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What are the principles of permaculture?

Did you know that permaculture is a philosophy? Read how you could apply these principles to your own life.
Example of lush green permaculture garden
© The University of Waikato

Permaculture – created from the words ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture’ is a creative design process based on whole-systems thinking informed by ethics and design principles. The contraction of terms is now used more inline with ‘permanent culture’ thinking as a philosophy.

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This approach guides us to mimic the patterns and relationships we can find in nature and can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and even economics.

By adopting the ethics and applying these principles in our daily life we can make the transition from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible producers. This journey builds skills and resilience at home and in our local communities that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy.

Permaculture is more than gardening …. It involves thinking tools, that when used together, allow us to creatively re-design our environment and our behaviour in a world of less energy and resources.

Some things have many functions:

● Most available space is used – including vertical space

● Nutrients are recycled and replaced using compost and green manure.

● Waste is used as a resource

● A wide range of annual and perennial plants are grown to produce a year-round food supply

● Vegetable beds are designed for effective crop rotation

● Animals (bees, chickens, worms and insects) are a key part of the garden

● Recycled materials are used wherever possible to save money and reduce waste

● Each system imitates a natural system.

Add your thoughts on permaculture. Could you apply the principles to your life?

© The University of Waikato
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