What is a Permaculture farm?
Are you sure the food you and your family are eating is healthy? If you have a Permaculture farm and eat the food produced , the answer will be YES!
Permaculture is an ethical design science. Permaculture is bigger than simply a farm, permaculture design can be applied to almost every aspect of our lives. That application will give us significantly better results using sustainability metrics as opposed to not applying permaculture.
Permaculture has three core ethics; 1 Earth Care, our activity should not cause long term damage to the planet or its living elements. 2 People Care, our activity should not be at the expense of another person. 3 Fair share, return what you don't use and make sure others have some too.
One of the most important elements of permaculture design is observation. When you are designing a permaculture farm. You need to observe many things.
Where are you? What is the climate, is it tropical, temperate or arid. Our climates are changing of course and this will perhaps cause farmers problems with crops. Knowing where you are in the world and what kinds of plants and animals are adapted to that climate is essential. I live in the tropics and grow Pineapples if I tried to grow them in my native UK climate, they would not fruit as they are not adapted to a cold climate.
Which direction does the wind come from? Knowing which direction a strong damaging wind comes from can help you set up wind barriers that might help mitigate the damage from the wind. Large open fields in traditional monoculture farming are prone to wind damage, which costs farmers significant losses. Designing your house with the front door opening into a cold winter wind would increase your heating bills too.
The first intention is to produce a good percentage of the food that we ourselves and our families need to consume, this reduces our financial outputs and increases our control of the nutrient density of our food. When you buy food from the supermarket, are you sure it is free of harmful chemicals, do you know if it is high in natural vitamins or is simply a chemically induced product from an industrial supplier.
Once your own food has been produced you can start to think about what you can produce in surplus to sell or barter. If you try to compete head to head with an industrial farm, you will lose on price. Understand your local market, what do they want to buy? If the local buyers are looking for fresh, local organic vegetables then great, people will happily pay more for what they want and see value in. Often raw products do not attract a high value so it is worth converting them into something with a higher value, potatoes into vodka for example!
What kinds of pest problems do local producers encounter? Our objective is not to exterminate all the pests, these pests are food for someone, if we kill all the pests with chemicals, as is the practice in many traditional farms, then we starve the predators to death too, so when the next pest comes back, now there is no predator and the pest can become a plague. The better approach is to understand what habitat the predators need and give it to them, the predators will keep the pest population levels at a point where they do not devastate all your crops. Some damage is inevitable so grow more than you need. You can also plant things in patches rather than straight lines, putting some plants here and there makes it harder for the pests to find your garden treasure, the use of colours and decoy plants can also help increase your yields.
Permaculture is a holistic design, we need to understand how different elements interact with each other, by placing elements next to, above, under etc. another element we can increase our yield and decrease our work load and energy input.
A permaculture farm does not spray its fields with toxic chemicals, it understands how to use the local resources in a way that soil fertility is increased, local biodiversity increased, the health of the owner is increased through good food consumption and the abundance of beauty around them.
Thanks for reading and if you would like to know more about Permaculture design check out my free course here. https://pdcpermaculture.com