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All cultures inclusive: Emphasis on Permaculture

by Salwah Khan

Nature is made up of complex systems that are not just abundant, but resilient and self balancing too. As our world of technology and industrialization continues to enhance modern life in some areas, in most concepts of life we are “looking,” but not really, “seeing.” Our attention span gets shorter as our brains and bodies reach information overload but we don’t take the time to notice the very things that are keeping us alive, every day. Thus, in order to connect with the force of nature, we must learn to see again, which is why permaculture urges us to become better observers.

As we continue to lose our inherent skills that our ancestors developed by building a connection with our land, we continue to weaken our observation skills: something that proved vital for the survival of our ancestors. Observation skills may now seem futile, in our cozy modern lives. Our surroundings, however, still consist of danger; it might seem less apparent to us but unheeded they could be just as deadly.

Let’s define some words, in terms of permaculture, that maybe, we never gave much thought to before:

Soil: minerals from the earth, mixing with gases from the atmosphere and water from both regions.

Pattern: most effective for survival, keeps repeating itself

Edge: split between two different media or systems where resources are exchanged; increasing the surface area of a system will allow for more interaction; healthy soil needs lots of edge because it must have good structure and a good exchange of minerals from earth, gas and water

Translators: keep energy and resources such as sunlight, minerals, water and gases on the move across a familiar edge; plants and trees increase the surface area of exchange between earth and the atmosphere through the branching of their top growth and root systems

Cooperative relationships: close and long term interactions (symbiosis); even parasitic relationships show a mutual gain upon closer inspection: example: Ivy and trees

Ivy is thought to kill trees and is thus cut down. But how can Ivy overwhelm such a huge tree? It is only when the tree is dying and cannot compete with the Ivy with nutrients that Ivy overwhelms the tree and brings it back to earth for it to provide soil to feed new life.

When asked to define permaculture, one can illustrate it as a melody between design and nature. When designs are created, they should compliment and protect the ecosystem as a whole. Permaculture does not have a set of steps that lead to an endpoint but rather provides a foundation and continuation of harmonious adaptation to nature’s changing conditions. The design should be implemented to allow humans and nature to find and stay on their own paths, intertwined through respect.

Permaculture Motto: SADIMET



D= design

I= implementation

M= maintenance

E= evaluation

T= tweaking

Thus, when planning permaculture systems, we must take into consideration:

  1. Climate

  2. Landform

  3. Water Supply

  4. Roads

  5. Plant Systems

  6. Microclimates

  7. Buildings

  8. Sub-Divisional fences

  9. Soil

Once the investigation and observation develops, the zones of permaculture can be applied. Zones are imperative in permaculture design as they provide the base map on building on nature’s land as welcomed visitors.

Zone 1: Homebound, near by the main house: gardening, hanging out, balcony use, front use, access points

Zone 2: A bit further away thus gets a bit less attention; consists of soft fruit trees, orchards, bushes

Zone 3: Commercial Production

Zone 4: Supervised Woodlands: usually steep, provides timber, fuel, coppice

Zone 5: Humans should not visit (Maybe to observe and learn) Place where wildlife roams freely

As we pursue our mission, we hope to learn more about sustainable communities and permaculture ethics through our journey as new microgreen farmers. Mystic Holistic Studios hopes to practice permaculture design in the future as it is a necessity to respect our ecosystem and nature; as it due to the air, soil, water and earth that we are able to exist. Thus, we must try our hardest to coexist with nature’s constant, self-healing, beautiful waves of change. Stay tuned for our next blog: the breakdown of permaculture design and systems.

Our journey through permaculture design is accredited the book Permaculture Design by Aranya.

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