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What is Permaculture?

Jan 1, 2021 | Gardens, Lawns

Permaculture has become a buzz-word of sorts, permeating the English language but leaving people scratching their heads as to what it really is. The word itself is a portmanteau for the terms “permanent agriculture” and “permanent cultures.” Permaculture is a self-sustaining agricultural system that focuses on organic farming methods that keep the surrounding ecological system intact. The system was originally created by two Australians during the 1970s and has recently begun to gain momentum in the United States.

Permaculture Has Taken Root

As Americans become more health-conscious and develop a closer relationship with their food and its source, many have adopted different eating habits in order to avoid consuming pesticide-treated, genetically modified crops. Pesticides, GMO’s, growth hormones, and antibiotics used in factory farming have been linked to a plethora of life-threatening diseases and genetic disorders. As such, the trend towards self-sufficiency has increased.

In fact, consumers are much more conscious and tuned-in — thanks to social media platforms — than ever before, forcing brands to provide a level of transparency that many are reluctant to. Unsurprisingly, this has pushed many consumers farther and farther away from mainstream culture in search of a more holistic lifestyle, which is where permaculture comes into play.

Permaculture Boosts Organic Food Movement

Everyone thought the organic food movement was merely a trend or a marketing tactic that would soon be forgotten. It wasn’t until the agriculture and food industry as a whole was carefully examined that many consumers became mistrustful, if not disgusted, by how their food lands on their dinner table. Organic became more of a total lifestyle, rather than just the latest fad.

Permaculture is about much more than having a beautiful yard; it also includes edible landscaping, balancing the beauty of landscape design with the practicality of having a garden. Landscape design itself, even when permaculture is not involved, can save homeowners thousands in heating and cooling costs, as well as boost a property’s value come selling time.

Permaculture Landscape Designers

Many modern landscape designers incorporate permaculture principles. The permaculture landscape design process focuses on creating a bountiful garden that not only seamlessly blends with the existing environment, but looks good doing it. Many landscape professionals often incorporate small livestock, such as chickens, into their landscape design process.

So where do you find a permaculture yard designer? It might be easier than you think. While sustainable yard designers may be difficult to find in more rural areas, the idea of permaculture has been around for some time. If you live in a metropolitan or suburban setting, start by asking those closest to you for personal recommendations. Also, be sure to browse social media websites. There’s a good chance you will stumble upon the personal website or social media pages of permaculture yard designers in your area. Be sure to carefully review examples of their work.

If you’re interested in creating a beautiful, personal landscape that provides healthy food, and promotes a more sustainable lifestyle, consult with a permaculture designer in your area.

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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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