I had the opportunity to go to a presentation a couple weeks ago about forest gardens, a subset of the permaculture movement. This is really only the second time I have been exposed to the ideas of permaculture, but it sounds really interesting. I was especially intrigued by the way in which permaculture seeks long-term sustainability.
This definition by the Permaculture Institute sums up the concept pretty well: "Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more. "
Permaculture seems to be a modern attempt to live off of the land the way our ancestors did (and many people around the world still do). While this may sound a little too hippie-like for some, I think we can all learn from the principles of the movement. And it might be more possible than you think to live more off the land. When I first heard of this movement, I envisioned a person would need a huge garden. However, with the right multilayered planting, even a small space in the city can be turned into an incredibly productive forest-garden.
What I have realized over and over again recently is that we are going to have to start making some pretty radical changes in our way of life. Just recycling is not enough. Permaculturists are some of the most dedicated people leading the way to a better, more sustainable world.
Check out the Permaculture Research Institute to find out more.