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Synonyms for Permaculture.

                                


Joined: Sep 23, 2009
Posts: 18
As you'all have probably experienced, it is sometimes difficult or laborous to explain permaculture to "unpermacultured" folks!  Moreover, sometimes an indiginous, traditional or ancient system of sustainable living resembles permaculture, but it is not called "permaculture".  For these reasons, I wish to compile a list of synonyms or catch-phrases that embody the idea of permaculture without explicitly using the word "permaculture".

So far I've thought of a few:

sustainable agriculture
low-impact agriculture
biodynamic agriculture
indiginous food production
closed-loop system


Can you think of any others?  Perhaps you wish to share your experience on a permaculture-esque site that was not called "permaculture". 

Thanks,
Ty Ty
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
I think you have done a good job coming up with some words to describe some aspects of permaculture. i don't know as though there is a an all encompassing synonym as it is very much a collection of ideas and methods at this point and most of the words I can think of as well as you are more "goal" words. for instance "sustainable agriculture" is a definite componant goal of permaculture. but the term "sustainable agriculture" doesn't specify any particular way to make it sustainable just that it should be considered such. I think permaculture gets a little more detailed and says "here are some sustainable methods"

as far as how to introduce permaculture to people unfamiliar with the term.  I usually start with how it is generally accepted to have gots its name. which from my understanding is a combo of permanent and agriculture. from there various ideas and systems have been incorporated that can be viewed as a way to sustain an agricultural system indefinitly (theoretically). those particular ideas and methods which are or should be continuing to evolve, are collectively called permaculture. 

I have learned though that permaculture can mean different things to different people regardless of its origins and original intent.


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Brenda Groth
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    9
long term common sense land use


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paul wheaton
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How about "full farm eco system:  systems feeding systems feeding systems so that I do ten times less work."

Too long?


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Joel Hollingsworth
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Collecting evolved control systems to reduce human error.



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Robert Ray
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  12
Responsible sustainable lifestyle  (choices)?


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Joined: May 01, 2009
Posts: 20
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Some people call it agroecology. I often say "applied ecology" -- but it's more broad than the common understanding of "ecology", including geology, industrial metabolisms, architecture, etc etc. Mollison called it the first "design science" -- and that's probably what it is -- a growing catch-all syllabus of the best strategies for ecological and industrial design.

I would characterize it as "guerrilla economics and amateur science" along the lines of Paul Hawken and Paul Stamets -- because people seem to be fixated on the gardening and homesteading aspects too much, which Mollison spent relatively little time speaking about during his early PDC lectures. He was trying to spread the word about much hardier human systems than a simple western home and garden -- like Commonwork in the UK or Mondragon in the Basque, setting up resilient landholding and business ventures, avoiding taxation for war and building up infrastructure among the impoverished beneath the noses of ineffectual charities and bureaucracies and tyrannies.

Allan Savory came to a similar set of systems, which he calls "holistic management" -- a bit more focused on large land systems, so doesn't cover the same ground as permaculture in detail, but really they are the same thing in outline. Christopher Alexander came to probably the more cosmic rules underlying the holistic design sciences -- and he usually just calls that vitality, aliveness, or "life"!
thomas jahn


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 10
loonbum wrote:
So far I've thought of a few:

sustainable agriculture
low-impact agriculture
biodynamic agriculture
indiginous food production
closed-loop system


Can you think of any others? 


I usually add "natural farming" as Fukuoka did call his method. Not to say it is the same, but when closely watching nature you derive at permaculture. It is one of the design methods.
                          


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ajmot wrote:
Some people call it agroecology.


And many of the conventional aggies I talk to say "Oh, Agroforestry!" when I describe permaculture. Not a perfect match, but lots of overlap.
Erica Wisner
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  96
The element a lot of people leave out is the other derivation of permaculture:
"permanent culture."

A way of meeting people's needs that isn't self-defeating over time.

When I first learned about it in college, the element that stuck most firmly in my head was
"mimicking local ecology to supply our needs sustainably."

"Making nature do the work" is another way I like to tell people.  "If you kill off the worms and weeds, then you have to do their work.."

"Regenerative design" is a mouthful, but it says a lot.

It's not just farming or gardening, although that's an attractive manifestation.  Permaculture also has elements from systems theory, design, ergonomics, social studies.

One example is observation and zones.  These can be condensed into a one-word concept from Japan: "kaizen = Incremental improvement through observation," which is part of the Toyota Manufacturing Protocol (for factory work)! 
I was trained on that in an assembly job, with the specific example of moving the tools you use most often, into easy reach at your workstation.  Same principle operates in laying out your office, home, or yes, garden, when thinking systematically about permaculture.

A lot of people, myself included, feel it's silly to exclude examples that existed before the 1970's, if they embody the principles and have proven themselves ecologically and socially sustainable.  Bill Mollison invented the word, but he didn't invent the ideas - he just put them all in one book together. 

I'd hate to think of homesteaders kicking native tribes off their land in order to sheet-mulch it, and I don't much like the idea of anyone doing that to my grandmother's yard either. 
I think it's fair to call a sustainably cultivated backyard a "food forest" or "permaculture" even if the perpetrator doesn't know the word.  We need living examples of low-maintenance, ecologically sound, and socially appealing habitats, examples that are consistent with our cultural and regional past.  I want to see examples of 'permanent agriculture" or 'permanent [social] culture' that really are permanent: they've been in place for several hundred years, and the landscape continues to thrive and improve. 

Just as we look to local ecosystems as models for suitable permaculture techniques, we look to local culture and history for clues to the working principles of sustainable human society in our region.  Old farmers, gardeners, and housewives have a lot to teach us about what works for people.

Sorry to digress, but it's something I think about whenever anyone is talking about the boundaries of 'permaculture' and how to define it.


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jeremiah bailey


Joined: May 05, 2009
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Isawela Yonah


Joined: Nov 17, 2009
Posts: 51
As far as I am to understand, Biodynamic and Permaculture are two very separate things. Rudoloph Steiner and Bill Mollison-two very different guys. They may cross paths, but I think that saying "Biodynamic" as a synonym for Permaculture would be incorrect...

In Japanese it translates to "Environmental Ethical Study."

Peace,
Isabel
Valerie Dawnstar


Joined: Dec 07, 2009
Posts: 185
Location: North Central New York
    
    2
I find it intriguing that Permaculture is a concept that is rather amorphous with many edges.
How's this for another definition? - 
maximizing the harmonic interplay with nature 


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Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
lavenderdawn wrote:
I find it intriguing that Permaculture is a concept that is rather amorphous with many edges.
How's this for another definition? - 
maximizing the harmonic interplay with nature 


I like it
Valerie Dawnstar


Joined: Dec 07, 2009
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Location: North Central New York
    
    2
Thanks.  I have to give the credit for that one to my DH, the musician.       
Robert Ray
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Nuture through nature?
Using the plants need to guide us in creating a productive environment for it without hurting the current environment.
                                          


Joined: Aug 11, 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Seattle, WA
The way I see it there are no symonyms for "Permaculture".

It's a system that while it may SHARE some of the basic ideas used in other systems, it is not another system.  Is it organic?  Yes.  Does that make it "Organic Gardening"?  No.  It is definately NOT Biodynamic in any way.  And "indigenous food production"?  That's almost offensive.

Fukuoka's "Natural Farming" is not permaculture, but rather something seperate that informed Permaculture as it evolved.

Even "Holtzer Permakulture" is not Permaculture, having much more in common with the Fukuokian method than the Mollison/Holmgren method, and yet coming about seperately from both.

Trying to make one word into another is dangerous business, and a bit disrespectful to boot.  That's my 2 cents.


Don't do it to make a statement, do it to make a difference!

Permaculture Design and more!  http://www.terraflorafarm.com
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
hollingsworths collecting systems is good, then we don't get bogged down with one aspect of it and will go on looking for new bits of the ecolgical and permanent. The evershifting permanent. rose.
 
                    


Joined: Dec 29, 2009
Posts: 2
Perhaps... Adaptive ecosystem gardening
paul wheaton
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Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15607
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I get asked this a lot.  And I just now thought of "optimizing the symbiotic relationship between people and nature"
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
"short strand food web facilitation"

although that's only the food part of the equation....and the thing about permaculture is that it is all encompassing, not just about growing food at all. 
Joshua Chambers


Joined: Feb 03, 2010
Posts: 69
Location: the state of jefferson - zone 7
Erica Wisner wrote:
The element a lot of people leave out is the other derivation of permaculture:
"permanent culture."
...
Just as we look to local ecosystems as models for suitable permaculture techniques, we look to local culture and history for clues to the working principles of sustainable human society in our region.  Old farmers, gardeners, and housewives have a lot to teach us about what works for people.

Sorry to digress, but it's something I think about whenever anyone is talking about the boundaries of 'permaculture' and how to define it.


A-HO!
gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
I've always remembered the Star Trek NG episode where the alien race only talks in metaphors.  So I think of things like;
"Ianto Evans vs the smelly tractor at the Black Range Lodge"

But with the permission of Gwen Lynn, I would like to coin the word--  "Biodruidism"


Gary
Joshua Chambers


Joined: Feb 03, 2010
Posts: 69
Location: the state of jefferson - zone 7
gary gregory wrote:
I've always remembered the Star Trek NG episode where the alien race only talks in metaphors.   So I think of things like;
"Ianto Evans vs the smelly tractor at the Black Range Lodge"

But with the permission of Gwen Lynn, I would like to coin the word--  "Biodruidism"


Darmock and Jalad at Tanagra!  I have that whole series on my computer, archived for the kids to laugh at. 

You are west of the big valley, Gary?
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
I tend to explain permaculture as a design approach to solving sustainability problems.


permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
Darmock and Jalad at Tanagra!  I have that whole series on my computer, archived for the kids to laugh at. 

You are west of the big valley, Gary?



Yes, west of Williams.
Joel Hollingsworth
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Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Another very loose synonym, from before the term was coined, via Darren Doherty: keyline. Keyline planning includes a scale of permanence, and judges its methods on whether the agriculture in question is permanent.
Gilbert Fritz


Joined: Sep 13, 2013
Posts: 348
Location: Denver, CO
    
    4
Since I am a Catholic, leading a group of other Catholics, here is what I use. The first is a slightly modified form of Joel's suggestion.

Using Created control systems to minimize human pride caused errors.

Mimicking Creation

Copying the work of God, the great designer

As far as trying to quickly describe what my group does, nothing beats "urban farming."


Catholic Urban Permaculture! http://saintisidoresociety.wordpress.com/
Paul Cereghino
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  15
I think the maybe three interestingly cases of simultaneous emergence (late 70s early 80s) might be Van der Ryns 'Ecological Design' and JT Lyles 'Regenerative Design' and MIT/Club of Rome 'Systems Analysis'... but agree with Hatfield #4 (?!) in the danger of equating ideas that should be understood one at a time if you want to actually respect their origins. There are also examples of ongoing convergence... I think restoration ecology and permaculture are converging (but I would say they are converging somewhere new).

I find the Permaculture community when assembled and talking to itself, has a tendency to attempt to envelop all other good ideas as part of PC, while also remaining somehow separate and superior to those that are not PC (I am not suggesting this tendency is unique to PC). I think this is because there are three "Permacultures" that are overlapping but somewhat distinct in their function: 1) trademark, when there is something for sale, 2) subculture when you want to be part of a group different than others, and then 3) there is that beautiful book of design theories written by those Australians that are trying to transform systems. Function 1 and 2 are entangled, whereas function 3 is free, wild, and beautiful.


Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
 
 
subject: Synonyms for Permaculture.
 
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