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An introduction to Permaculture

Permaculture was first conceived of by Australian ecologist, Bill Mollison, in 1978. As a wildlife biologist he had observed the operation of ecosystems and their destruction by mankind. He concluded that natural systems such as forests and wetlands are inherently sustainable, and wanted to work with solutions that were based on the same principles. He wrote:

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."

Mollison published a design manual, and through the eighties taught courses on permaculture. Since then it has grown into a worldwide movement.

Useful Sources

  • Naturewise -a community organisation launched in the summer of 1990 in North Islington, they work towards raising environmental awareness and enabling people to move towards living more sustainably. Activities include running permaculture courses, creating and promoting forest garden, and giving advice and consultations in inner London and West Wales.
  • Patrick Whitfield Associates -courses in Somerset and Gloucestershire from one of the leading permaculture teachers in Britain. Patrick Whitfield is an author, broadcaster with the BBC and a prominent Green Party member. He teaches ranging from permaculture design to sustainable land use.
  • Permaculture Association -website of the national organisation, with courses, knowledge base, projects, notices and briefing sheets.
  • Permaculture Forum -a forum for the discussion of permaculture and related subjects, withreads on design, training, events and .projects.
  • Permaculture Magazine -quarterly magazine aiming to keep in touch with the cutting edge of the sustainability movement - ideas, advice and inspiration with practical news and articles on permaculture, self-sufficiency, farming, gardening, smallholding and sustainable living.
  • Ragmans Lane - a farm in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire that uses permaculture as a guiding design principle and is primarily about educating and employing people to work the land sustainably, and learn on the job. It also produces shiitake and oyster mushroom logs and organic apple juice.
  • Sarah Pugh -runs inspirational permaculture courses in Bristol and Hampshire
  • Skye Permaculture -a forest garden and permaculture retreat on Rubha Phoil, a 16 acre peninsula of the island, complete with eco campsite.

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Featured books:

Bioshelter Market Garden: A Permaculture Farm
Darrell Frey
Paperback -Feb 2011
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Permaculture in a Nutshell: 1
Patrick Whitefield
Paperback -May 2009
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Growing Healthy Vegetable Crops Growing Healthy Vegetable Crops: Working with Nature to Control Diseases and Pests
Brian Caldwell
Paperback -Apr 2011
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