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Permaculture, where do you start?

Just ask anyone that knows me and they will surely tell you that I am constantly spelling out the virtues of permaculture. After they hear my passionate ramblings, they are often as excited as I am about the possibilities it provides and they soon realize that it’s not a matter of ‘should they get involved’, but a matter of ‘how to get involved’. I’ve been getting this ‘how do I get started’ question a lot lately, so I thought it was time to put some things in a post here so that I could point people to a single spot to branch out from. This missive will not be an intro to permaculture itself, but rather a “getting started” post with resources to use to start educating yourself and taking action.

For those of you that don’t know what permaculture is, the definition of it changes ever so slightly depending on the person you are talking to in the ever growing community, but I particularly like this one:

per·ma·cul·ture /ˈpərməˌkəlCHər/
Noun:

Permaculture is the study of the design of those sustainable or enduring systems that support human society, both agricultural & intellectual, traditional & scientific, architectural, financial & legal. It is the study of integrated systems, for the purpose of better design & application of such systems.

At it’s core, permaculture adheres to three ethics:

  • Earth care
  • People care
  • Return of surplus

There are also twelve design principles involved. You can see in the graphic below the three ethics in the middle and the twelve design principles circling them.

Permaculture Ethics & Principles

The importance of all of this cannot be stressed enough. Trust me that when I say that you will be infected by knowledge, ideas, process and action once you really start to educate yourself on all of these things. During your education, self or otherwise, you will see examples of changing landscapes at massive scale that will invigorate you to no end. You will see how simple observation and small actions can lead to major change. You will ask yourself, “Why hasn’t anyone pointed all of this out to me before?”. There will be a lot of moments where dots that were seemingly at odds, connect. There will be a lot of “lightbulb” moments happening at every page turn of a book on the subject, every click on a permaculture topic, or every video you take in.

A lot of what I will post here will be targeted at people who don’t necessarily have a lot of land to work with. In essence, small scale permaculture that you can practice nearly anywhere. There will be some posts in the future about large scale regenerative design, but for now we’ll get everyone excited about designing and creating these systems in neighborhoods and small lots. Some of these resources will be posted just to get you excited and to show you what is possible by utilizing permaculture to it’s fullest extent. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but one to get you motivated and taking action in your local community. For instance, I’ve not listed the original Permaculture: Designers Manual book by one of the founders of permaculture, Bill Mollison. As it suggests, the manual is a textbook and will be a huge resource for you in the future, but for now let’s get you motivated!

Permaculture resources to help get started

I genuinely hope that the information here moves you to action. I know that nearly everyone I introduce these concepts to becomes engulfed with them. I’m quite available for your questions and love to share information.
Do you have some resources that I should post here? Contact me, let me know and I will add it.

Open Source Ecology

I’ve written about Open Source Ecology a while back. I think it’s a super important project and I’m always keeping up with how things are progressing. They’ve recently created this video in hopes of landing a $100k prize from the Focus Forward competition. Enjoy the video and please vote if you enjoy what they are doing.

I would love to hear from you.

Get in touch with me!