The word permaculture comes from the combination of the words permanent agriculture, but the practitioners of permaculture talk about much more than establishing a no-till farm. Central to permaculture are the ideas of care for the earth, care of people and everyone getting a share of the fruits of the earth and labor of people.
Permaculture principles are: 1. Observe and interact 2. Catch and store energy 3. Obtain a yield 4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback 5. Use and value renewable resources and services 6. Produce no waste 7. Design from patterns to details 8. Integrate rather than segregate 9. Use small and slow solutions 10. Use and value diversity 11. Use edges and value margin 12. Creatively use and respond to change
Permaculture was developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970”s. It has since grown to an international movement and is practiced in a number of different ways in a number of different environments. Both the philosophical and conceptual aspects of permaculture as well as the practices have expanded and spread. Each is applied within the environment and culture, so there is no single practice or technique for all permaculture installations. As long as the principles are adhered to, to the best of the practioner’s ability, it is a permaculture, whether it is a small urban situation or a major ecological reclamation project, whether it is in a rainforest or desert.
In the desert water harvesting through the use of swales and berms, and addition of organic matter have become important permaculture practices.
Examples of desert permaculture can be seen in the high, cold desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA as well as warmer locations in the Middle East, Africa and of course, Australia where permaculture originated. As desertification continues because of mechanized and industrialized agriculture and global warming, these desert practices are becoming even more important the world over.
A very interesting video on a permaculture project in Jordan can be seen by clicking on the link below.