in urban areas. However, if you aren’t forgoing this layer, good trees to plant would include Black Locust (nitrogen fixer), Chestnut (protein), Sugar Maple (syrup), or a Standard Pear (fruit). The low tree layer is where most of the guild design is focused and great choices for this layer include cherries, paw-paws, and pears. Plums and apples are also great for pest management. When it comes to the root, herb and shrub layers, there is a wide variety of plants you can choose from. You just have to make sure that each layer has 5 things including protection from pests and competition, pollination, mulch, nutrients and nitrogen.
The main advantage of guilds include less water requirement due to minimal evaporation, minimal pest control as they attract pest predators, and little or no fertilizer as they produce this on their own. For more on permaculture guilds, enroll at Open Permaculture School or Regenerative Leadership Institute.
Vladislav Davidzon has devoted his entire professional career to developing and launching innovative brands across the number of industries . As a leader , businessmen and environmentalist , he is dedicated to using his skills and experience to build socially responsible enterprises and his record has show exemplary success on many levels .
A peace advocate and technical professionals . Vladislav’s path began at an early age . He was trained at the franklin covey company , studying works like seven habits of highly effective people and other relevant material . These concept would stick with vladislav , applied to all aspects of his personal and professional work .
vladislav is also appreciative of the many opportunities he’s had to work alongside leading thinkers and educators over the years . This includes Bill mollison , Joanna macy , Marshall Rosenberg , larry korn , and many others.
He started his first consulting business while still in high school . It was a learning experience , of course ,and would have an incredible impact on all his business ventures going forward . This includes think host ,Inc. founded in 1999 by Vladislav Davidzon, Thinkhost is a debt free , privately owned progressive company that provides high end website hosting services . It is powered 100 percent with renewable energy .
Vladislav Davidzon built the company on three basic principle : honesty , integrity and trust . With the help of his dedicated staff , Vladislav put forth a demonstrated commitment to social change , environmental responsibility and community support . The web host is the first and leading carbon neutral company , revolutionizing the information technology industry forever.Thinkhost grew into a global leader, became profitable in just a month after its launch . Vladislav Davidzon eventually sold Thinkhost to a conglomerate that he is proud to say has an intensive sense of social responsibility .
The next evolution in Vladislav’s professionals life came after participating in a bicycle tour in America . It prompted him to found common circle Expeditions – sustainable energy in motion . This was a groundbreaking enterprise . A bicycle touring company that introduce client to sustainable living and organic food production while riding their cycles on the back roads of Oregon and Hawaii , and visiting organic farms and intentional communities .
Ultimately , common circle expedition was a resounding success . The program had an incredible impact on many of the participants citing the program as a deciding factor that led them to make significant changes in their lives They wanted to make better decisions about sustainable living and living healthier .
Vladislav Davidzon continued to focus on socially responsible leadership development.He launched the regenerative leadership institute .With students coming from New Zealand, China, Mexico and other countries around the globe . The regenerative leadership institute was a sustainable living and permaculture design school.Utilizing strategies and works engineered by Vladislav , the school revolutionized the permaculture educational industry through the reformatting of internationally recognized permaculture training . With concentrated nature immersion program in sustainable design and living , the institute made these training relevant to mainstream America . The goals was to change lives by offering pragmatic skills and a desire for more sane , beautiful thriving and sustainable planet.
There are not many people that invested great portion of their life in education of others about permaculture. Few have done this and Geoff Lawton and VladislavDavidzon are some of them. Check their Facebook page. Here I want to talk about Geoff Lawton and his views and his work.
Some of the most interesting work he done, was discovery and documentation of a thousands of years old food forest in Morocco. There is a lot of data that will hit the auditorium soon enough, about this mystical place, and I will avoid further mentioning of it. I will focus on his view of permaculture and his thoughts about it.
One of the more interesting things Geoff Lawton has said is that a permaculture is the final step Inbrain evolution. That it is a change that happens in our brain and that it extends the potential of that brain. And he may be right, because permaculture represents something new ( even though it is around for over 30 years ) and to change ourview on the world and accept the rules of permaculture and to live like that would certainly mean an evolution of a brain.
Next thing he likes to talk about and discuss is parenting. Teaching your kids about permaculture from the early years of their life, explaining how the food comes to the table, a life cycle and animals and plantsis very important. Raising your children should involve teaching them about those things, not sheltering them from knowledge they may never or may receive later. Children understand, so explain it to them.
He also talked about those that start exploring permaculture, and what should they be doing at the beginning. Zero zone should be starting point for every beginner. Venturing into the permaculture and starting with big projects with only knowledge and without practical knowledge can be devastating for both the permaculture system you are working on and to your own confidence, when it fails. And it will fail.
He also shared some information about a work he is involved in. This project is called Farm share. The idea behind this project is to start farms whose owners would be around 250 families who would work on and live from that farm. This kind of projects are already active in 2-3 countries around the globe, but his aim is to bring this to USA. Those that own these farms would receive all shares from those farms, and they will be able to decide what to do with raw products, sell them or use them. This project is an international type, and they are looking for project managers who are willing to work with them. You can find out more from permaculture design institute.
The most important thing Geoff Lawton represents and carries with him is the positive look to the future. He believes and thus works toward better future through permaculture and permaculture designs. And because of that he continues with his works, he writes books, educates people by showing them and teaching them about different aspects of permaculture.