Angelica and I took a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) in December 2014 in Auroville with Rico Zook (i-permaculture.org), Martin Bastide and Roman Benjankri.
Permaculture (permanent agriculture or permanent culture) was coined by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison first in 1978 in Australia. Since then, Permaculture has travelled across the globe as a design study applicable to not only farms, but any aspect of life in different scales and context. Permaculture is essentially a design framework intended to maximise the relationships between the various elements in the system and thereby making the system more resilient and energy efficient.
The three foundational ethics of permaculture are:
- Care for Earth
- Care for People
- Fair Share
We started our journey at Sun Farm as students of Permaculture with Rico and Martin in February 2015. Our work here was to first observe the land, its flows, patterns and identifying and understanding in depth its several elements. Of course, understanding the needs of the client was also an important part of this process.
In this period of one year, we found ourselves going deeper into the connections of nature, the behaviour of people and our own intentions and aspirations. This was not possible without devoting time to building new relationships, appreciating the simplicity of life and challenging our conceptions from education and the social/economic context we come from.
Also, in this time, Rico/Martin have come up with a permaculture design guideline for this place, but like they say, and now we understand, permaculture is a work in progress. No system can be absolutely perfect and requires our attention continuously for maintenance, for tending to different elements that we want to work with. Permaculture gives you only a set of tools and the understanding of how to use them to create a symbiotic system where every element, plant, insect, animal and us have to play their part and spend energy to make it beneficial for all.
This journey has been more spiritual than technical for us, with permaculture guiding us in the process and the natives (also farmers) embracing us unconditionally in this environment and teaching us their wisdom which has been passed on to them since the beginning.
It is difficult for us to say what part of our work at Sun Farm is permaculture or not. We do know that we find ourselves always going back to the ethics of caring for people, caring for earth and fair share as our beacons and using knowledge from experts and locals to do our best in this context.