Although this is a personal question, I relate to Permaculture on several levels; ecological design can be applied to all fields of Human activity, although people associate it most frequently with food production because that is where you see the most palpable results.
In a holistic approach, Permaculture is linked to energy (fossil energy, electric energy, wind power, etc.), organic and mineral resources, and appropriate technology, as they all relate to fulfilling Human and eco-systemic needs (also known as ecological functions).
The directives of Permaculture remain the same, which is something very grounding; yet every project is different, depending on available resources, potential development, and desired outcomes.
What I love most about this approach, is that it puts humans in their rightful place, as cooperative members of complex ecosystems.
As far as I’m concerned as an individual, Permaculture provides multiple resources and tools. Going from the widest lens, to the one which is most personal, here is what Permaculture means to me.
Permaculture is a design system.
Permaculture is a Design system that aligns with natural laws. Specifically, it is grounded in constants, as well as in locality-specific realities. And although we follow Universal laws, empirical knowledge plays a large role in providing guidelines for the way the Human species should behave; this also allows for choice, which is a staple of democracy. By applying Permaculture, we adhere to rules and principles of life which can manifest through our interaction with the environment.
This is the true meaning of Permanent Culture, reuniting conditions for Human beings and other living organisms to thrive in mutually beneficial arrangements.
Everything stems from a common understanding of who we are and what our natural limits are: what we eat, what resources we use for work, and how we organize our interactions.
This lens to understanding needs and resources creates a very interesting dynamic, relative to the bioregions. By commonly researching and working on the same topics, a community of individuals can create libraries of basic knowledge for Human beings that want to thrive; this knowledge can be passed on from generation to generation, all while being improved and carrying a small imprint of everyone who contributed to it.
Intrinsically, this is also an artistic expression, embedded in the community matrix.
As far as professional life is concerned, Permaculture takes a holistic approach to designing all the elements of a project; to fill the needs of the people at the core of it, we look at the uses of energy, production of food, and integrating all resources present on site. We focus on the three aspects (Water, access, and structures), which we refer to as Main Frame design; within this framework, sector and zoning are tools that bring clarity, flow, and interactive diversity.
Being a Permaculture Designer means being able to incorporate all these technical elements, while also being creative; for myself, that brings balance and also challenges on a daily basis.
Permaculture is also a connective discipline between fields, which brings an inclusive dimension to everyday work.
But the true wealth comes from sharing these tools with my close ones; while each individual is different, we can connect through knowledge, again creating flow and even meeting common needs: the sense of belonging, of mattering, of being included.
As the Permaculture approach is very much a work-in-progress, family ties are reinforced through everyday flow and challenges, but also through engaging in worthwhile activities. This connection to nature also nurtures a feeling of home in the dwelling and at the center of a cultivated ecology, embedded in your local community.
On a spiritual level, Permaculture offers a solid anchor in Natural Laws. It brings challenges on a daily basis – in terms of a deep understanding, of finding solutions – but essentially what it does it stimulates me.
The ever-evolving nature of my life model is something that I perceive as worthwhile; every single day, I can step outside my front door and do something that aligns with Nature, with succession, and with guilds. It brings about a certain joy of contributing, of fitting in with something greater than myself.
Essentially, Permaculture offers integration, flow, and direction to my life on several levels. No matter where I am on this journey, there is choice and belonging, which is something that I wish upon everyone.