Permaculture is an important and sustainable alternative to conventional agriculture. But permaculture is also important in everyday life and combines very well with the Master Unit structures of Ananda Marga.
Permaculture is a kind of toolkit to create a lifestyle in harmony with the environment. Permaculture is based on nature as a model. Each action is based on the following question: What would nature do?
The answer is always this: respect the earth and all living things. Biodiversity, or the species diversity of all animals, plants, other organic life forms and habitats, comes first. Because: the more versatile the system, the more resilient it becomes.
Following this guiding principle, permaculture was developed as a practical method of nature-inspired design. Through observation, permaculture wants to learn the structures of nature, imitate its patterns and create self-regulating systems. What started as an alternative agricultural practice is now also used in everyday life and in social areas. Importantly, so many of the concepts and practices Shrii P.R. Sarkar advises in Ideal Farming are harmonious with and reflect many aspects of Permaculture.
In Ananda Kalyani we have implemented permaculture structures such as a food forest that is growing tall, a synergetic garden and the permaculture-cousin one agroforest, and many agroforest interventions in spaces throughout our land. In the development of the Master Plan, our Ananda Kalyani vision, mission and action plan, we have adopted the zoning principles of permaculture through the Regrarian mapping system in order to optimize and harmonize between people, project and nature.
The Origin of Permaculture
Permaculture was originally developed as a sustainable response to industrial and environmentally damaging agriculture. In conventional farmland cultivation, the guiding principle of maximization leads to permanent soil degradation, mineral deficiency and ultimately soil sterility. Permaculture was coined in the 1970s by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren,pioneers in agriculture. They had a concept of sustainable living and regenerative land use in mind, but took a lot of inspiration and help from local indigenous knowledge.
In addition to agricultural practices, social aspects have also been included in permaculture over the years. The design principles are not only related to horticulture, but also applied to the design of settlement areas and social networks. Together with the three pillars of sustainability, the following leitmotifs result:
Earth care (ecological sustainability)
People care (social sustainability)
Fair Share (economic sustainability)
In Ananda Kalyani we have focused on social sustainability through workshops, talks and the aspiring practices of non-violent communication, conflict management, inclusion, governance, community lifestyle, women’s empowerment and much more. PRIP, the PROUT Research Institute of Portugal is working towards economic sustainability through hosting the most extensive block level planning project in the Ananda Marga world through collaborating with municipalities, companies, lobbies, organizations and individuals to develop resilience and sustainability in the local region.
Permaculture is much more than an alternative to the energy-intensive agricultural industry. Permaculture wants to achieve:
Decentralizing large-scale agriculture: Elements of permaculture can already be found in regenerative agriculture, ecological agriculture and sustainable agriculture. Permaculture not only wants to protect nature, but also work with it.
Creating new habitats for nature and people: More and more people are fleeing due to climate change. Animals are also increasingly losing habitat.
Teaching natural horticulture: By farming in harmony with nature, you can also use permaculture in your garden. Studies show: it can increase yield and help protect the environment.
Combating Species Extinction: Studies show that we are losing more and more species to climate change. Permaculture refers to simple things you can do about mass extinction to preserve biodiversity.
Giving hope: we are no longer just talking about climate change, but a climate crisis. During this time, people need practical guidance on how to deal with the crisis.
Creating a new proximity to nature: through new concepts such as urban agriculture, cities are becoming natural habitats again.
Achieving a fair distribution of resources: This affects both the financial resources of the economy and ecological resources and land distribution.
In all application areas, permaculture is about mimicking natural ecosystems and working with nature rather than against it. Therefore, permaculture is based on practice-oriented methods that create a holistic and sustainable lifestyle. Ananda Kalyani aspires to adapt these principles in each aspect of the Master Unit. Do you have advice, experience or questions? Speak to us!
Lina Brammertz is a nature lover from Germany. She studied Social and Environmental Sciences in the UK and there discovered her passion for permaculture and ecovillages. Lina is now traveling across Europe, exploring green communities and projects.
Isabella Iishana Johansson is a permanent resident of Ananda Kalyani and aspires to grow the metaphorical seeds of the projects into trees as well as coordinating between all the different departments that Ananda Kalyani houses through event coordination and communication.