Tag Archives: Environment

What is Permaculture?

As some of you will know (since I’ve talked about it so much!) I participated in a Permaculture Design Course earlier this year and many of you have asked me “what is Permaculture?” So I thought I would do a short series to explain it. In this first post I will give you the summary given by the Permaculture Association UK. I will then try to explain a little more in subsequent posts and why I think it is so relevant to my faith.

Permaculture Explained from “Permaculture Works” by the Permaculture Association

Permaculture works with nature to make a better world for all. By observing the natural world we can see that there are a set of principles at work.

Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems to provide for our needs of food, water, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. Through permaculture design we can improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Permaculture has an ethical basis:

  • Earth care – enabling all life systems to continue and increase
  • People care – enabling access to the resources people need for a good quality of life
  • Fair share – limits to population and consumption – to share resources for Earth care and People care.

Twelve permaculture design principles allow us to creatively re-design our environment and behaviour in a world of less energy and resources. They are universal – how they are applied vary greatly from project to project:

image1. Observe and interact – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


image2. Catch and store energy – “Make hay while the sun shines


image3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach


image4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation


image5. Use and value renewable resources and services – “Let nature take its course


image6. Produce no waste – “A stitch in time saves nine“, “Waste not, want not


image7. Design from patterns to details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees


image8. Integrate rather than segregate – “Many hands make light work


image9. Use small and slow solutions – “The bigger they are, the harder they fall“, “Slow and steady wins the race


image10. Use and value diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket


image11. Use edges and value the marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well beaten path


image12. Creatively use and respond to change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be


I hope to expand on these ethics and principles in further posts but if you can’t wait talk to me or visit:

The Permaculture Association

Permaculture Principles

Permaculture, soil, soul and society

I’ve been reading around the topic of Permaculture for many years but it took until the beginning of this year when my wife showed me an an advert for me to sign up for a Permaculture Design Course, the first step towards being recognised as a Permaculture practitioner.

The Permaculture Association describes Permaculture in the following way:

Permaculture works with nature to make a better world for all. By observing the natural world we can see a set of principles at work. Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems that provide for our needs of food, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. We can use permaculture design methods to improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Permaculture is not just about growing plants to feed us, it is also about the buildings we live in, the organisational structures we set up, it is about our society and it’s relationship to the environment around us. In fact, Permaculture ethics summarise this:-

      Earth care
      People care
      Fair share
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Permaculture Ethics and Principles

I have also been a regular reader of Resurgence since re-discovering E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. Satish Kumar summarises the the philosophy of Schumacher and Resurgence with the phrase “Soil, Soul, Society”.

As I reflect on my Permaculture studies, other readings and my faith I think that these are excellent ethics for our time. If we need a new emphasis for our times it has to be life giving, life enhancing, for people and planet. Our current economics and global politics seem to be geared up to making the minority rich at the expense of the poor and “sod the planet”. Caring for our planet, caring for it’s inhabitants and sharing the abundance of natural wealth in a sustainable way seems to me to fit in so much better with my understanding of Christian faith than the “money for nothing” route that our society and current banking system seems to be pursuing.

Over the next few years I intend to investigate further how I can apply Permaculture ethics and principles to “Soil, Soul and Society”. If you want to know more or want to join me on this path do chat to me or follow my own personal blog.