Permaculture was developed in the 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Tasmania. Permaculture is a framework for thinking about and designing environmentally sustainable farms, gardens, buildings and communities. It aims to create systems that will sustain not only for the present, but for future generations.

The word ‘permaculture’ comes originally from ‘permanent agriculture‘ and ‘permanent culture‘ – it is about living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature.

Permanence is not about everything staying the same. It is about stability, about deepening soils and cleaner water, thriving communities in self-reliant regions, biodiverse agriculture, and social justice, peace and abundance.

What is Permaculture?

“Popularly seen as a ‘cool’ form of organic gardening, permaculture could be better described as a design system for resilient living and land use based on universal ethics and ecological design principles. Although the primary focus of permaculture has been the redesign of gardening, farming, animal husbandry and forestry, the same ethics and principles apply to design of buildings, tools and technology. Applying permaculture ethics and principles in our gardens and homes inevitably leads us towards redesigning our ways of living so as to be more in tune with local surpluses and limits.

Permaculture is also a global movement of individuals, groups and networks working to create the world we want, by providing for our needs and organising our lives in harmony with nature. The movement is active in the most privileged and the most destitute communities and countries. Permaculture may be Australia’s most significant export for humanity facing a world of limits.”

from David Holmgren’s latest book RetroSuburbia

Permaculture practitioners around the world explain permaculture design:

Permaculture ethics and principles

The ethics of permaculture ensure that we are considerate and thoughtful in working with the environment, respecting all people and acting to improve the future. Permaculture’s principles encourage and challenge us to be creative, follow initiative and use our common sense.

One of the best places to learn more about permaculture, with a focus on the ethics and design principles (see below), is at

In this video, produced by The Food Forest, in 2010, David reflects on how permaculture can be used as a template for survival and abundance:

“Permaculture  is a sustainable design system stressing the harmonious interrelationship of humans, plants, animals and the Earth. The core of permaculture is design and the working relationships and connections between all things” Bill Mollison.


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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognise continuing connectios to lands, water and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders past, present and emerging.