Permaculture in Mexico! What is Permaculture?

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 A Message For All Of Humanity
A sensational short video airing an excerpt from Charlie Chaplin’s final speech,
the Great Dictator.

What is Permaculture? Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. In other words, creating natural, sustainable systems to maximize our resources’ efficiency while regenerating them at the same time. Two Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren first established the term permaculture, as they are the pioneers.

I headed to Telchac Puerto, Mexico to take the Permaculture Design Course. The Permaculture Design Course is a certification that I have been seeking for a few years. It is widely available by qualified teachers almost anywhere in the world nowadays. Doing my PDC in Mexico, simply provided me a great escape from the west coast Canadian winter, as well as the learning I have been seeking, not to mention it fit well with my budget.

Casa Maya. Home during the PDC.

Casa Maya. Home during the PDC.

Permaculture is a concept that creates design-based systems, ecologically and socially, that satisfies human’s needs as well as nature’s needs, without depleting them. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture establishes natural systems in regards to soil fertility, water catchment, energy harvest and storage, establishing microclimates, buildings, growing a variety and abundance of food.

Yes this is totally possible and absolutely necessary if we are to continue to flourish on this planet! There is a large misconception that organic farming/growing does not produce as big of a yield as conventional monoculture farming that uses pesticides and herbicides. Using the principles of permaculture and creating self-managed designs that mimics and maximizes nature’s abilities will actually produce more growth, with less work than conventional farming. The more ecologies you have in an area, the higher the yield will be; everything in permaculture is multi-functional, and serves many purposes. Not to mention, the poisonous chemicals that are sprayed on most conventional food nowadays, that we are all too accustom to and accepting of, is eliminated. Only a little bit of patience, at the beginning of the design process is needed to give nature some time to flourish, and regenerate itself.

The 'Dead Sea Valley' in Jordan. Desert before permaculture principles were applied, after (only 3 years) it was a lush with vegetation.

The ‘Dead Sea Valley’ in Jordan. Desert before permaculture principles were applied, after only 3 years it was lush with vegetation.

Another area of the 'Dead Sea Valley' in Jordan. After a short time, it went from desert to greenery thanks for permaculture systems.

Another area of the ‘Dead Sea Valley’ in Jordan. After a short time, it went from desert to greenery thanks to permaculture systems. Locals now have water and food available.

The three core ethics to Permaculture are:

Earth Care. This includes all living and non-living things, land, water, animals, air etc. Allowing provisions and resources for all life systems to continue and multiply.

People Care.  Promote self-reliance and community responsibility. Allowing provisions for people to access those resources necessary to their existence.

Fair Share.  Return of Surplus; setting of limits to population and consumption to pass on anything surplus to our needs for the aims above. By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside for the earth and others.

The Loess Plateau in China, where overgrazing, and overuse led to massive erosion, and eventually widespread poverty in that area as the land was no longer usable...until permaculture design systems saved the day!

The Loess Plateau in China, where overgrazing, and overuse led to massive erosion, and eventually widespread poverty in that area as the land was no longer usable…until permaculture design systems saved the day! Before and after.

I took my permaculture design course with P3 Permaculture, a Montreal based organization, taught and founded by Graham Calder. P3 is working in Telchac Puerto, Mexico with a local family who wants to regenerate their land. The land was flourishing back in the 1990’s and was providing the family with much of their food, with an array of fruits trees, vegetables crops and animals. They were practicing local ancient agriculture techniques that are parallel to many permaculture principles. Fifteen years ago, when the family hit some challenging times, they decided to move a few kilometers away to the coast, and open a restaurant. They left the land to be managed by hired workers, who ended up running off and stealing anything valuable from the land in the process. The land was then further damaged by a hurricane.

Bella's land showing what's left of the building.

Part of Bella’s land showing what’s left of the building.

Now, Bella, the mother of the family, wants the land to be brought back to its full potential, enabling her restaurant and family to be supplied by the food grown on the land once again. It an inspiring project that Bella, Graham & P3 have initiated, as Bella seems quite alone within her family and village in this desire, and endeavor. The land will also create a community that will provide an educational facility for locals and travelers alike to learn permaculture and agriculture techniques, all the while helping this land flourish once again. It’s a beautiful thing!

The Permaculture Course teacher, Graham.

The Permaculture Course teacher, Graham.

A tree that is a 'nitrogen fixer', meaning it provides the soil with much needed nitrogen in that area.

A tree that is a ‘nitrogen fixer’, meaning it provides the soil with much needed nitrogen in that area.

pdc_4

The neighbours were curious what we were up to.

The neighbours were curious what we were up to.

A simple system to fix the disposal of greywater at our casa.

A simple system to fix the disposal of greywater at our casa.

Lorenzo, the neighbour, helping us sharpen our tools. He was much quicker.

Lorenzo, the neighbour, helping us sharpen our tools. He was much quicker.

Simply, to reiterate, what is permaculture? Permaculture is an ethical system, stressing positivism, cooperation, and regeneration socially and ecologially. It encompasses a huge array of topics, systems and information that is impossible to cover in a few paragraphs. However, there are countless resources online available.

Here are some links and/or videos:

Short Videos
Greening The Desert – Geoff Lawton
The Agricultural Revolution: Crash Course World History

Reimagining Investment for the Whole Human
The Sustainable Human
The Story of Stuff

Earth: A New Wild
The Soil Story

Films
The Coconut Revolution
Dirt, the Movie

Freedom Ahead
Saving The Loess Plateau – A Permaculture Success Story

Info
Permaculture Global
Permies – Info Database

Streetbank – Share Things With Your Neighbours
The Green Belt Movement
AskNature.org
Sepp Holzer

“The healing of the land and the purification of the human spirit is the same process.”
“Giving up your ego is the shortest way to unification with nature.”
– Masanobu Fukuoka

permaculture

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2 comments for “Permaculture in Mexico! What is Permaculture?

  1. March 1, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Amazing! Thank you Curious Rambler :) I feel lucky that you were part of our group and looking forward to connecting with you again over a warm cuppa in our Canadian winter!

    • the curious rambler
      March 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks Chilly!! Great to have met you, and yes if you are ever in the west, let me know! 😉