Hundred Fruit Farm is a permaculture farm, but what on Earth does permaculture mean?! Permaculture is a system of applied ecological design that creates agricultural systems modeled on natural ecosystems. Permaculture is all about creating permanent agricultural systems, quite unlike industrial agricultural systems that are by their very nature unsustainable and ecologically destructive.
Permaculture is unique among disciplines in that it encompasses a set of core permaculture ethics - earth care, people care, and fair share. These ethics guide all of our actions to make sure we always have the big picture in mind. Earth care means being good stewards of the earth - taking care of the soil, water, air, and the ecosystems they sustain. This is why we never use synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers in permaculture and strive to build biologically healthy agro-ecosystems. People care is about taking care to make sure the people we interact and work with in life are treated equitably and with respect and compassion. It starts with ourselves and expands to include our families, neighbors, and communities. Fair share is about setting limits to our own consumption and taking care to redistribute surpluses. In a world of limited resources, we can't let selfishness and greed blind us to the needs of the many. The excesses of human consumption have taken a terrible toll on the planet and on humanity itself. Sharing surpluses can manifest itself in terms of donating excess yields to a food bank, reinvesting excess profits into a nonprofit you believe in, or sharing knowledge and skills.
What really makes permaculture special is it's focus on ecological design. To that end, as designers we use some guiding principles to aid us in making effective, ecologically resilient, practical designs. These are known as the permaculture principles. Click the image to learn more about the 12 permaculture principles, what they mean, and how we apply them.
"The principles are thinking tools, that when used together, allow us to creatively re-design our environment and our behavior in a world of less energy and resources" – David Holmgren
(Click on the image to zoom in.)