The corporate production of food is not rooted in nutrition but instead is structurally changing the seed and the plant in the effort to increase production and profit. Permaculture does the opposite. Scott Pittman, permaculture specialist who has practiced and taught permaculture for 37 years, describes permaculture as the yard working together to create a nourishing environment of food production.
Permaculture originates from studying nature, observing how everything functions together, thriving, then applying those principles to gardens, farms and landscaping. Permaculture recycles viable resources to feed the soil which will feed us.
Food is more than a grocery store and is vital to nutrition. Gardening, farming, home building, energy use, forestry all work together forming permaculture. “It’s a very complex system, but very easy,” Pittman says.
Australian Bill Mollison, the founder of permaculture and author of Permaculture A Designers’ Manual, first introduced Pittman to the concept.
Pittman says, “One of the biggest dangers I see now is the loss of germ plasm, the loss of seed that has served mankind for at least 10,000 years. We have lost an enormous amount of our seed stock. The whole thing with wheat intolerance has to do with the changes in wheat in the laboratories of agricultural colleges over the last 50-60 years.”
Dairy farms are focused on massive milk production with the need for profit. Injections are given to cows to increase production of milk supply. The end result is a compromised product that slowly damages instead of feeding health.
Pittman says, “Where we’re headed is a lot of hunger and a lot of misery.” He started The Permaculture Credit Union, a financial institution in the form of a co-op, so he could “serve the community without ripping people off,” he says.
“The food no longer provides the nutrition it once provided,” Pittman says. “We’ve got to rethink from the bottom up. You’ve got to garden. It’s a skill that isn’t rocket science.”
The base of permaculture centers around 5 zones. The first zone is where you spend the most time during the day, around the home. Zone two is small fruits and small animals. Zone three is bigger animals. Zone four is timber and forestry. Zone five is a sacred area that you leave wild. This is where you observe the process of nature work without man’s assistance.
Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, by Toby Hemenway is a good source for generating a permaculture environment with companion planting at home.
Sepp Holzer’s book Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening shows how he took an area of Europe deemed low-value forestry and transformed it into a bountiful food-producing Eden through permaculture. Holzer says, “I want to help people realize that trying to live in harmony with nature instead of fighting against it is well worth the effort.”
Holzer says overworked land and extreme poverty have caused a diabolical situation of malnutrition. He says this can easily be reversed using the land and the items the land offers. Gardening from the land for the land can, and should, be inexpensive and healthful.
Patrick Whitefield, a teacher of permaculture says, “An important part of permaculture is getting to know your own individual place.” It is important to consider altitude, humidity, climate, temperature and symbiotic relationships to have a successful garden that doesn’t use outside chemicals or store-bought enhancements. Instead the full environment feeds off itself collectively.
The concept of growing your own food is not new but is necessary for sustainability. Attending farmers market and creating real human connections instead of looking for what benefit you receive from each relationship goes hand in hand with the permaculture way.
Permaculture focuses on, “How can I provide this without going to the store? How can I provide nitrogen without buying a bag of petroleum nitrogen? You can plant companion planting,” according to Pittman. He adds sharing your crop with your neighbor and vice versa helps establish the shift.
“If you look at feed lots and dairy operations you can’t use that manure for anything because it’s so loaded with toxic elements. But manure could be one of the most restorative properties to the soil,” Pittman says. This is part of the problem. Feed lot manure used to be one of the best forms of compost nourishing gardens and farms. Now it’s a toxic hazard.
For more information watch this 45 minute video by Bill Mollison.
To watch Bill Mollison’s online lecture series click here.
*Nourishing Plot is written by a mom whose son has been delivered from the effects of autism (asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder, manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food. This is not a newsarticle published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging affect of today’s “food”.
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Other sources in addition to those linked above:
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