Permaculture Quickstart

Permaculture? Is it swales? What on earth is a swale?

Swales are a dry-climate, tree-growing system. Permaculture may use swales, but that is a small, small part of permaculture.

Permaculture is often described as “Permanent Agriculture.” However, Permaculture is better described as “Permanent Culture.” That includes:

  1. Earth care
  2. People care
  3. Returning surplus

Permaculture transcends politics, religion, and country. You can throw a prepper, a tree hugger, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a capitalist, and a communist into the same permaculture class and have them all walk away determined to use the knowledge they gained in their individual pursuits. In fact, I’ve seen that happen.

Permaculture includes growing food and fuel sustainably; healing the planet using scientific based design of towns, cities, and farms through natural controls; use of ethical financial systems; and encouraging social and cultural traditions that keep the system propagating long after we have left the permanent culture to our grandchildren.

And permaculture techniques can be profitable.

I’ve collected a list of videos to get a good start on the earth care portion of permaculture, because that is a nice starting place.

Greening the Desert

“Greening the Desert” showed Geoff Lawton’s success at taking a salted barren desert plot near the Dead Sea, and turning it into an oasis using permaculture and a fraction of the water normally needed. The demonstration site still exists many years after the funding ran out.

Mark Shepard on Restoration Agriculture

Permaculture by a profitable farmer. Mark received his Permaculture Design Certificate from Bill Mollison about 10 years after Geoff Lawton did. He has made an incredible success of permaculture techniques, showing that it isn’t just nice, feel-good theory.

Hope in a Changing Climate

John D. Liu documents permaculture techniques to turn a desert into a green paradise. John is a close associate of Geoff Lawton, so you will often see their names together. The term “Permaculture” is never used in this film, but you will quickly recognize the methodologies when compared to the Permaculture Designers Manual.

The Permaculture Designers Manual in One Hour

Bill Mollison’s 500 page Permaculture textbook in one hour as presented by Geoff Lawton. You could easily spend a lifetime studying just one chapter of Bill’s manual, but this is a good, quick overview of the text.

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