Lots of people have lots of definitions for permaculture. They’ll tell you it’s about sustainability, or land management, or tree-hugging, or eco-systems, or organics, or … at least when I first started asking questions about it those are the answers I got. But really, those are just opinions and not much more.

Yes, permaculture has an element of sustainability. Ultimately a permaculture environment will sustain itself indefinitely. And it’s about land management and eco systems and even tree hugging (depending on your definition). But permaculture is so much more than those things and also, not those things at all.

Permaculture is a set of principles which guide decision making in every facet of life. It is a practice, in other words, rather than a set of rules. For example, in organic gardening/farming there is a list of things that can and can’t be done, like you can’t use chemical pesticides. That is a rule, hard and fast. A line in the sand you must not cross. But permaculture isn’t a list of things to do and not do. Can you use chemical pesticides in permaculture? Well, there’s no rule banning it but if you are following the principles to guide your decision making, you probably won’t use them, won’t want to use them, and ultimately won’t need to use them.

I won’t go into detail about the twelve principles today. I plan on doing separate blogs posts for each of them later on in this series. The thing I want to point out today is that ultimately permaculture principles lead to a kinder world, and not just to the land or our gardens and farms and forests, but to us as well. It is a way of life, a way of viewing the world that governs all of the choices we make without dictating what those choices must be. It takes into consideration not only plants and animals and the earth but also other people and philosophies. It has a place for everyone and everything.

Permaculture is about slowing down, observing, and interfering as little as possible and only if it helps overall. It’s about diversity and problem solving and using what you have, about not wasting anything and finding value in everything. It’s about seeing the world in a different way than most of us were taught growing up. It’s about balance and longevity, about learning and accepting. It touches on every single facet of human existence and so much more.

So, over the next twelve weeks I’ll be focusing on the twelve principles of permaculture and how we’re integrating each at Turkeywoods Farm. Hope to see you all!