Primer on Permaculture

Permaculture – Broad Brush

  • Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environments.
  • Distilled from multiple disciplines – ecology, energy conservation, landscape design, and environmental science – these principles are inherent in any permaculture design, in any climate, and at any scale.
  • Permaculture ethics are more akin to broad moral values or codes of behavior: earth care, people care, and fair share, applied to all actions.
  • Permaculture principles provide a set of universally applicable guidelines used in designing sustainable habitats.
  1. Observe and interact: By taking the time to engage with nature, we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place.  These are often to most valuable, diverse, and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

Prepared by Tony Buck ( ( Project videos at

7/17/16 Altair EcoVillage