What is Permaculture? 

Permaculture was originally developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s; they created the term “permaculture” which is the contraction of the phrase “Permanent Culture” or “Permanent agriculture”, in 1978. Both the mentor (Mollison) and the student (Holmgren) developed concepts that can help humans to create enduring agriculture systems. Since then it has been constantly developed by a huge range of people in many different countries and it is now a worldwide phenomenon with a multitude of different strands and approaches.

  1. Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living.
  2. It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere.

By thinking carefully about the way we use our resources – food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs – it is possible to get much more out of life by using less. We can be more productive for less effort, reaping benefits for our environment and ourselves, for now and for generations to come.

Permaculture encourages us to be resourceful and self-reliant. It is not a dogma or a religion but an ecological design system which helps us to find solutions to the many problems facing us – both locally and globally.

This is the essence of permaculture – the design of an ecologically sound way of living – in our households, gardens, communities and businesses. It is created by cooperating with nature and caring for the earth and its people.


Permaculture is based on 3 Ethics and 12 Design Principles.


ethic_earth Earth Care – Rebuild natural capital. The Earth is a living, breathing entity. Without ongoing care and      nurturing there will be consequences too big to ignore.

people_care_image2 People Care – Look after self, kin and community. If people’s needs are met in compassionate and simple  ways, the environment surrounding them will prosper.

ethic_fair-share Fair Share – Set limits and redistribute surplus. We are provided with times of abundance which enables us  to share with others.


12 Design Principles:

1 1. Observe & Interact – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. By taking the time to engage with                  nature    we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.

2 2. Catch & Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”. By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

3 3. Obtain a Yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”. Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.

4 4. Apply Self Regulation & Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children unto the seventh generation”. We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.

use-and-value-renewable-resoures 5. Use & Value Renewable Resources & Services – “Let nature take its course”. Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources.

produce-no-waste 6. Produce No Waste – “A stitch in time saves nine.” “Waste not, want not.” By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

design-from-patterns-to-details 7. Design From Patterns To Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”. By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.

integrate-rather-than-segregate 8. Integrate Rather Then Segregate –  “Many hands make light work”. By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between them and they support each other.

use-small-and-slow-solutions 9. Use Small & Slow Solutions – “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” “Slow and steady wins the race.” Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.

10 10. Use & Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.

use-edges-and-value-the-marginal 11. Use Edges & Value The Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”. The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.

creatively-use-and-respond-to-change 12. Creatively Use & Respond To Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”. We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.


permaculture-ethics and principles

For more info on the Ethics & Principles click here 

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