What is Permaculture?

The Sustainable Way

Permaculture is a design system and philosophy for living more sustainably in all areas of life and in harmony with nature. It was co-founded in the 1970s by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and stems from Permanent Culture, meaning that if humans are going to live permanently in one settlement – a home, street, suburb, community, town or city, country and ultimately on one planet – then we need to do it sustainably and in harmony with the natural order of things. We cannot rely on finite, non-renewable resources forever, while exploiting and destroying nature.

Bill Mollison defined it as, Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements. It is a philosophy and an approach to land use which weaves together microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, water management, and human needs into intricately connected, productive communities.”

More about Permaculture

Permaculture quickly spread throughout the world, becoming very popular in all circles of Earth care, agriculture, organic and other farming and gardening, community development and even philosophical and spiritual groups. This is mainly because of Permaculture’s adaptability and application in all countries’ terrains, habitats, soils, climates and social and value systems. It also undeniably works. It offers real solutions in many places where agricultural, environmental and social systems are threatened or have collapsed.

Permaculture originated from, and now embraces, many different cultures’ Earth care philosophies, values, techniques, technology, skills, knowledge, traditions and other influences that can help us achieve a balanced, sustainable lifestyle, anywhere in the world.

Permaculture Today

Today, Permaculture is one of Australia’s greatest intellectual exports. It is embraced and respected internationally, being taught in almost every country in the world as a means of effective Earth care and community empowerment – some countries as a means to survival and some countries as an interest in better farming and gardening. When studying and applying Permaculture, while soils, climates, plants and culture may vary between countries, the principles, ethics and philosophy of Permaculture always remain the same and are always taught as the core subjects of Permaculture studies anywhere in the world.

By applying Permaculture principles and ethics to the design of your site – home, garden, farm, business and/or community – you can achieve greater short and long term results. Sustainability is always first in mind – focusing on how your system can continue using renewable resources and respecting natural processes.

Understanding Permaculture is a great first step towards self-sufficiency on your own site. It will greatly aid you, whether you grow just a few herbs in pots, have a more extensive veggie garden, or you’re on a farm. Permaculture is essential education if you’re involved professionally or as a volunteer with any environmental or community groups or causes, and is must-have wisdom for all gardeners and farmers.

Some Green Wisdom from Great People

Dr David Suzuki, internationally recognized scientist and environmental activist said, “What permaculturists are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet.”

“Observe Nature thoughtfully rather than labour thoughtlessly.”Masanobu Fukuoka, author and founder of The One Straw Revolution, Japan

Robert Hart said: The only basic and comprehensive answer to the colossal harm that our present industrial system is causing to the global environment – harm that could lead to the extermination of all life on earth – is to replace it with a sustainable system – geared largely to the non-polluting, life-enhancing products of the living world.”

Graham Bell, in The Permaculture Garden, said: “Permaculture is that art of the possible.”