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What is permaculture?

We all know Vashon is a wonderful place to live. And all of us would like to see it stay that way. But we are vulnerable to dangers caused by the very reason it is such a unique place. Its isolation. We are very dependent on resources found off island. The major one being food. Even though we have many farms and a lot of people growing food we don’t have nearly enough to feed ourselves in case there is an extended separation from the mainland. Though we could easily grow enough. Much of the food we grow is grown with compost and fertilizer brought from off island. and at the same time we ship off tons of horse manure that could be excellent compost. We have grown too reliant on off island power to pump water from our wells as well. As we saw this year we can have a shortage of precipitation and with our frequent blackouts that could leave us with very little water for our crops, our livestock or even ourselves. There is a way for us to mitigate these weaknesses and in the process become more sustainable, environmentally friendly and profitable all at once. The answer is permaculture.

Now you may have heard the word permaculture throw around but it seems like few people actually understand that it is actually an entire system designed to create habitat for people. Concepts are based in science, no hocus pocus, mimicking natural systems to design a human habit. The Ethics consist of Care of People, Care of the Earth, and Return of Surplus, anything you do or have must agree with these Ethics. If It doesn’t help or it harms people, it’s not Permaculture.  If It doesn’t help or it harms the Earth, it’s not Permaculture. And if you do not or are unable to return the surplus, it is not Permaculture, because and product in excess that cannot be returned to the system is called pollution. Following these ethics,  Permaculture can provide everything people require to survive, (food, water, fuel, fiber) in the most economical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly way possible, because, believe it or not, people are a part of the environment and in order to best provide for people they must become part of their ecosystem. Permaculture teaches people to use what they have to the best of their abilities allowing them to provides everything required for their survival in good times or in bad.

 You dont have to be a farmer, or gardener, or even have land of your own. the principles can be applied to every part of life making you more self-reliant, healthy and happy. To learn more about permaculture and how you can help make your family and our island less dependent on outside. I will be holding an Intro to Permaculture seminar at the Country Store on Saturday, Aug 15th from 11am  to 12pm. Please bring questions and paper to take notes. I look forward to seeing you there.