• Permaculture in Yunus Emre farm

    Lights of the world ...

    The full moon of December is coming....

    and finally a paper on PERMACULTURE...

    which, although its name shows completely differently, is much more a philosophy of life than a way to cultivate the soil !!!


    As plenty of books on permaculture are available, this paper aims not at repeating theory etc ; rather it aims at giving you a glimpse of how the permaculture is felt and practiced in the Yunus Emre farm, with yoga and according to my personal experience ; Let’s have a closer look ...


    Permaculture is ...  A large system, a life style, a way of thinking which allows to create and manage a place in a sustainable way.  The place might be as tiny as our garden, as big as a city, even a region... See « City in transition » for instance... « Permanent – Culture » is the origine of the word or « culture of permanence »...To be understood like « creating and sustaining sustainability »



    Permaculture in Yunus Emre farm


    HOW is it possible ?

    For most of us it is now clear that the model of society in which we live is not sustainable ; everyday examples show everywhere ; even in our plates ! So no need to insist on this. Yet, HOW can we manage to create a SUSTAINABLE society ? That is the fondamental point which the youth of today and the managers of NOW have to solve...

    Lets see how permaculture works and how it can be integrated into a yogic farm :

    The three « pillars » of permaculture are :

    Ethics : codes de behaviour and thoughts ; every action/ project will have to comply with the ethics, or... be abandonned.

    Ethics are the moral foundation of the Sustainability ;

    Principles : very practical rules which guide one in the design’s process; the interaction between all elements is emphasized and empowered generating a SYNERGY where 1+1 is not 2 but 10 or maybe 20...

    The Principles are the practical foundation of the Sustainability;

    Note : ethics and principles are Universal : they might be applied everywhere by everyone ;


    Techniques :  thousands of practical methods, systems either coming from ancient traditions or discovered nowdays, even enhanced with modern technologie... Techniques of permaculture are like a giant tool box in which one can always find the « key » to one’s problem... By the bye in permaculture it is said that... « there is no problem ;  the problem IS the solution » :)

    Note : techniques are specific to context and will be chosen according to place, project, climat, population etc.


    Permaculture in Yunus Emre farm


    Let’s look at those three pillars in more details with some examples applied in the Yunus Emre farm and with the relation to yoga :


    Permaculture is... Based on ethics :


    -- take care of humans and Earth : permaculture people say that if human are well treated, they will look after all other species in a good manner ; that’s possible ; in yoga we talk about « ahimsa » non violence toward each avec every living creature, be it in act, thought, speech... To my opinion it goes further. And from Ahimsa, respect towards every parcel of creation naturally follows ( every parcel of creation IS Alive :)

    However it happens that we have to kill sometimes (often) so as to provide our survival  for we are also part of the creation ; when this happens we ask, and express  Respect and Gratitude towards the animal, the plant, the tree... 

    And if by accident we kill some creature, we ask for forgiveness, chant mantras for the caterpillar, bee, tree that we killed...

    That’s how it is in the Yunus Emre, respect and love towards all creatures ;

    -- sharing surplus, controlling development ; western societies will soon die under tremendous quantities of useless items which are simply wasted... Why ? Because the sole aim of our economy is to produce ; It pushes us to consume useless and poisonous goods... How many pairs of shoes in our cupboards ? How many phones ? Computers ? Probably too much ! Most of the time we buy, use, and throw away... It CANNOT be sustainable... An imbalance is created which grows everyday and leads to conflict... Those who have nothing are attracted by our so called Eldorado which shines like a paradise, but they do not realise that this Eldorado leads All of us to Chaos...

    We have to remember that around 80% of the world population lives UNDER the poverty threshold.... Well words dont make justice... We know, we think and we forget... But when we go to India or in Africa... then we understand.

    Swami Satyanandaji used to say : « a Westerner consumes in ONE DAY what an Indian uses in ONE YEAR » ... energies like food, water, electricity, clothes...

    Good to reflect upon these.....

    However the world is deeply changing, we understand that production at all  cost should Not be the aim of the societies ; and eventhough some big companies are still ruling the world, thousands of small groups have already started to create a NEW world....

    A New World is Emerging with a New Consciouness based on ETHICS

    Did you hear about « Creative Cultural » ? People working in business, banks, health, education, grocery ... whatever department... yet with CARE and RESPECT towards their partners/ customers/ clients etc.

    They all show that it IS POSSIBLE to Cooperate, create, distribute, share, give, respect, help.... AND Earn a good living ;

    In Yoga we use the niyama « Aparigraha » non accumulation which when joined with  « Santosh »  contentement...  may help us to be happy with what we just « really » need... without accumulating things without a good reason ;

    I often heard Swami Niranjan say : « when you go shopping and buy shoes for your kids, buy one more pair for street  kids how have no shoes » Why not ?

    When we start to reflect upon these codes or ethics, our life starts to get lighter, deeper and more intense...

    What about the Yunus Emre farm ?

    Well we could say that the farm is a big sharing !

    Be it as volunteer, participant to a program, or visitor coming for a stay, everyone will get a taste of the yogic and ecological lifestyle of the farm and benefit from it ; furthermore, jobs will be created ; the villagers will be even more involved. A synergy will be created generating Abundance which will allows to Share, Offer, Give...

    Energy has to flow ; that’s how it can benefit to all ; same with financial energy, money ;  it’s not by staying stuck in the banks that energy brings benefits to all  but by circulating ;

    Permaculture’s Principles:   examples in  Yunus Emre farm

    --> every source of vital energy is multiple :  just like in aviation :)

    Water : drinkable water from the village / watering water from the drill + water reservoirs + soon opening community pond :)  

    Electricity : from sun / ground power

     Incomes : different programmes (retreats/ seminars/ ecotourism) / the shop/ publications / programs given outside/  fundings / sponsors/ donations  :)

    -->  each part of the design has multifunction :

    Durga’s pond  (low spot): collects rain water from the surrounding hills as well as from Durga’s roof / creates and enriches the ecosystem / give lights to Durga / waters the plants and trees/ allow swimming !

    Lotus pond (high spot) : collects rain water / collects drill water / allows watering of all plants in summer and autumn / water reservoir in case of fire /

    Gardens (in general) : create ecosystems / animal+ vegetal + mineral+ human lives / food for all / enrich the soil if we use certain techniques like « companion plants » rotation etc./ pollinisation / homes for insects / hold the soil / prevents erosion / pleasure of working with earth / beauty, pleasure... LIFE !

    Chicken : not only are really good friends, but they also give eggs, scratch the soil, eat scorpions, snakes... The chicken house may even warm up the green house...

    The green house :  nursery / warms up another construction/  gives light / provides a warm and comfortable place for cats to sleep :) gives aesthetic look /

    --> each interconnexion between elements feeds the needs of all : 

    While designing, each element of the place is studied separately so as to identify its needs & functions ; According to the other elements, the placement of each becomes more and more define and that’s how the Synergy of the Design is created : by the Interconnexion and Interaction of all with all ;

    CHICKEN ? They NEED space, shelter, zone for eggs, food, water, company, protection,... They provide eggs... They clean soil... yet may damage garden ;

    The chicken house will be close to houses, close to people, close to doghouse so that the dog protects from fox ; there will be free space around, the gardens will be protected ;


    Permaculture in Yunus Emre farm


    VEGETABLE GARDEN ? It NEEDS well exposed and rich soil, maintenance, intrants, tools, compost, watering, mulching, shade, protection ... Its PRODUCES harvest,  compost, It PROVIDES nest for insects...

    So accordingly we shall place the vegetable garden close to houses, close to toolshed, provide shade and or walls or pergola, arrange nests for insects, plants for the insects, plan rotation to enrich the soil etc.

    -->  working with Nature and not against : Nature shows us everyday what we should do, it is our source of Life ; eventhough we destroy nature, it will always be stronger than us ; since more than 100 years we are fighting and destroying Nature like never before, however Nature has the strength to adapt and regenerate... Mankind ? not sure... unless we drastically act NOW !

    So here, some examples taken from nature, implemanted into permaculture :

    Biodiversity :  it is the Key to stability and sustainability , in the vegetal/ mineral/ animal worlds as well and in mankind !!!

    The edible forest : is designed like a forest with huge/ medium/ low/ trees, plants, bushes ; the specificity is that each and every plant will be either edible, or companion or providing something important to others etc. Big synergy...

    More generally, getting inspiration from the region we live, may guide us to find appropriate plants to grow, and to create our design ; That’s why it is said in permaculture that we should OBSERVE during at least ONE year the life of our place before we start anything ...

    In the Yunus Emre farm, the contrast between hot and dry summers and rainy winters makes life not easy specially if we try to impose our own way of living... Yet if we adjust to nature instead of fighting against it, then life simply flows...

    That’s the topic of « surrender »... where we abandon our lives to Nature, and let Nature guide us to create our nest without destroying the planet.... Big subject !

    --> the problem is the solution : short philosophical sentence which when applied in our lives, may bring about big changes... When suddently we get stucked somewhere... feeling like inside a knot... everything is blocked... we feel confused... we dont know what to do... our plan is sinking... aaaahahahaaahhh...

    Then two attitudes are possible :

    Either we get angry.... and it wont change anything except that we prepare our heart attack !!

    Or we smile and stay « zen ».... thinking that ...... if my plan is not working... maybe there is another plan hidden somewhere in those knots ?? So maybe if we sit a few seconds, take some breath in the breeze, look at the trees, feel the sun, ask Esmeralda (the cat).... a new plan might emerge and knots untie...

    The « problem » brought us a New Solution which we did not even think of !

                                      The « problem » enlarged our Creativity !



    Permaculture is put into practice with techniques :

    The number of techniques is... infinite... so i suggest you refer to specialised books and manual for more information...

    In the Yunus Emre farm, for the moment, the focus (regarding gardens) is to establish a proper WATER CIRCULATION allowing the collection of water during winter/ spring and watering during summer/ autumn ; hence the importance of ponds, channels, drill etc.

    The other focus and priority is of course the reconstruction ; the design of the project is basically based on permaculture as long as it is compatible with yoga :)


    Permaculture in Yunus Emre farm

    As a conclusion, i would say that permaculture looks like the perfect tool to transform our planet into a garden of peace and abundance... Yet, to my opinion, the spiritual dimension is lacking : to be able to daily experience the Ethics, a certain level of personal inner work is needed, so that the « deciding Ego » may decide without being focused on one’s own benefits, but on that of the community, of the planet, of the whole creation...

    However permaculture may also awaken this need of inner work without which the outer work will always be limited by the egos...

    That’s how both approaches will be available in the Yunus Emre farm : to live Ecology from the inner perspective with yoga and permaculture / and/ or / to live Ecology from the outer view with permaculture and yoga ... knowing that both merge into eachother, being mirror of eachother...


    About this subject, you may wish to read also the Yunus Emre farm’s philosophy ... HERE

    Om shantiiii


    Further... For those who want to go deeper and ... who understand French !

    L’éveil de la Permaculture  movie released on 19th april

    DEMAIN le film... with lots of english conversations...


    That’s all for now !!!!

    The farm’s animals, plants, stones, stars and me we wish you a beautiful Full moon of December as well as luminous Days of Light in this year’s end...

    Om shanti et ... till next year !

    Isabelle Esméralada Iris TigrouLolita Mavi & co!


    Permaculture in Yunus Emre farm