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Learn how easy it is to grow fresh, organic produce with permaculture gardening.

As a raw vegan living in Dubai, I became interested in permaculture gardening through my struggle to get fresh, organic fruit and vegetables.

The catalyst occurred when I stumbled across a video in which a born-and-bred conventional farmer investigated permaculture in Australia, and was ultimately convinced to convert part of her land into permaculture design.

Wow, I thought. What is this permaculture business?

Well, simply put permaculture gardening involves working with nature to produce a sustainable garden design.

It all started when Bill Mollison, a wildlife biologist, spent decades in the rainforests and deserts of Australia studying eco-systems, and witnessing their destruction.

He concluded that with the widespread use of conventional agriculture and the mechanisation of our food production, 70% of the world's soils have been destroyed and 40% of our water has been contaminated.

In our quest to feed the masses, agriculture itself had become a weapon against nature.

Together with one of his students, David Holmgren, he coined the word ‘permaculture’, a contraction of permanent agriculture’ and ‘permanent culture’.

Through observing natural forests, Mollison noted that plants naturally group themselves in a mutually-beneficial cluster. He built upon this idea to develop an approach to agriculture and community design that seeks to place elements together that support and sustain each other.

“The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long-term.

Permaculture uses the inherent qualities of plants and animals combined with the natural characteristics of landscapes and structures to provide a life-supporting system for city and country, using the smallest practical area”

Today, the principles of permaculture have taken root across the globe. From the deserts of the Kalahari to Israel’s Arava Desert, the icy north of Scandanavia to the rainforests of South America, permaculture can be practiced in any kind of climate.

What’s more, it has multifold applications: from practicing permaculture design on herb farms to transforming urban lots into gardens or even helping feed a family from an apartment balcony.

Even for a rookie such as myself, I knew I’d stumbled across something big. Perhaps something that could change the world, eliminating global issues such as poverty, hunger and waste.

With not much more knowledge of permaculture other than what I’ve mentioned above, I undertook to learn more about this revolutionary practice by attending a permaculture design course (PDC) at the Wild Olive Farm in Still Bay, South Africa. Here I would live, work and get my daily sustenance from the very freshest of produce.

Discover Permaculture Design Courses in South Africa

Related Articles

Click one of the following links and get to know some of permaculture's key learnings:

Permaculture Ethics:Clearly defined Permaculture Ethics give us purpose and clarity, enabling us to measure whether our project meets these criteria.

Permaculture Design Principles: Familiarising yourself with and applying these Permaculture Design Principles make creating a sustainable environment easier than ever before.

No-dig gardening: Build a thriving no-dig gardening bed with virtually no effort.

Making compost: Making compost has never been simpler with this step-by-step method to creating humus-rich soil.

What is soil made of? Discover more about this incredible natural resource.

Chicken Tractors: Mobile chicken coops that actually help you prepare the soil with the least possible effort.

Or visit Permaculture Design Courses to find out more about studying permaculture.

And don't forget to check out these amazing stories:

Permaculture in Palestine: This article is about permaculture in Palestine as I attend a PDC at the Marda Permaculture Farm in the West Bank

Permaculture in East London: Discover Permaculture in East London, Anna Andrews' 2-year labour of love, and she'll share some of her success stories, including composting, Mandala garden beds, greywater harvesting and no-dig garden beds.

Permaculture in Bathurst: Permaculture in Bathurst is thriving, thanks to the efforts of Rob Gess, who sells natural and organic products made from herbs picked fresh from his ecological garden

Return from Permaculture Gardening to Eco-friendly Africa Travel

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Eco-travel & Lifestyles

Hi, my name is Melissa and I created this site together with photographer Christopher List to help spread awareness about green lifestyles and travel, so everyone can learn how easy it is to live in a sustainable way. Enjoy!

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I wasn't sure what a permaculture design course was about, until I read through Melissa's fantastic blog! I've signed up and soon I'll be a PDC graduate too.

Kelly Richardson - Arizona

The link between personal responsibility and preserving our environment is becoming increasingly clear to me. Reading up on simple ways to be more eco-friendly in my life and travels has really helped me practice what I preach.

Dennis Howley - Namibia

I can't wait to follow Melissa and Chris' adventures in the Middle East and Africa. You guys inspire me!

Khalid Seif - Dubai

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