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Key Concepts

Permaculture Defined

Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how to design natural homes and abundant food production systems and food forests, how to incorporate backyard animals, how to build biodiversity to protect wildlife, regenerate degraded landscapes and ecosystems, harvest rainwater, develop ethical economies and communities, and much more. As an ecological design system, permaculture focuses on the interconnections between things more than individual parts.

Permaculture relies on the following principles (we list just a short selection here, few out of many):

- use of biological resources before reverting to technological solutions (work with beneficial insects to keep you garden clean/ create energy-efficient buildings instead of relying on technological methods of solving design short-comings/ ask yourself “How would Nature fix this issue” );

- Everything Gardens (roofs shed water, fences act as windbreaks, birds spread seeds, woodlots create their own microclimate – everything on the landscape alters it. In permaculture we see it as an opportunity for increasing sustainability of the design, by directing and harnessing these natural actions);

- Concentrate Resources (time, money, knowledge, soil fertility – these are all examples of many resources that are needed for sustainability. Focused effort, productive garden, nourished soul, peaceful community are possible when resources are not spread too thin, when no waste is allowed, and when a complex web of sharing and revitalization is established);

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Click on images to see illustration to some of the permaculture approaches. Images are inspired by Graham Burnett’s “Spiral Seed Permaculture”

Below are links to supplemental articles on this topic. Please keep in mind that all articles reflect the values of the authors and illustrators, as well as the time periods in which they were written.

Forests in Permaculture by Bill Mollison

Designing for Permaculture by Bill Mollison

Permaculture A Way of Seeing by Joel Glanzberg

Permaculture Design and Sequence by Tim Murphy

Permaculture Techniques by Bill Mollison

Permaculture on Islands by Bill Mollison

Permaculture in Humid Landscapes by Bill Mollison

Permaculture in Arid Landscapes by Bill Mollison