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Integrate Rather Than Segregate

An integrated system combines different elements to work together in a single system. If you create a system that has many different elements, such as fish, water crops, and fruit trees, production increases and the elements can help feed each other. Waste from one part of the system becomes a resource for another part. A well-designed integrated system will start looking after itself once it is established. The needs of a system are self-managing or require minimal input: e.g. chickens and ducks eat weeds and pests, eat rotten fruit and fertilise a fruit tree orchard.

Well-designed integrated systems rely on everything being multifunctional.

Integrated systems: • Help maintain the diversity of plants, animals, and fish in one system • Increase the diversity of production from one system • Use fewer resources for greater production • Help save energy and reduce waste of precious resources • Make it easier to reuse energy that is produced and stored in a system • Are more resilient and able to cope with extreme weather and climate change • Suffer less from pest and disease problems

The whole farm, including house and living areas, should be thought of as one large integrated system. If we plan in this way, we can make use of all potential resources and maximise productivity. Separate systems use more resources, more time, and are more fragile.


Human integration in cooperative ways is essential for strong, healthy cultures and society. Cooperation between people promotes: • Community involvement • Trading between members of the community • Shared and improved skills • Many benefactors rather than a few • Less or no waste • A strong and integrated knowledge base rather than fractured, incomplete information.

Cooperation is important on all levels−in the family, the village, the regions, and as a whole nation. Competition, on the other hand, creates conflict, jealousy, and anger within communities, especially if a resource is scarce. A good example is water use: usually, the end result is that a few people have a lot, while the rest receive little. Competition also leads to waste. Those few with a lot would rather see their resource wasted than share it. This helps no one. Mistrust is bred in communities because, rather than sharing, everyone competes for the same resource. A cooperative solution would benefit all, and even increase the resource base. Timor-Leste became an independent nation because its people worked together united in struggle. If each person tries to struggle on their own, they have no power, no strength. It also makes their spirit weaker. If people operate through competition, nothing is solved. Cooperation leads to strong connections together and problems can be solved. For example: if you have one stick in a woodpile, that stick can easily be broken, even by a child. However, if you bundle many sticks together, the sticks cannot be broken! Together they are strong and support each other. Cooperation also extends between humans and nature, if not, the whole system goes out of balance and disasters occur. We cannot compete with nature because we are a part of it! Nature has its own methods of cooperation that support incredible diversity, and turn all waste into resources. We need to copy that and be a part of it.


It’s a wonderful open-source practical permaculture reference guide book with 2000 beautiful illustrations and comprehensive language which enables even a beginner to understand the permaculture design, food sovereignty, and environmental regeneration strategies and techniques. The vision of this project is to make knowledge comprehensible and accessible for everyone to accelerate sustainable practices in every corner of the world. It is especially useful when working with poor, low literacy, and disadvantaged communities and schools.

This edition was developed from the Permaculture Guidebook from Timor-Leste produced in 2008 and published by Permatil (Permaculture Timor Leste-NGO). It is used by farmers, families, community groups, government departments, schools, universities, agricultural colleges, and NGOs in Timor Leste, and re-used and translated in more than 10 countries.

Please find the link below to download this book and learn more about their work on their website.

Integrate rather than Segregate: About
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