some basic questions

Permaculture Extension Services permaext at
Wed Aug 28 19:52:33 EDT 1996

forbes. wrote:
> i am about to start my second year in college at american university
> majoring in a major that has nothing to do with ecology.  anyway, i've
> been reading about permaculture and it all sounds so very interesting.
> however, i'm not even going to be able to come into any land to begin

Hi forbes,

You do not need to own land to practice permaculture.

Permaculture is a system of integrated design, not a system of 
farming. As a design system, permaculture can incorporate the 
ecologically sustainable farming system preferred by the farmer, 
whether that be organic, biodynamic or some other variant of low 
external input sustainable agriculture.

You do not even have to have an interest in gardening of growing food 
to practice permaculture. What you have to do is to take 
responsibility for the effects of your way of life. This includes 
water and energy conservation, reducing the environmental impact of 
your way of life, reducing overconsumption of frivilous and 
unnecessary products, reducing your output of wastes and reusing and 
recycling your unwanted outputs.

Regarding food, while you do not have to produce it yourself to 
practice permaculture you can accept responsibility for your eating by 
endeavouring to buy your food from retailers, food co-ops or community 
supported agriculture enterprises which distribute food which has been 
produced with regard to ecological sustainability, landcare and social 

Nobody is asking for you to become obsessive about this - just do the 
best you can with what is available where you live. None of us are 
perfect, we could simply try to do do things a little better than they 
are done at present.

> working on for at least a couple of years (my dad is moving-he found some
>  cheap land somewhere, and lots of it)
> the point is: until then, what can i read/do now? 

What can you read?

Try Bill Mollison's Introduction to Permaculture for starters. That 
will give you a broad introduction to permaculture. 

Then get a book catalog from the US based Permaculture Activist (PO 
Box 1209, Black Mountain NC 28711), read the Permaculture 
International Journal (get it from Permaculture Activist), 
Permaculture Drylands Journal (PO Box 64184, Tuscon, AZ 85728). Do a 
WWW search under 'permaculture' to discover permaculture websites and 
do a permaculture design course.

 what should i be
> familiar with before i take a permaculture course? 

Reading Introduction to Permaculture will provide basic background.

 do i have to use
> animals?  if so, do i have to kill them? (i'm vegetarian, i dont look

Animals are used in permaculture design as integral parts of the 
system. Chooks (I think you call them chickens over there) are used 
for their practice of scratching up and manuring soil in preparation 
for sowing vegetables and for their habit of eating insect larvae, for 
example. Geese eat weeds in orchards. Goats clear invasive weeds.

In cases such as urban gardens, however, there may be no opportunity 
to utilise animals for their beneficial functions within your system. 
In that case, you have to substitute your labour for that otherwise 
done by animals. ie you have to scratch up the ground and fertilise it 
in preparation for vegetable sowing.

No, if you do have animals you do not have to kill them. There are 
plenty of vegetarian permaculturists, including those who eat animal 
products such as eggs and those who do not. If you wish, you can trade 
products like eggs on local exchange and trading systems (community 
economic systems) or sell them - that way you are supplying people who 
do use such products with stuff that has been responsibly and 
organically produced by you and by animals which are humanely kept.

Permaculture does not stipulate vegetarianism ot omnivorism - what it 
does stipulate is that, if people keep animals for food then they are 
kept humanely.

> forward to having to kill the animals)
> thank you very much for any advice you can provide i appreciate it.
> email me at fg4840a at
> peace forbes
> --
> whole, unrefined food-nourishment for the body
> education-nourishment for the mind
> meditation-nourishment for the spirit
> laughter and love-great for all three!
> *X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*
> X forbes graham                             nice guyX
> X riceone distro                                    X
> X                 X
> X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*emoXpower*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X

Russ Grayson and Fiona Campbell
PO Box 446, Kogarah NSW 2217 AUSTRALIA

Phone	02-9588 6931	(IDD-61+2+9588 6931)
Fax 	02 330 2611 (Mark fax: ATTN: RUSS GRAYSON - APACE) 
	(IDD-61+2+330 2611)
Email: permaext at

Permaculture education, publishing, design. 
NSW co-ordinator, Australian City Farms and Gardens Network.

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