Permaculture


Permaculture is a whole-systems method of design that organizes strategies and techniques from agriculture, appropriate technology, natural building, economics, and other disciplines into patterns of mutually supportive relationships. By using principles from nature to thoughtfully integrate land, water, plants, people, animals, shelter, technologies, and community, Permaculture lets us design sustainable places to live.

Permaculture as a design system is based on three core ethics: Care for the Earth, Care for People, and Reinvest and Redistribute Surplus. It differs from landscape architecture and ecological design in that every decision is weighed with these ethics in mind.  Permaculture’s all encompassing approach to whole systems design also sets it apart from other design systems. We are not just designing for aesthetics or function, but to meet the needs of the client, and of our ultimate client, Gaia, or the earth itself. Therefore each Permaculture design is unique, and tailored to the characteristics of the site and the types of outcomes that the land steward desires.

Permaculture Design relies on the teachings of indigenous wisdom from around the globe as well as the best practices and technologies of our modern era, highlighting the elements of sustainable culture practiced for thousands of years by diverse peoples. However, Permaculture is not a system designed to highlight one technique over another. The choice of techniques and arrangement of elements on a site is informed by the qualities of the site and circumstance. All factors from soil type to the belief systems of the people involved will influence the outcome of a design.

As a design practice, Permaculture seeks to build resilience into systems by way of introducing rich sets of mutualistic relationships, such as those found in natural systems. Permaculture designers seek to create stable, diverse, and resilient systems that meet the needs of the humans, as well as all of the other creatures, that live within its sphere of influence. For example, by paying close attention to the connections between elements such as homes, gardens, waterways, and wildlife corridors, we can design a human settlement that enhances wildlife habitat while meeting and enhancing the basic human needs of shelter, water, and sustenance. Permaculture design teaches us that the placement and design of a pond in relation to other elements in a system to make best use of its light reflection, temperature moderating effects, irrigation potential, and myriad other purposes is more important than the individual pond alone. In this way, we can begin to imagine a world that is filled not with isolated single elements that have no effect on each other, but one where every element is nested within and connected to a larger system.

The way we weave the fabric of relationships in our yard, business, forest, or neighborhood is intrinsically connected to the ecology of these landscapes. In the design and implementation of our current life support systems, it can seem as though the things we need for our daily lives are disconnected from the landscapes that surround us. Food comes from the store, water from the tap, sewage goes down the drain, etc. But, as we all well know, it is not as simple as this, and by taking an active role in understanding and seeking to become more accountable for these needs, we are participating in the creation of tangible relationships between ourselves and the places that we make our lives.

Permaculture design is also an inherently positive system. In Permaculture, the problem is the solution, and even the most intractable challenges have the seed of opportunity buried within them, if we can only imagine it. The motto that Bill Mollison, co-originator of the Permaculture concept, chose to sum up the Permaculture paradigm is Ingenio patet campus, Latin for “The field lies open to the intellect.” These days, with mounting ecological crises, climate change, rising levels of environmental toxins, and a host of social problems, there are so many places and venues in need of the whole-systems, positive approach to seeking opportunities in the midst of problems that Permaculture offers. Permaculture designers see fertile ground for change, innovation, and productivity wherever they go, leaving a trail of abundance and opportunity in their wake.

Permaculture is about reimagining the world that we would like to see, and more importantly, putting it into action in multiple ways and on multiple scales in our daily lives. From composting to aquaponics, forest gardens and greywater, to consensus and community-owned banks, Permaculture design is a system that can create the just, verdant, and resilient world that we all hope for.

© Copyright Resilience Permaculture - Designed by Pexeto