Permaculture, as we practice it, is defined by the 1978 book Permaculture 1 by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.
Permaculture is “an integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.”
Rhys still has his original copy of that book, from its first release. The emphasis was on tree crops and perennials, using clever design to achieve good yields with minimal energy. There were wonderful and bizarre things like a comparison of the edibility of various kinds of acorns.
Later permaculture books widened the definition to include “Sustainable culture” and many more techniques. Bill Mollison adapted the permaculture philosophy to all sorts of terrain and climate. Fair enough, but the first book was the inspiration.
At present, we are producing a range of poultry, and we’re scaling up our vegetable garden production.
With the vegies, we’re seeking for a distinctively permaculture approach. The organic farmers, following Eliot Coleman, have done some amazing work in making their production efficient. But that’s not what we’re doing.
We’re planning to use a lot more mulch, less straight lines, and plenty of use of chooks (“chickens” for the non-Australian readers). We will be using soil blockers, a technique which is borrowed from Coleman but fits with our permaculture vision.
We will be planting some oak trees for truffles, using swales (ditches along the contour) to keep the water up to them. We’ll be planting rather less densely than commercial truffle producers, because we see truffles as just one output from the oaks. Later, we’ll have tamworth pigs to fatten on the autumn acorns.
Permaculture values diversity, so we’re already producing a huge range of crops in limited quantities. We’re looking to produce bags of seasonal fruits and vegetables for local customers. One day, we may support a café.
We’re part of Permaculture Goulburn, an informal network of people interested in permaculture.
Some of our favourite permaculture resources:
forums.permaculture.org.au – discussion forums
www.permaculture.biz – great resource for permaculture earthworks
www.nationwidetrees.com.au – trees in bulk