An additional Type of Power or ComPost-Modernism

PERMACULTURE HAS ITS GENESIS in the visionary work of J. Russell Smith, J. Sholto Douglas, Robert Hart, and others less populared, who, two generations back and more, understood the urgency of changing the basis of farming through using trees and various other perennial crops. They saw the progressive devastation of land that followed the plow and understood that just by incorporating forestry and farming can man's influence on the Earth be tempered and expect humankind's future be secured into the next century.

Following the revelations of ecologist H. T. Odum (I) on the problem of energy, a 3rd leg was added to this crucial synthesis as David Holmgren so trenchantly expounds in his essay Energy and Permaculture (2). It was for Holmgren, a young pupil of design at Hobart. Tasmania, and his unlikely mentor, Bill Mollison a bushman turned college professor, to set forth a useful and systematic approach to executing these brand-new understandings. Permaculture emphasized redesign of the domestic landscape or self-reliance, building the brilliant of the neighborhood and the individual into this triune and advanced change.

Though commonly accepted by both conventional and post-modern peoples around the lifestyle, permaculture has actually been largely overlooked by governments and institutions, to which its essential message is anathema. The vacuum of official support has obscured the scope and degree of this transformation in man's relation to the land. It is vital therefore, for those of us advertising permaculture ideas and systems to recognize that the elaboration of the permaculture design system, though original to Holmgren and Mollison, was neither isolated nor special, however contemporary with a range of parallel imaginative work in other western nations.

Rummaging my bookshelf for inspiration on energy in preparation for this issue, I came across evidence for a comparable ideation in a slender thesis by Ida and Jean Pain, Another Kind of Garden. First released in 1973 and in a fifth version by 1979, this little book documents the work and techniques of M. Pain with brushwood compost.

A Little-Known Visionary

Pain was a resident expert in Occitania, that historic and fabled area in the south of France, whose political fate has actually long been immersed within the French state, however whose spirit is still restive. Contemporary with Bill Mollison. Pain was concerned with the devastation of the Mediterranean woodland by fire, a terminal process of dehumification of soils that started hundreds of years ago with the intro of grazing animals and cereal cropping. He try out the production of garden compost from brushwood thinnings of the garrigue, France's sclerophyllic (dry loving) southern forest. By modern applications of this garden compost and careful mulching to retain wetness, Pain showed and tape-recorded in fantastic information that high quality veggies could be expanded without irrigation in these dry soils. He further hypothesized that the woodland itself might he regenerated by selective use of the same product.

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