Your first introduction to permaculture will likely have come through gardening. Perhaps you just got a polytunnel and started looking into organic gardening methods – perhaps you've been a gardener for far longer and discovered new ways of doing things that make more sense for us and our planet. Either way, when you discovered the sensible and practical permaculture gardening methods, it is unlikely that you turned your back on them. In fact, you may be wondering what permaculture design systems could offer for the other areas of your life and thinking about spreading permaculture beyond your polytunnel garden.
Permaculture shows us the way forward in a polytunnel garden, or any other garden for that matter. It shows us what is possible in terms of food growing, on a variety of different scales. But though permaculture was originally defined as 'permanent agriculture' it is now more commonly defined as 'permanent culture' and is far broader in scope than just the field of food growing.
The three central permaculture tenets – care for our planet, care for people, and fair share/ return of surplus to the system can be applied in a wide range of different arenas. The various principles put forth to help with designing permaculture systems can also be applied to different facets of our lives.
You may like to begin my thinking about how you can bring permaculture ethics, principles and practices to bear inside your home. When trying to spread permaculture ideas and activities this is a really good place to start. Some permaculture practices to do with food growing in your polytunnel will already feed in to your home – composting kitchen waste, for example, storing and preserving food and cooking from scratch with home grown organic produce are all compatible with permaculture. But thinking beyond the basics, you can create a kitchen layout, for example, that works better for you, you can discover more sustainable ways to clean and manage your home and can make sure that all your rooms are laid out in the best possible configuration for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
In learning about permaculture, don't just focus on how to you might apply the ethics and principles inside your polytunnel or elsewhere in your garden, but think also about how they can be applied in your home, perhaps at your workplace – even in your leisure time... and in a broader view, you can think, also about what permaculture means in political terms, and in terms of the structure of our communities and wider society as it is and as it should be.