What is Permaculture?
The word, coined by Australian Bill Mollison in the 1970's, is a combination of "permanent agriculture" and
It is the conscious design & maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability & resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape & people. Providing food, energy, shelter and other material & non-material goods in a sustainable way.
While it started as a set of farming design principles it evolved into a design philosophy for human habitat and community.
The World in Crisis
There are many areas of our world that are becoming increasingly unstable and unpredicable. Climate change, drought, political tensions, national debt, peak oil, health care costs and other impacts may singularly or collectively effect our shared way of life in Spokane. Even now many of our fellow Sponkanians are suffering from poverty and food insecurity.
Whether you have an opinion or not on these global issues we can all learn from the recent tragedies in New Orleans (Katrina), East Coast (Sandy), Midwest (Drought and Tornados). Sometimes a major crisis effects us immediately and sometimes there are delays. For instance will will all see food prices go up because of the droughts in Mid-America. When they strike close to home and hit the new we might expect FEMA and the good will of other countrymen to come to our aid. However we have seen that even with the best intentions, help is often delayed or non existant.
On a smaller scale you don't need a hurricane to drive you and your family into crisis. Every day we see more and more people suffering their own small scale disasters when they lose their jobs, get injured or just run out of resources. When more than one of these issues strikes at once the impacts are magnified.
Using Permaculture Principals we can inspire community oriented action to promote local gardening, food banks, community food forests, farmers markets and many other potential programs that will help build local resilence and food security.
Watch this new preview of the Geoff Lawton video series "How to survive the coming crisis." Geoff is one of the most renown Permaculter Teachers and Consultants in the world.
What if nothing bad happens to all of us?
GREAT!!!! If nothing catastrophic happens effects us all at the same time... then we have just worked together to make sure that we have learned to garden, give our excess bounty to others, gotten connected to the local Farmers Market and supported our farming community. However, the reality is that we all grow old, many of us lose our jobs and our children are eating more and more packaged GMO food. This is happening now.
Why is the Permaculture approach Good for Spokane?
Permaculture does not only a way to approach farming and gardening but energy management, community sharing and more. It was originated in Australia where they have similar low rain fall and rely on dry land farming. Permaculture projects all over the world have increased yield while reducing cost, fuel and manual effort. As we move in to a future with increasing fuel costs, greater demand and reducing availability adapting these techniques to our area early could prove to be very benefitial to our entire region.
Teaching people to set up low cost, low water, low effort gardens also provides an increased food security but providing a steady supply of nutritious fruits and vegitables. Not everyone will garden but as every gardener knows there will be periods where they grow more than they can eat or put away. Neighborhood sharing, farmers markets and food banks all support a healthy and resiliant community.