Permaculture- A Quiet Revolution
Found an interview article on “permaculture – A quite revolution” while doing my “revision” from last weekend workshop on “building Community Garden, with Bruce Molloy” organise by Eats, Shoots and Roots. Will share some thoughts about sustainability & growing food in next postings. Anyway, do enjoy this film and read about an article on Permaculture- A quite revolution: an interview with Bill Mollison (father of Permaculture) by Scott London.
“I teach self-reliance the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. so yes, it’s seditious, But a peaceful sedition” Bill Mollison, founder of permaculture
What is Permaculture?
The ethics embrace care for the Earth, care for the people, and sharing the excess. The gardening techniques draw from several other disciplines including natural and organic farming, agro-forestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. (open source permaculture)
For further reading and watching, please visit these resources:
- Introduction to Permaculture – 40 hours of free video lectures
- 100 Best Permaculture & Homesteading Books: The Ultimate Reading List for Sustainable Living (here you will find links to over 60 Free eBook previews and full eBooks)
- Permaculture / Organic Farming – Documentary Films Archive
Below are some of extraction from the full article on Permaculture- A quite revolution: an interview with Bill Mollison (father of Permaculture) by Scott London which i finds its inspiring. To read the full article, go to here or below link .
Permaculture- A quite revolution: an interview with Bill Mollison by Scott London
Scott London: A reviewer once described your teachings as “seditious.”
Bill Mollison: Yes, it was very perceptive. I teach self-reliance, the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. So, yes, it’s seditious. But it’s peaceful sedition.
London: It tells us something about our current environmental problems.
Mollison: It does. I remember the Club of Rome report in 1967 which said that the deterioration of the environment was inevitable due to population growth and overconsumption of resources. After reading that, I thought, “People are so stupid and so destructive — we can do nothing for them.” So I withdrew from society. I thought I would leave and just sit on a hill and watch it collapse.
The ethics are simple: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.
It took me about three weeks before I realized that I had to get back and fight. [Laughs] You know, you have to get out in order to want to get back in.
London: Permaculture is based on scientific principles and research. But it seems to me that it also draws on traditional and indigenous folk wisdom.
Mollison: Well, if I go to an old Greek lady sitting in a vineyard and ask, “Why have you planted roses among your grapes?” she will say to me, “Because the rose is the doctor of the grape. If you don’t plant roses, the grapes get ill.” That doesn’t do me a lot of good. But if I can find out that the rose exudes a certain root chemical that is taken up by the grape root which in turn repels the white fly (which is the scientific way of saying the same thing), then I have something very useful.
Traditional knowledge is always of that nature. I know a Filipino man who always plants a chili and four beans in the same hole as the banana root. I asked him, “Why do you plant a chili with the banana?” And he said, “Don’t you know that you must always plant these things together.” Well, I worked out that the beans fix the nitrogen and the chili prevents beetles from attacking the banana root. And that works very well.
London: For some people — particularly indigenous tribes — the notion that you can grow your own food is revolutionary.
Mollison: When you grow up in a world where you have a very minor effect on the land, you don’t think of creating resources for yourself. What falls on the ground you eat. And your numbers are governed by what falls on the ground. Permaculture allows you to think differently because you can grow everything that you need very easily.
London: You once described modern technological agriculture as a form of “witchcraft.”
Mollison: Well, it is a sort of witchcraft. Today we have more soil scientists than at any other time in history. If you plot the rise of soil scientists against the loss of soil, you see that the more of them you have, the more soil you lose.
London: What kind of overconsumption bothers you the most?
Mollison: I hate lawns. Subconsciously I think we all hate them because we’re their slaves. Imagine the millions of people who get on their lawn-mowers and ride around in circles every Saturday and Sunday.
London: Permaculture teaches us how to use the minimum amount of energy needed to get a job done.
Mollison: That’s right. Every house should be over-producing its energy and selling to the grid. We have built entire villages that do that — where one or two buildings hold the solar panels for all sixty homes and sell the surplus to the grid. In seven years, you can pay off all your expenses and run free. They use this same idea in Denmark. Every village there has a windmill that can fuel up to 800 homes.
London: The same principle probably applies to human energy as well. I noticed that you discourage digging in gardens because it requires energy that can be better used for other things.
Mollison: Well, some people like digging. It’s a bit like having an exercise bike in your bedroom. But I prefer to leave it to the worms. They do a great job. I’ve created fantastic soil just from mulching.
London: Does permaculture apply to those of us who live in cities?
Mollison: Yes, there is a whole section in the manual about urban permaculture. When I first went to New York, I helped start a little herb-farm in the South Bronx. The land was very cheap there because there was no power, no water, no police, and there were tons of drugs. This little farm grew to supply eight percent of New York’s herbs. There are now 1,100 city farms in New York.
London: Short of starting a farm, what can we do to make our cities more sustainable?
Mollison: Catch the water off your roof. Grow your own food. Make your own energy. It’s insanely easy to do all that. It takes you less time to grow your food than to walk down to the supermarket to buy it. Ask any good organic gardener who mulches how much time he spends on his garden and he’ll say, “Oh, a few minutes every week.” By the time you have taken your car and driven to the supermarket, taken your foraging-trolley and collected your wild greens, and driven back home again, you’ve spent a good hour or two — plus you’ve spent a lot of money.
London: What do you think you’ve started?
Mollison: Well, it’s a revolution. But it’s the sort of revolution that no one will notice. It might get a little shadier. Buildings might function better. You might have less money to earn because your food is all around you and you don’t have any energy costs. Giant amounts of money might be freed up in society so that we can provide for ourselves better.
So it’s a revolution. But permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.