The past few decades have seen the rapid advancement of agricultural technology, with widespread use of genetic engineering and chemical fertilisers. However, many movements are now returning to more environmentally friendly modes of agriculture by enhancing ancestral farming methods to fit the times.
Permaculture is one such method, which has proven highly successful in urban agriculture. This approach is increasingly championed by young people, as awareness grows around the importance of local produce.
Indonesia is a tropical country, whose forests provide a rich bounty of products including fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants.
What is permaculture?
Permaculture was developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the mid-1970s. At that time, permaculture was defined as an integrated and ever-changing system of plant and animal species whose lives benefit our own.
Today, permaculture can also be described as an area designed to imitate patterns and interactions that exist in nature, with the goal of producing enough resources to meet community needs.
In other words, permaculture is the design of productive agricultural ecosystems that reflect the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. Permaculture integrates land, resources, people, and the environment in a mutually beneficial synergistic relationship.
Farming with a permaculture system applies traditional practices in land management, integrated with the appropriate modern technology. This system helps us to understand natural cycles and creates a harmonious integration between people and nature.
Indirectly, permaculture teaches us to work with nature, rather than against it. Permaculture methods can be utilised across urban and rural areas of all shapes and sizes by incorporating the natural resources already at our disposal.
Permaculture sets out a holistic and environmentally friendly approach, encompassing food production, land use, and social and economic development.
According to Maddy Harland of permaculture.co.uk, what differentiates permaculture as a design system is its ability to integrate intellectual and ethical principles; permaculture teaches us to evaluate with the heart and respond with the mind.
Ethics in Permaculture
In permaculture, there are three ethics that must always be adhered to. These include:
1. Caring for the Earth
Permaculture practices must always align with the protection of Earth’s natural systems.
This vision has expanded to accommodate human consumption patterns, such as the clothes we wear and the food we eat. For example, to achieve greater harmony with nature, we can switch to reusable cloth bags instead of disposable plastic packaging.
2. Caring for the Community
This ethic prioritises basic human needs, from food and shelter to education and healthy relationships. Permaculture can help us meet these needs and provide resources for the wider community, so sharing with your neighbours is very much encouraged!
3. Caring for the Future
This third ethic of permaculture applies to cultural preservation, as well as providing education for a more sustainable future.
As a concept, permaculture has applications well beyond agricultural design. By relating these ethics across all facets of our daily lives, we can develop a more deliberate and harmonious relationship with nature.
Written by: Yohanes Prahara, Content Creator and Media Liaison BNF Indonesia