Permaculture stands for “permanent agriculture” and is a sustainability practice based on encouraging us to mimic the patterns and relationships we see in nature, applying these to many different aspects of human habitation. Permaculture is influenced by 3 main ethics: caring for the earth, caring for people and fair share. It focuses on creative design principles, with the overall goal of working with nature and its natural processes to create living environments that are both productive and sustainable, requiring minimum interference and maintenance within the natural environment.
Permaculture is focussed on understanding how elements and systems affect each other in nature. With this insight we can transform the way we practice agriculture, focus on ecological building, encourage small-scale technology for local use and educate people on sustainability. A great example of permaculture would be harvesting fruit and vegetables from an organic garden, which has the ability to preserve itself like a natural ecosystem.
By setting off on this journey towards sustainability we have the opportunity to gain invaluable skills and resilience both at home and in our local communities, helping us prepare for any outcome awaiting us in our uncertain future. By applying these principles of permaculture in our daily lives we can transition from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible producers.
Permaculture promotes a wide range of techniques and strategies, which change significantly depending on the location, climate and resources that are available. Although methods may differ, the foundations to this holistic approach remain constant. By focusing on these principles you can gain valuable new insight that will help you become more adaptable in an era of constant change.
The 12 Design Principles of Permaculture Twelve Permaculture design principles articulated by David Holmgren in his book, “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability”
1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need
3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.
At Salve Floresta we have been practicing organic gardening for 25 Years. Our vegetable garden boasts a large variety of organic veggies; kale, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beet root, lettuce, scarlet eggplant, corn, mandioca, leeks, spring onion and some herbs like rosemary, basil and parsley. We collect all organic matter from the kitchen, and after decomposing, we nourish our garden’s soil with our own organic compost.
Besides our vegetable garden, we have a 1 hectare banana plantation which provides an abundance of fruit which we feed every morning to the many exoctic bird species that share our land with us. Our guava trees bear sweet guavas in season, as do our orange and cacao trees. We also grow papayas, passion fruits, mandarins and lemons. During the last couple of decades we have developed our own gardening system which is adapted to the unique climate and local resources available for our organic garden deep inside the jungle.
As permaculture became known worldwide we were pleased to see that our way of working alongside nature in our garden was already very connected to permaculture design and ethics and followed the same principles. To us, one of the most important principles is keeping the natural ecosystem alive and thriving, whilst protecting our fragile rainforest through teaching both locals and foreign guests of all ages about the importance of sustainably producing food without interfering with or destroying the natural environment.
Our guests have the chance to experience what it is like to live in unity with nature, and understand how to modify their lives to better impact nature and their surroundings now and for years to come.
Looking into the future we have set our sights on improving our existing organic gardening structure by adding to the variety of vegetables we grow, with the goal of providing our guests with more foods fresh from our garden. We are also continuously planning unique opportunities to provide more educational possibilities for our visitors.
We have a greater goal for the future to educate people on the careful use of nature, sustainability and nature conservation in a way that could preserve and enrich the quality of life for all. At Slave Floresta, we pride ourselves in being a bridge between ordinary people and a growing community of permaculture practitioners, by offering unique and captivating educational opportunities.
After a Salve Floresta experience, our guests should be motivated to live with a sense of responsibility to reduce consumption and have a stronger overall environmental awareness. They will gain a larger understanding of nature, and with this knowledge they will love nature even more than before. It is more important now, than ever, to stay connected with nature and live a sustainable, healthy and fulfilling life.