Permanent + agriculture = permaculture.

Permaculture began as a collaboration between Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Tasmania in the 1970s. Mollison, a forester, was impressed with the stability and productivity of mature forests. He believed that if humans observed natural processes and applied them in our own gardens and homes, we could achieve the same stability and productivity. Permaculture is both a farming method and an ideology on how to create a better world. (Ecosystems that Imitate Nature)

This practice has three foundational beliefs:

  • Care of the Earth—by reducing human consumption of “stuff,” we’ll have a positive impact on the environment
  • Care of People—take care of ourselves, family, and community without consumption of superfluous materials
  • Fair Share—set limits and balance what we take and what we give

(Urban Harvest)

Where can you practice it?

The short answer is: everywhere. Permaculture is a sustainable practice and mindset designed specifically for human spaces. A suburban permaculture garden can be designed to work with the surrounding buildings, and provide the necessary sustenance for nearby inhabitants while minimizing waste from the buildings. In rural areas, it often takes the shape of vegetable gardens and fruit tree orchards, also integrating with the surrounding landscape so that mankind and nature become symbiotic. (Earth Technologies)

Permaculture is a large inspiration for the establishment of the Blackwood Land Institute. “The whole design of Houston was created with the idea that energy was so cheap it didn’t matter if you preserve it or not,” said Robert Randall, a PhD teacher in an interview with Clean Houston, which also features Blackwood founder Cath Conlon.

In addition to stopping by the Blackwood Farm, there are loads of other permaculture resources in Houston. The Permaculture Guild of Houston offers advice and a local community for any questions you may have. For more information on the ideas and practices behind it, you can watch a video of it in action, or read more at Organic Lifestyle.