What is Permaculture?

If you search the internet for a definition of permaculture, you will quickly realize that there are many different ways it is defined.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of permaculture is, "an agricultural system or method that seeks to integrate human activity with natural surroundings so as to create highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystems", with its origin being the contraction of "permanent and agriculture." Permaculture was originally developed by two Australian men, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s.

In his classic book, Permaculture: A Designers' Manual, Bill Mollison defines permaculture this way: "Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.

It is´╗┐ the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a 
Permaculture - Key Concept

sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order." A collection of definitions by the "elders of permaculture" can be found on permaculture.net. You can also read some key concepts of permaculture on the Permaculture Institute website.

Permaculture has evolved in some interesting ways since its inception to include much more than agriculture. Many practitioners include infrastructure, renewable energy and community planning into their designs. At its core, permaculture is "designing for sustainability". Through the design process, permaculture offers a promise for the long term thriving of human cultures. It offers a chance to create human ecosystems that live in harmony with the Earth and that create a bounty for the people.  
May 2, 2014


Marty Castriotta, of Village Roots Farm and Education, submitted an article to The Valley Green Journal, April 2014 edition titled, "Reskilling and the Art of Permaculture." Marty writes, "The history and evolution of permaculture is an interesting one. Like many movements, it is rooted in an intention to create a better world by following certain key steps and strategies. Presenting the global evidence and need for change has been essential to the educational component of the permaculture movement." You can read the entire article on the journal archive.
Anton Elbers teaches pruning while perched in an apple tree he planted more than 30 years ago. Pruning is one of the re-skilling components of Orchard Hill's permaculture course, along with blacksmithing, welding, season extension, woodlot management and chainsaw safety.
Click here to see the Permaculture Design photo gallery.