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The History of Permaculture
Transcript of The History of Permaculture
Mollison was born in 1928 in the small fishing village of Stanley, Tasmania.
He had jobs as a mill worker, seafarer, animal trapper and shark fisher.
He spent nine years at the Wildlife Survey Section of the CSIRO (Australia’s leading science research body) and then time with the Inland Fisheries Commission. He enjoyed long stints in the wild forests and coastlines of Tasmania.
In 1968 Mollison became a tutor at the University of Tasmania and later senior lecturer in Environmental Psychology.
In 1924, philosopher Rudolf Steiner gave a series of lectures on organic farming--the talks were prompted by farmers who noticed increasingly degraded soil conditions in Europe.
Biodynamic Agriculture developed from these lectures, and is based on the ideas of crop diversification, organic preparations designed for soil fertility, and consideration of terrestrial and celestial influences on biological systems.
Lady Eve Balfour:
Began farming in the 1920's in England and is considered a founding member of the organic farming movement.
In 1939, she began the Haughley experiment-the first scientific study comparing chemical-based farming with organic agriculture.
In 1943 she published the book "The Living Soil" now considered a classic text in organic agriculture. The principles in this book are foundational in the development of Permaculture.
Howard T. Odum:
A prodigious writer and researcher, Odum made many contributions to the fields of systems ecology and energetics.
His works that may have the greatest influence on permaculture at the time include: Environment, Power and Society (1971) and Fundamentals of Ecology (1953)
Holmgren dedicated his book: Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability to Odum in honor of his work.
Bill Mollison is considered one of the co-founders of Permaculture, and coined the term in the 1970's as a linguistic blend of "permanent agriculture" also decribed as "permanent culture"
P. A. Yeomans
Fukuoka distilled natural farming into five principles:
No pesticides (or herbicides)
David Holmgren was a student of Bill Mollison and helped Mollison develop the original permaculture concept and the first permaculture text,
Introduction to Permaculture
. Holmgren's landmark book
Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability
outlines 15 principles that apply to environmental landscapes, economics and social systems.
Esther Deans had a major
influence on Bill Mollison and
the permaculture movement
with her No-Dig gardening
methods. She used heavy
mulches of straw, compost and
other organic material to
add fertility and tilth to the
undisturbed soil, feeding the
soil the way nature does, from the top down
Christopher Alexander's work with Patterns in Architecture inspired Permaculturalists to recognize patterns in nature and apply them to holistic systems design. We'll learn more about patterns in week 5.
An example of a Pattern Language for
Forest Gardening, we'll learn more about
Forest Gardens in week 10.
Permaculture is not a new concept. Societies
throughout the world and across time have developed many regenerative practices to live close to nature and support the earth's processes.
Read more about the evolution of agriculture here:
What IS Permaculture?
Let's start with a few basics:
Permaculture is first and foremost a DESIGN SYSTEM for creating regenerative human systems that have the resiliency of natural ecosystems. Let's take a look at a few examples of Permaculture in this videos:
Now, let's begin with the
history of Permaculture
and the two founders,
Bill Mollison and David
Optional Video: If you have time to learn more about biodynamics:
Optional Video: If you have time to learn more
about Natural Farming:
Thanks for watching!