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Permaculture is an ethics-based design system. The word, theories, philosophies, ethics, patterns, and main ideas of permaculture were developed by Bill Mollison in Australia during the 1970s.

The word permaculture is a portmanteau that was originally created from the words "permanent agriculture". It has now been expanded to include the more broad words of "permanent" and "culture".

Permaculture is a series of frameworks and tools to analyze, design, and create systems of all types. It is most widely applied to agricultural systems, although any type of system can be established using the permaculture framework.



Care for the earth

Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.

Care for the people

Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.

Return of surplus

Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics. This includes returning waste back into the system to recycle into usefulness.

According to Jack Spirko on his The Survival Podcast, some liberals and hippie types who work with permaculture have a complete misunderstanding of return of surplus as income redistribution.

Common Practices and Concepts

Permaculture is not a discipline in itself but rather a design approach based on connecting different disciplines, strategies, and techniques. It, like nature, uses and melds the best features of whatever is available to it. Some people new to this approach think of permaculture as a set of techniques. There are certain methods that are used often because they illustrate permaculture principles beautifully, such as herb spirals and keyhole beds; there are few, if any, techniques that belong only to permaculture. Permaculturists employ techniques from a broad range of disciplines, but these tools are selected and applied according to how well they allow permaculture's principles to be applied, not because a particular method is "how we do it in permaculture."


Each practitioner of permaculture develops their own principles. Some have as many as 50 while others use 12 that were established by David Holmgren.


Permaculture certification can be obtained by completing a Permaculture Design Course (PDC). See #Courses below for more info.

Renowned Designers, Practitioners, and Educators

Main Article: People of Permaculture

  • Bill Mollison - Permaculture's founder
  • Geoff Lawton - Leading modern permaculturist "All the world's problems can be solved in a garden." - Geoff Lawton, Permaculturist
  • Sepp Holzer - Independent developer of permaculture since the early 1960's
  • Jack Spirko - Bringing permaculture to the prepper community
  • Paul Wheaton - "The Duke of Permaculture", Forum founder

Appeal to Survivalists

Permaculture results in long term productive ecosystems that require minimal maintained and little to no inputs once established. Permaculture also creates abundance on marginal land often considered not viable for agricultural use. It includes everything from water catchment, alternative energy systems, alternative building, livestock management to food forestry and more. It is a system that results in a highly self sufficient lifestyle in all times not just during a crisis. Hence it has gained broad acceptance by survivalists, preppers and homesteaderss. Think about it this way: how long can you REALLY live off of your stored food, and won't you last longer if you can replenish your food supply (and maybe even feed some friends and family)? As Steven_Harris says, "it's easier to feed your neighbors than to shoot them."


Educational Materials

Main article on Permaculture Books and Materials

Many books have been written on the subject of permaculture. Permaculture: A Designers Manual by Bill Mollison is considered by many to be the definite work, whileIntroduction to Permaculture and as well as Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway are some of the most popular. A complete list of Permaculture books is available here.

Recommended Reading List for PermaEthos PDC

  1. Permaculture: A Designers Manual by Bill Mollison
  2. Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway
  3. Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers by Mark Shepard
  4. Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
  5. Edible Forest Gardens by Eric Toensmeier
  6. Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening by Sepp Holzer
  7. Permaculture: Principles and Pathways beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren

Or, CLICK HERE for the PermaEthos Amazon Store.

Permaculture Voices Conference 2014

Permaculture Voices in Temecula, California on March 13-16, 2014 – This was the first conference of its type in the world. Jack Spirko presented along with guests such as Geoff Lawton, Paul Wheaton of, Toby Hemenway, Allan Savory, Mark Shepard, Greg Judy, Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan and Dr. Elaine Ingham.

In April 2014, The Survival Podcast made videos from the conference available to members of TSP.

See Also


External Links

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