What is Permaculture? The word derives from “permanent” and “agriculture.” It is a design-thinking process aimed to integrate systems like gardening, architecture, planning, horticulture, ecology, and community development. Permaculture master-planning and design layout the roadmap to sustainability: it connects design elements with the natural world. Permaculture-designed landscapes mimic patterns and relationships found in Nature that provide diversity, stability, and resilience.
Bill Mollison, an Australian field biologist, and teacher spent decades in the rainforests and deserts of Australia studying ecosystems. He observed that plants naturally group themselves to support each other, forming guilds.
Today his ideas have spread and taken root in almost every country globally. Permaculture is now being practiced in the rainforests of South America, in the Kalahari Desert, in the arctic north of Scandinavia, Europe, and all over North America.
Why is Permaculture so important and urgent? The challenges facing our food systems are daunting. Every year, the demand for food rises, people flock to cities, climate change alters weather patterns, and unpredictability threatens the ability to get the healthy food we need. Permaculture strives to create sustainable opportunities in growing fresh local food wherever people live. Urban farming ensures thriving the future of cities by maintaining the connection with Nature.
Edible gardens encourage communities to cultivate healthy food, increase physical activity, and benefit their mental state. Growing food in urban farms can become the multi-generational centerpiece of friends and families, providing a place to meet, socialize, share ideas, and have laughter.
For city planners, the main challenge is to promote empty lots as community gardens, plan the inclusion of food-growing areas within existing parks, and stimulate the planting of vegetables and fruit trees in private properties. For developers and architects, the challenge is two-fold: to include permaculture gardens on existing buildings and plan gardens, roofs, and balconies to facilitate the planting of fruits and vegetables.