As I had landed in Japan for work unrelated to Mr. Fukuoka prior to landing at Narita airport. This was before the convenience of email and google searches to get contact information. Nihon C. The Nihon C.

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History[ edit ] Several individuals revolutionized the branch of permaculture. In , Joseph Russell Smith added an antecedent term as the subtitle for Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, a book which sums up his long experience experimenting with fruits and nuts as crops for human food and animal feed.

This book inspired many individuals intent on making agriculture more sustainable, such as Toyohiko Kagawa who pioneered forest farming in Japan in the s.

Yeomans introduced both an observation-based approach to land use in Australia in the s and the Keyline Design as a way of managing the supply and distribution of water in the s. Dangers of the rapidly growing use of industrial-agricultural methods sparked these ideas. They responded with a design approach called permaculture. This term was first made public with their publication of their book Permaculture One.

Simon J. Fjell was a Founding Director of the Permaculture Institute in late and a teacher of the first Permaculture Design Course, having first met Mollison in By the early s, the concept had broadened from agricultural systems design towards sustainable human habitats.

After Permaculture One, Mollison further refined and developed the ideas by designing hundreds of permaculture sites and writing more detailed books, such as Permaculture: A Designers Manual. Mollison lectured in over 80 countries and taught his two-week PDC to hundreds of students.

They argue that the self-help model of permaculture instruction has had the effect in the West of organizing students into the sort of market-focused individualistic sets of social relationships permaculture initially opposed. Care of people: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence Setting limits to population and consumption: By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.

Either can be done with or without the other. Sharing fairly is, however, a necessary consequence of the three ethics taken together. Permaculture design emphasizes patterns of landscape , function, and species assemblies. It determines where these elements should be placed so they can provide maximum benefit to the local environment. Permaculture maximizes useful connections between components and synergy of the final design. The focus of permaculture, therefore, is not on each separate element, but rather on the relationships created among elements by the way they are placed together; the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Permaculture design therefore seeks to minimize waste , human labor, and energy input by building systems, and maximizes benefits between design elements to achieve a high level of synergy.

Permaculture designs evolve over time by taking into account these relationships and elements and can evolve into extremely complex systems that produce a high density of food and materials with minimal input. Permaculture draws from several disciplines, including organic farming , agroforestry , integrated farming , sustainable development , and applied ecology.

Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.

Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.

Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place.

These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time. Layers[ edit ] Suburban permaculture garden in Sheffield , UK with different layers of vegetation Layers are one of the tools used to design functional ecosystems that are both sustainable and of direct benefit to humans.

A mature ecosystem has a huge number of relationships between its component parts: trees, understory , ground cover , soil , fungi , insects, and animals. Because plants grow to different heights, a diverse community of life is able to grow in a relatively small space, as the vegetation occupies different layers. There are generally seven recognized layers in a food forest , although some practitioners also include fungi as an eighth layer.

Large trees dominate, but typically do not saturate the area, i. Understory layer: trees that flourish in the dappled light under the canopy. Shrub layer : a diverse layer of woody perennials of limited height. Includes most berry bushes. Herbaceous layer : Plants in this layer die back to the ground every winter, if cold enough.

They do not produce woody stems as the Shrub layer does. Many culinary and medicinal herbs are in this layer. A large variety of beneficial plants fall into this layer. May be annuals, biennials or perennials. Cover crops retain soil and lessen erosion , along with green manures that add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, especially nitrogen. Rhizosphere : Root layers within the soil.

The major components of this layer are the soil and the organisms that live within it such as plant roots and rhizomes including root crops such as potatoes and other edible tubers , fungi, insects, nematodes, worms, etc. Guilds[ edit ] A guild is a group of species within which each provides a unique set of diverse functions that work in conjunction or harmony. There are many forms of guilds, including guilds of plants with similar functions that could interchange within an ecosystem, but the most common perception is that of a mutual support guild.

Mutual support guilds are groups of animals , insects , plants , etc. Plants may be grown for food production, draw nutrients from deep in the soil through tap roots, are nitrogen-fixing legumes , attract beneficial insects , and repel harmful insects.

When grouped together in a mutually beneficial arrangement, these plants form a guild. Permaculturists argue that where vastly differing systems meet, there is an intense area of productivity and useful connections. An example of this is the coast; where the land and the sea meet, there is a particularly rich area that meets a disproportionate percentage of human and animal needs. This idea is played out in permacultural designs by using spirals in herb gardens, or creating ponds that have wavy undulating shorelines rather than a simple circle or oval thereby increasing the amount of edge for a given area.

Frequently manipulated or harvested elements of the design are located close to the house in zones 1 and 2. Manipulated elements located further away are used less frequently.

Zones are numbered from 0 to 5 based on positioning. Here permaculture principles would be applied in terms of aiming to reduce energy and water needs, harnessing natural resources such as sunlight, and generally creating a harmonious, sustainable environment in which to live and work. Zone 1 The zone nearest to the house, the location for those elements in the system that require frequent attention, or that need to be visited often, such as salad crops, herb plants, soft fruit like strawberries or raspberries , greenhouse and cold frames , propagation area, worm compost bin for kitchen waste, etc.

Raised beds are often used in Zone 1 in urban areas. Zone 2 This area is used for siting perennial plants that require less frequent maintenance, such as occasional weed control or pruning , including currant bushes and orchards, pumpkins, sweet potato, etc. This would also be a good place for beehives , larger scale composting bins, etc. Zone 3 The area where main-crops are grown, both for domestic use and for trade purposes. After establishment, care and maintenance required are fairly minimal provided mulches and similar things are used , such as watering or weed control maybe once a week.

Zone 4 A semi-wild area. This zone is mainly used for forage and collecting wild food as well as production of timber for construction or firewood.

Zone 5 A wilderness area. There is no human intervention in zone 5 apart from the observation of natural ecosystems and cycles. Through this zone we build up a natural reserve of bacteria, moulds and insects that can aid the zones above it. There has been a growing awareness though that firstly, there is the need to pay more attention to the peoplecare ethic, as it is often the dynamics of people that can interfere with projects, and secondly that the principles of permaculture can be used as effectively to create vibrant, healthy and productive people and communities as they have been in landscapes.

Domesticated animals[ edit ] Domesticated animals are often incorporated into site design, ensuring the efficiency and productivity of the system. The nutrients are cycled by animals, transformed from their less digestible form such as grass or twigs into more nutrient-dense manure. A more specific explanation of how the animals can be used is seen in the chicken design. Chickens can be used to scratch over the soil, thus breaking down the top soil and using the fecal matter as manure creating a sustainable system.

However, in the domestication of these animals, the complexity and elegance lie in an effectiveness and efficiency of the design, including factors like timing and habits to specific areas of a farm.

For example, animals require daily attention in a way that is much more demanding than plants.


Masanobu Fukuoka – A simple farmer still ahead of his time.

But his book taught me a lot about gardening, and has clearly influenced the permaculture farming movement, too. As a result, he came up with 4 main principles: Tilling. Instead of tilling to make a seed bed, he sowed his seed right on top of the soil. He thought chemical fertilizers and compost to be generally not in line with nature. Instead of tilling to control weeds, he flooded his fields with water as is done when growing rice , which also weakened the weeds.



His farming technique requires no machines, no chemicals and very little weeding. He does not plow the soil or use prepared compost and yet the condition of the soil in his orchards and fields improve each year. His method creates no pollution and does not require fossil fuels. His method requires less labor than any other, yet the yields in his orchard and fields compare favorably with the most productive Japanese farms which use all the technical know-how of modern science. How is this possible? I admit, when I first went to his farm in I was skeptical. But there was the proof - beautiful grain crops in the fields, healthy orchard trees growing with a ground cover of vegetables, weeds and white clover.

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