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The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens.

Bill Mollison


Where does permaculture come from?

Permaculture is derived from permanent agriculture and permanent culture. It is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

What is permaculture?

It is a natural design science, mimicking the patterns of nature to help with regeneration of landscapes and communities. We can do this in the form of creating edible gardens or forests or help organisations and schools to co-operate more effectively.

Who introduced it?

Two Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren founded permaculture in the 1970s. After several years travelling and studying indigenous cultures, Bill saw a natural co-operation between these people and nature. They lived in harmony with each other and the natural world. Bill coined the three ethics.

Later, David, one of Bill’s students, added twelve well known principles to help deliver permaculture.

Permaculture has three ethics and twelve main principles. Here are some examples of the ethics.

Permaculture has three ethics and twelve main principles. Here are some examples of the ethics.


–        Earth Care

Take public transport or ride a bike to work or school. Don’t use chemicals in your garden. Follow the 5 Rs – refuse, reduce, repair, reuse, recycle. Plant perennials instead of or as well as annuals, they use less soil fertility.



–        People Care

Take care of your neighbours. Listen and interact with others. Integrate others into your daily life and accept those that marginalized. Play with children. Take care of your well being.


–        Limits Aware

By becoming producers, rather than consuming the earth’s finite resources, we can enure that there will be enough of everything to go round for future generations. It also ensures that those who we a care about will have the opportunity to have a healthy and abundant life.

  1. Observe and interact

  2. Catch and store energy

  3. Obtain a yield

  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback

  5. Use and value renewable resources and services

  6. Produce no waste

  7. Design from patterns to details

  8. Integrate rather than segregate

  9. Use small and slow solutions

  10. Use and value diversity

  11. Use and value edges and the marginal

  12. Creatively use and respond to change


Both the ethics and principles can all be used in land based situations or people based ones.

“We have not inherited the Earth from our parents. We have borrowed it from our children.”

Indigenous American quote

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