Application of Permaculture

Permaculture has proven to be a successful practical approach worldwide to design sustainable land-use systems in the face of the current food, water, energy and climate crisis.

As permaculture principles are based on the principles of nature, they can be implemented under most climatic, geographical and cultural situations. Thus today,permaculture principles are being applied all around the world to create sustainable designs for human settlements and agricultural production: from large-scale commercial farms to small-scale subsistence urban gardens, from city farms managed by urban communities in American big cities to smallholder community plot in Africa.

In Southern Africa, where land degradation and recurring droughts jeopardise food security and water supply for most households, permaculture provides low- cost production enhancing techniques that help build food, water and energy self-sufficiency as well as income generation towards sustainable poverty alleviation at household and community levels. It can be implementedboth in rural and urban environments. Permaculture also offers a bridge between traditional knowledge systems and new scientific knowledge, which is essential in order to build resilience to climatic changes.

Permaculture garden in the yard of a rural family home in Southern Africa

Several organisations are now successfully promoting permaculture in Southern Africa, including:

  • Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre, which has trained thousands of smallholder farmers and development workers in permaculture systems since its establishment in 1988 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • The Chikukwa Ecological Land Use Community Trust (CELUCT), which has supported smallholder farmers in the Chikukwa community in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe in applying permaculture principles to re-forest the hill-sides, restore the natural springs and creating diverse agricultural production systems for food security.
  • The organisation SEED in South Africa, which  has been using permaculture principles to create outdoor learning spaces in schools, incorporating permaculture principles into the curriculum and establishing food gardens for demonstration.
  • The Klein Karoo Sustainable Dryland Permaculture Project (KKSDPP), also in South Africa, whose aim is to create a sustainable community in a dryland region using permaculture design and principles and  other aspects of sustainable ecological living and culture.
  • Afristar Foundation, based in Cape Town, South Africa, which utilises Permaculture design systems as the primary methodology of community development strategy,  creates ‘green’ sustainable community projects  based on permaculture principles and develops multimedia educational resources.