Frequently Asked Questions
What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is a design process that results in food-growing systems, buildings and communities that have a regenerative effect on the planet. It is about understanding how nature operates and then taking steps to quickly restore balance and harmony.
Why do we need Permaculture?
Humanity has been working very hard to improve living standards and to lift people out of poverty, using natural resources in order to do so. Unfortunately, we have done so in ignorance of the natural environment. Our water, air, soils and climate are all interrelated and they are all changing very rapidly as a result of our common practices. These changes mean that we will not be able to feed, water and shelter our populations in the near future. We must take action immediately, in order to reverse the damage done, and to restore what we can. Mother nature can regenerate herself, but we must first stop poisoning her and then support her rehabilitation. Unfortunately humanity is still a very long way from doing this.
The UN has stated that between 47-51% of the Carbon put into the atmosphere by humans has come from the soils. This is because of tillage (ploughing) which causes soil organic matter to be rapidly digested and blown-off as C02. We can reverse this, but only with concerted efforts.
The chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used in modern agricultural practices are killing our oceans. One key group of organisms in the ocean, phytoplankton, are responsible for the production of c70% of the world’s Oxygen. Some scientists now estimate that numbers of Phytoplankton have been reduced by 40% since 1950 (ref: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/save-the-plankton-breathe-freely/).
How can I get started in Permaculture?
There are a number of options available to the newbee: You can come along to a practical event or Permablitz where you can meet many of the people active in Permaculture in a Permaculture setting; you may opt to go on a Permaculture course; there are a number of books on Permaculture that you may wish to read; or you can contact us and we can discuss your needs and advise you on the best place for you to begin your journey.
Where can I learn more about Permaculture?
The internet is of course the best place to start. If you would like to be inspired by some of the biggest project in Permaculture then please have a look at some of the Youtube videos by Geoff Lawton and/or join online courses like Sustainable Design Masterclass.
Who invented Permaculture?
Permaculture was created by Bill Mollison (an Australian Ecologist) and David Holmgren (an Australian (an Environmental Designer). It was first described in 1978 in their first book: Permaculture One.
What does the word Permaculture really mean?
The word Permaculture originates from the two words Permanent & Agriculture, and was initially employed to describe a holistic and natural design system used to create food-growing systems that are harmonious with nature. The design philosophy of Permaculture has since been applied to a wider context which includes construction, transportation and just about any other human activity you care to mention. This wider context can be represented by the two words Permanent and Culture, which together represent the focus of many Permaculturists around the world i.e. finding solutions that will enable civilization to survive and to thrive in harmony with the natural environment.
How long has Permaculture existed?
Permaculture was created in the late 1970s in Australia. Since then it has been applied in numerous parts of the world in many different climates and in many different systems.
Does it really work?
Permaculture has been demonstrated to be very effective in numerous applications. In essence, working with nature is probably the only way in which we can survive as a civilization on this planet, and this is basically what Permaculture is all about i.e. redesigning our systems such that they are sustainable and indeed regenerative (supporting mother Earth to repair herself). In this sense, yes it does work.
What’s the best technique to use on my land?
There are numerous and varied techniques that can be applied to any specific piece of land. These cover a wide diversity of issues such as: The Soil, Water Management, Nutrient Cycling, Toxicity, Wind, Crop Rotation etc… And there are a number of different approaches within each area.
Working with an experienced Permaculture Designer is a good place to begin if you are intent on getting things right from the start. And it is essential to get the design in place before you start the project, or as soon as possible, as this will ensure that you are not having to rectify any mistakes.
Every piece of land is different and so having a bespoke design for your land is very important.
Where can I find a consultant to work with?
There are several individuals on the island at present who offer a design service. Some individuals are specialised in certain areas of permaculture and often work together as a team. Please click here for more information.
How can Permaculture reverse Global Warming?
A simple example of this is topsoil: The world’s topsoil is being depleted at an alarming rate and nature requires 400-500 years to produce 1cm of topsoil. With Permaculture, we can produce 3-4cm in about 5 years!
A recent study concluded that: Increasing the Organic Matter in the world’s soils by just 2% would reverse the effects of Global Warming (by capturing and storing Carbon). So Permaculture really is the solution!