Permaculture: Agriculture as if the Planet Matters

By Lauren Latour 

If you want to get an in-depth understanding of the principles of permaculture, the Deanery Project is sponsoring a two-week intensive from August 14-17 with one of Canada’s leading experts in this cutting-edge approach to one of humanity’s oldest problems: growing the food we need while preserving the health of the soil and the surrounding ecosystems. 

Australian Bill Mollison brought the term “permaculture” (meaning “permanent agriculture”) into popular use in 1978. Mollison defined permaculture as “a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.” 

Mollison knew that in some parts of the world, farmers had been practicing the fundamental principles of permaculture for millennia—common sense strategies that worked with, and respected, local resources. 

Since 1978, practitioners of permaculture have been spreading the practice around the planet, following Mollison’s advice to adapt their methods based on what they observed in their own part of the world. So permaculture is all about holistic models that integrate multiple facets of agriculture, aquaculture, and animal husbandry, including water, soil management, and human needs.  

In Permaculture practices, organic isn’t just a buzzword, or label denoting an inflated price-point on kale, but a word with real meaning—here it means agriculture free from fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified organisms, and growth hormones.  

  The benefits of utilizing Permaculture practices are many, with reciprocal relationships that benefit the people planting the crops, the soil, insects, and animals that call those ecosystems home…. and of course the people consuming the food which is harvested. 

For more information on Permaculture, visit thedeaneryproject.com, where you can learn about our Permaculture Design Certification Course being offered Aug. 14 -27. Curriculum includes:  Patterns in nature, ecological food systems, soil biology and soil repair, capturing carbon and other GHG in soils, no-till gardens/agriculture, water management systems, prevention of droughts and floods, alternative energy systems, aquaculture and ecological fish farming. 

Lauren Latour is outreach and communications coordinator for the Deanery Project.  

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