Creating and developing systems that contribute to an environmentally sustainable and economically viable business.
Permaculture, or permanent agriculture, is a philosophy and practice which uses conscious design principles to build regenerative agro-ecosystems. These agro-ecosystems are intended to mimic the diversity, stability and resilience of the local natural landscape ecology and be resource building rather than resource depleting. Permaculture emphasizes the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.
Initiated by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s, this movement had humble beginnings in Australia, with only a handful of people interested in these principles. Today permaculture has grown to a global movement with inroads into all walks of life: commercial agriculture, home gardening, urban planning, landscape design, yoga and more. The ethics and design principles of permaculture can be used to guide efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a sustainable future.
The 12 Permaculture Principles
1. Observe and interact
2. Catch and Store Energy
3. Obtain a yield
4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback
5. Use and value renewable resources and services
6. Produce no waste
7. Design from patterns to details
8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small and slow solutions
10. Use and value diversity
11. Use edges and value the marginal
12. Creatively use and respond to change
Kula Whole Farm Design Management
There are many systems that need to harmoniously co-exist in order to make a farm or homestead run smoothly— irrigation, supply organization, and fertility, to name a few. When these different elements are integrated and considered part of the whole property management can find the most efficiencies: savings in time, space and energy.
At Kula, we operate and consult with others under Whole Farm Design Management (WFDM) which marries the concepts of permaculture design and holistic management (hyperlink for ‘holistic management’ https://holisticmanagement.org). The emphasis is that we cannot separate the design process from the management process. We must build systems that are not stagnant with the people and resource base that supports, they must be capable of evolving overtime. We often adopt successful designs from other farms, adapt them to our land and situation and then manage their evolution once we have put them into use and can observe how they might be improved to meet both current and future needs.
A commitment to WFDM makes a farm or homestead much more resilient in the face of unpredictable, yet inevitable, socio-economic, environmental and life-style changes. A key tenet of this philosophy is that both systems and infrastructure are multi-functional and easily adaptable to new uses. For instance, our unique Permabed System, as outlined in Zach’s book The Permaculture Market Garden, is designed to allow flexible land use, where we can trial and experiment with production techniques whilst avoiding interference with the efficiency of our market garden systems. This garden patterning allows us to integrate trees and shrubs seamlessly into field vegetable production, building long-term potential without jeopardizing short-term efficiency.
“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” ― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution