What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a design system based on ethics and principles which can be used to establish, design, manage and improve all efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a sustainable future.

[David Holmgren – co-originator of the Permaculture concept]

Permaculture brings together sustainability sciences, ethics, environmental principles and just plain common sense into one overall guide for living.

The main features of permaculture can be summarised as:

  • A system for creating sustainable human settlements by integrating design and ecology.
  • A synthesis of traditional knowledge and modern science, applicable to both urban and rural situations.
  • Taking natural systems as a model and working with nature to design sustainable environments which will provide basic human needs as well as the social and economic infrastructures which support them.
  • Encouraging us to become a conscious part of the solutions to the many problems which face us both locally and globally.

[Rosemary Morrow, Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture (1993)]

Permaculture Principles

Permaculture is a philosophy based on 12 design principles. For a good introduction to the 12 principles, take a look at David Holmgren’s website.

There are many books on permaculture, get started by reading an e-book called Essence of Permaculture, a summary of permaculture concepts and principles taken from the e-book Permaculture: Principles & Pathways – Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren.