I was recently asked in light conversation, that simple question, “So what is Permaculture anyway?” I realised it is an intricate answer, needing careful thought, and not one I was equipped for in “light” conversation, and certainly not a question which is very often answered satisfactorily in one sentence.
Originally in the 1970’s the co-founders, Aussies Bill Mollison and David Holmgren described it as an;
“Integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to humans.”
A more current definition of permaculture, from David Holmgren, reflecting the expansion of focus is;
“Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs.” David adds . . .“People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture; thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture.”
David Holmgren says more precisely. Permaculture can be seen as the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for implementing the above vision. It draws together the diverse ideas, skills and ways of living which need to be re-discovered and developed in order to empower us to provide for our needs, while increasing the natural capital for future generations.
In this more limited but important sense, permaculture is not the landscape, or even the skills of organic gardening, sustainable farming, energy efficient building or eco-village development as such, but it can be used to design, establish, manage and improve these and all other efforts made by individuals, households and communities toward a sustainable future.
For more info & details we highly recommend you follow this link to a full and accurate explanation in the free download booklet in a .PDF Essence of Permaculture by Co Founder David Holmgren. http://holmgren.com.au/downloads/Essence_of_Pc_EN.pdf