In the interview Viktória Popovics talks about the exhibition Slow Life. A Radical Practices of the Everyday (Hungarian only)
Permaculture sees all elements of agriculture – flora and fauna, geographic, topographic and hydrographic features, including man and his built environment – as a unified ecological system. It is based on the natural symbiosis between man and his environment, its close and harmonic cooperation. The expression is derived from the contraction of the English phrase “permanent agriculture”. The theoretical basis of permaculture was laid down by two Australian scientists, biologist Bill Mollison and ecologist David Holmgren in the 1970s, and the movement has gained increasing popularity ever since. It aims at decreasing the exploitation of nature, and the energy need and the environmental damaging effects of providing for human needs, while enhancing the creation of a more sustainable ecosystem.
The everydays of a permacultural garden are characterised by rainwater harvesting, composting, the full use of plant waste, chemical-free crop production and the use of renewable energy sources. As opposed to monocultural cultivation, permaculture focuses on supporting a slow or minimal intervention approach, thinking in small-scale systems, and the diversity of species.
Slow food, the international movement that started in Italy in the late 1980’s, may be recognised as the starting point of all slow movements. It was a civilian initiative that aimed at preserving and protecting traditional and regional cuisine, local diversity, and also rehabilitating eating together as an important social experience – as opposed to consuming fast food. Slow food appears on multiple levels: from small farming communities and products made of locally produced goods to relaxed meals enjoying the smell, texture and taste of food in good company. Eating locally produced goods benefits both the environment and our health, since product does not need to be chemically processed to survive lengthy transport times that cause pollution. As a basic rule, the further the food comes from, the more health and environment damaging the process it went through is. This needs to be remembered when looking at trendy, proclaimed “superfoods” that arrive from distant countries, and are produced causing tremendous environmental damage due to increased market needs. The slow food movement has now grown into a global network, focusing on preserving local gastro-cultural values and supporting local producers and tourism.
Self-sustainability is a state of being in which the basic needs of an individual or a family can be fulfilled based on their own sources, without outer help. Self-sustaining entities make themselves independent of money, global economy and employers. This idea has emerged repeatedly in the modern history of mankind – see David Thoreau’s Walden – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1854), which gives insight into withdrawal into nature from the maiming impact of civil society. In addition, numerous other examples could be mentioned where individuals or complete communities withdrew from industrialised society to reach self-sufficiency by producing all raw materials and products for themselves and their families using traditional methods. Withdrawal does not only mean independence but also progression – through building a harmonious relationship with nature, one can also develop spiritually. Traditional methods of producing do not exploit nature the way industrial agriculture and livestock farming do. Self-sustainability can also be realised in an urban environment: by baking our own bread, by using chemical free sanitary and cleaning products, by drying, preserving or pickling fruits and vegetables, or by sewing our own clothes.