Permaculture is an ethical design approach rooted in observation of ecological processes. These processes act as a framework for creating regenerative systems for human material and non-material needs, including food, shelter, and energy, as well as economic, legal and social structures. Permaculture’s hallmark is the beneficial integration of internal and external elements within a given space for optimal function, production and beauty. Systems designed using the permaculture approach mimic nature in order to minimize waste, maximize efficiencies, and produce abundant yields. Permaculture itself is not a discipline, but rather a design approach based on connecting different disciplines, strategies, and techniques.
Since permaculture is still largely based on the research of its co-creators, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, their writings are a primary source of introductory material on the topic and its practice. Today, permaculture is practiced worldwide and is based on Mollison and Holmgren’s set of three permaculture ethics and twelve design principles. Permaculture ethics serve as the basis for decision- making when developing a given system while design principles serve as the framework for implementation and management.
Systems designed using permaculture can incorporate agricultural practices in addition to elements of a wide range of other disciplines, including landscape design, architecture, community development, energy production and storage, land management, and economic and legal structures.
This ethical design approach challenges long held paradigms by holding up regenerative processes, production of a surplus, and care of people and the environment as objectives that are NOT mutually exclusive but instead, core tenets of good design. Permaculture can aid in our quest towards a viable, healthy, abundant future based on ecological processes and renewable resources.