Fair Share Ethic

Permaculture Fair Share Ethic

Set Limits and Redistribute Surplus


We are provided with times of abundance which enables us to share with others.

– David Holmgren

The third Permaculture Ethic of Fair Share focusses on creating and distributing life-giving resources fairly amongst every living creature on our earth including people, animals and plants.   It also has a future focus since future generations will depend upon our conscious stewardship of the natural systems of our earth to provide ongoing, sustainable food, water and shelter.

The existing growth in human consumption and the accelerating mass extinction of species makes it very clear that our current choices and paradigms are not sustainable.

So, in times of abundance, we are encouraged to regulate our own consumption and share our bounty with others.  For example, our garden fruit trees are likely to produce a glut that is more than one person or family can eat.  Of course we can preserve the harvest to use at other times of the year, but there are limits to how much fruit we can personally use. It’s therefore important to think about the many ways that we benefit from reducing waste, recycling resources within our own systems, and giving a Fair Share of the harvest to others in our community.

It’s surprising how easily our actions can be a positive example and influence to others.  This is likely to ripple out into our communities encouraging reciprocal Fair Share that enhances the growth and wellbeing of us all.

The icon of the pie and a slice of it represents the taking of what we need and sharing what we don’t whilst recognising that there are limits to how much we can give and how much we can take. Image from www.permacultureprinciples.com

Short Video

Here’s another great video from Happen Films that highlights one Food is Free Project, an effective way to focus on the Fair Share ethic.
The Food is Free Project is a community-building and food-growing initiative that began in 2012 in the USA and has extended to many communities all over the world since then. This film is about the Food is Free Laneway started by Lou Ridsdale in Ballarat.
People leave surplus food, seedlings, plants and even food scraps for composting on permanent tables set up in a laneway alongside Lou’s rented home, and anyone is free to take what they need. 
The initiative is not just about promoting the idea that everyone should have access to good food, but about drawing together communities to help each other to live and eat well.

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