If human beings do not intervene, the system within nature itself can be sustained. But unfortunately, man forgets that he is a part of nature and sees himself as the ruler of nature. And then life unfortunately cannot be sustainable for any of us. (Dilek Yalçın Demiralp, co-founder of Istanbul Permaculture Collective)
Like Demiralp, the number of people who say ‘if we do not change our lifestyle, we will consume the resources in the world rapidly’ is not small at all. Although it is not new, this month we wanted to talk about permaculture, in other words sustainable agriculture, which is mentioned more and more every day and is shown as a way to use our resources more efficiently.
Permaculture, whose purpose is to bring plants, animals and people together in nature, to create easy-to-care, stable and self-sufficient production areas, consists of the combination of the English words ‘permanent’ meaning ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture’ meaning ‘agriculture’.
Its foundations were laid in the 70s by Australian Bill Mollison and one of his first students, David Holmgren.
The eponymous Bill Mollison defines permaculture in his “Permaculture: A Designer’s Handbook”, which is considered the main work on permaculture: The conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the people living on it and the land, meeting food, energy, shelter and other material and spiritual needs in a sustainable way. A stable social order is not possible without sustainable agriculture.
Since it is a model established by imitating the features observed in natural ecosystems, the nature-inspired design model is also closely related to biomimicry.
It is based on the principle of acting with nature, not against it. Accordingly, while establishing agricultural production systems, it is aimed to minimize human labor and energy input. Over time, permaculture designs evolve into systems that produce high-density food with little input.
According to his philosophy, it is possible to live a sustainable life without giving up the blessings of the modern world. The distinguishing point is to find a way to integrate our modern life with nature.
In “Permaculture: A Designer’s Handbook” the ethical principles of permaculture are as follows:
– Caring for the Earth
– Caring for People
– Limiting Population and Consumption / Sharing of Surplus Production
A few of the application examples;
• Collecting rain water and using it for water needs
• Composting for fertilization
• Planting legumes for soil improvement
• Cultivation of crops that balance each other for soil health and crop productivity.
• Simultaneous animal and plant production
• Allocating special areas for the protection of wildlife and for it to continue with its own internal balance.
• No need to use chemicals to combat harmful insects by providing high biodiversity
• Reduction in labor costs due to not spending time and effort to fight weeds and insects
There are organizations working on this issue. The Permaculture Research Institute of Turkey, which has an important place in organizing courses on permaculture and its subjects within the scope of its field of activity, and has connections with Permaculture Research Institutes in various parts of the world, was established to work for the promotion of permaculture in Turkey and the spread of its practices.