What is Permaculture?

Originally, the word ‘permaculture’ is the contraction of ‘permanent agriculture’.

Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the permaculture concept together with David Holmgren, defines permaculture as “the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.” It is a concept that seeks “the harmonious integration of landscape, people & appropriate technologies, providing food, shelter, energy and other needs in a sustainable way”. Thus, permaculture is “a philosophy and an approach to land use which works with natural rhythms and patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, water and soil management, and human needs into intricately connected and productive communities”.

Thus, permaculture is about establishing self-sustaining productive agricultural ecosystems that mimic and works with, and not against, nature in order to remain abundant and provide people with their food and other basic needs while replenishing and nourishing the natural resources base for as long as possible.

natural system

Much of a permaculture design is therefore drawn from how local natural systems work, incorporating a diversity of species and interrelations between species in the agricultural ecosystem so that it continuously keeps evolving as it occurs in nature. When correctly designed, such a system will, like a natural ecosystem, become increasingly diverse and self-sustaining.

Another key aspect of permaculture designs is to make the most of the resources at disposal by minimizing waste and maximising potential. Any output can be used or recycled; any problem has its solution in the system.

The end result is to establish an agricultural ecosystem that is ecologically sound, economically profitable and socially caring, for now and the future.