Working with nature and permaculture

Working with nature and permaculture

Permaculture is a much more in-depth study of how nature works and provides myriad solutions for living more simply.

Permaculture is a much more in-depth study of how nature works and provides myriad solutions for living more simply.

by Greg Peterson — 

Have you ever wondered why, as human beings, we so consistently resist nature? Why, when we don’t like the natural order of things, do we try to change them to fit our perception of what is best?

I have pondered this enigma for many years, but have not yet arrived at a satisfactory answer. However, along my journey I’ve discovered what I believe to be one solution to our eternal disconnectedness from nature. It is called permaculture, which can be defined as the art and science of living with nature.

A lot has been written on the subject, but the best-known work is a book entitled Permaculture, by Bill Mollison.

The term permaculture is derived from the combination of the words permanent and culture. The term describes permanent human agricultural systems that work with — rather than against — nature. In my studies during the past 15 years, I have discovered many natural flows we can use to our advantage. One of my favorites is called “stacking functions,” or the art of using something many times before discarding it.

Employing this theory, I have adapted the evaporative cooler in my house so the fresh water that must constantly flush through it is not wasted, but used many times over. Fresh water is first used by the evaporative cooler, from which it is then gravity-fed to our fishpond, giving the fish new water, and subsequently rerouted to the gardens where it grows healthy plants. Hence, the water is used three times.

Another use of stacking functions would be to write a list of errands and make multiple stops when driving your car, rather than going one place, going home, going another place, going home, and so on. Or, in the case of the Urban Farm, a tour is offered the first Saturday of the month, and is then followed by a class or two. This way, people can make one trip and accomplish two or three goals. These are some simple yet effective methods of working in the flow simply by changing the way one thinks.

Permaculture is a much more in-depth study of how nature works and provides myriad solutions for living more simply. The Phoenix Permaculture Guild is a community of people dedicated to learning permaculture through sharing, thereby shortening the path towards the goal. It operates under the premise that by helping you, we help ourselves. If you are interested in learning more, please stop by the Permaculture Pavilion at the upcoming Sun Festival Southwest, visit www.permacul-ture.net/phxguild or join our listserve at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PhxPerma-

 

Greg Peterson is a founding member of the Phoenix Permaculture Guild and the owner of the Urban Farm in Phoenix where permaculture has been practiced for 16 years. www.urbanfarm.org, FarmerGreg@urbanfarm.org or 602-565-7045.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.

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