Underpinning all permaculture systems are fundamental ethical values around caring for the earth and its peoples, as well as the fair and just distribution of resources - To me these fit well with the vegan philosophy of compassionate living. But is animal-free permaculture actually possible? Of course not – neither would it be desirable. For example, how would we fence out the earthworms that build our soil and maintain its fertility, or the bees that pollinate our fruit trees and vegetables, and why would we wish to? In fact, we actively design in features that are intended to attract wildlife – Ponds for frogs, toads and dragonflies, and flowering plants to bring in the ladybirds and hoverflies that are essential to maintaining healthy productive ecosystems. What we don’t include are those ‘system components’ that perpetuate exploitative relationships with our non-human earth co-citizens, such as pigs, goats and chickens, whose primary function is the production of meat, milk and eggs.
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