Taking the Piss and Talking Shit
2. Real Jobs
3. The Uses of Plants
4. Energy Stall
Does the UK Need Farmers?
(BBC Radio Programme)
Our Chance for a Revolution in Agriculture
(Reference to energy crops)
(Kent Messenger headline)
The BBC programme sounded dismissive of any farming revival ('The UK needs farmers as much as it needs miners.') Not so the rather upbeat newspaper headline.
The Government has announced a review of PPG7 - the planning policy guidance that deals with the countryside. Planning decides how we co-create our towns and villages, cities and countryside, and ultimately, how and where we live our lives. Before looking at how it might need to change, lets step back and look at the big picture.
Permaculture is an ecological design system, aimed at everything concerning our daily lives. It uses natural systems as guidelines, wherever possible. It deals with growing food, building of houses and the creation of communities, with the aim of minimal environmental impact. The principles are applied and refined by people all over the world in all kinds of different climatic and cultural conditions.
I don't think anybody has summarized what is happening on the face of the Earth. In order to change our ways, we seem to need to terrify ourselves, anticipating tidal waves and catastrophes. Now those things may come off, and the San Andreas fault may shift. But we can't do much about that. What is really happening is something for which we, as human beings, are personally responsible. It is very general. Almost everything we say applies everywhere.
As Simon Fairlie said in Low Impact Development, "Planning is boring". Yet it is planning that decides how we co-create our towns and villages, cities and countryside, and ultimately, how and where we live our lives.
In our turbulent and fast-changing world, the challenges of making sense of what's going on and living as good a life as possible often seem difficult. Permaculture is an approach that has been developing since the 1970s and aims to help answer the question, 'but what can I do?'
Permaculture is a system of applied design that seeks to create and nurture sustainable lifestyles, communities and landscapes. It is a diverse set of practices, drawn from lessons from nature, and linked by the ethics of:
* Care of the Earth
* Care of people
In rural areas in particular, much is spoken about the role of diversification in helping farming economies to recover and rural communities to thrive. Yet the concept of diversification as applied to agricultural businesses is rarely a holistic or sustainable one. Rather, the emphasis tends to be on limited economic measures whilst ignoring the potential for greater self reliance and sustainability across all areas of operation.
Several books have been written about what permaculture is and how to do it. So, this is just a short introduction to what I think Permaculture is about and a few pointers to where you can find out more.