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Our good friend and collaborator Mollie Caitlin Brigid offers this:

“Simply, permaculture is an ethical design system with a set of principles and concepts that guide design and promote whole systems thinking.  This ethical, principled system can be used to design anything:  social living spaces, business models, economic models, educational curriculum.  It is most commonly used to design and think about ecological systems, gardens, farms and landscapes.

Permaculture is most often associated with gardening, farming and homesteading because when the term was coined in the seventies by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, their focus was on how to apply systems thinking to ecological systems to create a “permanent culture” around food and community.  Our understanding of permaculture is always changing, and truly, as a brainchild of systems thinking, we can use permaculture’s ethics and principles to design any aspect of our lives we choose to see as a whole.

There are three ethics to live by in permaculture.  They are:  Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share.  The principles may vary depending on your teacher or which authors you read.  I generally follow David Holmgren’s 12 permaculture principles, and add’s Ben Weiss’ 13th:  Design With Beauty in Mind.  Some of Holmgren’s principles are:  Observe and Interact, Catch and Store Energy, Apply Self Regulation/Accept Feedback and Use and Value Diversity.

There are many different definitions of “permaculture” and this is because it is not a system with a static, set in stone definition of what it always will be.  It is adaptive. It is changing.  It depends on its environment.”

- Mollie Caitlin Brigid


Food for thought:   “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.” Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara, Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, also known as the ‘Bishop of Corum’