Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Permaculture is very much a matter of design. Putting things in the right places is essential
if any of the useful connections we are talking about are to be made. If the chicken run is
next to the wheat field or orchard, the connection can be made by simply opening a gate.
Only when the chicken house and greenhouse are joined together can the exchange of heat
and gases take place.
These days, landscape design is usually a matter of making things look pretty rather than
making them really useful. A permaculture design is primarily concerned with making the
landscape productive, self-reliant and sustainable. But this does not mean that it will not
be beautiful. In fact, a landscape which is designed in this way will inevitably be beautiful,
just as natural ecosystems are.
Compare the sight, sound and smell of a battery house with a chicken forage system.
It is like comparing a factory with an ornamental garden. In fact, there is a great deal in
common between the way in which a chicken forage and an ornamental garden are laid out.
Both are designed so that each plant can thrive in harmonious relationship with its neigh-
bours, receive enough light and moisture for successful flowering and fruiting, and make
the best of the particular conditions of soil and climate. What is more, many of the plants
will be the same. An example is the false acacia tree, which has long been planted as an
ornamental and has given its name to many an Acacia Avenue, but which also bears seed
which is edible to chickens.
A permaculture landscape also tends to be an ethical one. Although it is possible to be
cruel to animals in any kind of system, it is impossible not to be cruel in a battery system.
On the other hand, it is very easy to be kind in a permaculture system, which is based on the
idea of allowing the animals to do everything that comes naturally to them, and accepting
this natural behaviour as a gift. Permaculture has no monopoly on animal rights, but they
are an essential part of the system.
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