Permaculture is a set of principles used to guide agriculture management or community building designed to minimize the dependence on outside inputs through the observation and mimicry of natural systems. The word permaculture is a hybridization of the words ‘permanent’ and ‘culture’ first used by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren both from Australia. Mollison stated: “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature. .”
This system is based on three core ethics, and twelve guiding principles. The core ethics include: earth care, people care, and fair share. These ethics direct us to consider our needs, our resources, and balance in our system. Earth care reminds us that we must pass on the planet to subsequent generations. People care speaks to tending to the needs of ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our community, and outward. Fair share is the notion that we come to understand our needs in contrast to the accumulation of wealth while others go without. This last ethic creates a balance and equity for all people.
The twelve guiding principles are:
- Observe and Interact.
- Catch and Store Energy.
- Obtain a yield.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback.
- Use and value renewable resources and services.
- Produce no waste.
- Design from patterns to details.
- Integrate rather than segregate.
- Use small and slow solutions.
- Use and value diversity.
- Use edges and value the marginal.
- Creatively use and respond to change.
At Pearson’s Town Farm we recognize that we are not working with or against nature, but rather that we are apart of nature. Using the ethics and principles of permaculture as a guide we acknowledge our place in the landscape, as part of the environment, and also our local and global community. Plants and livestock are used in rotation to provide for the health of the soil, which in return provides for the health of the crops and the livestock. Harvests are used on campus, in local food pantries like Catherine’s Cupboard, and sold locally to promote the economic sustainability of the farm.