What Is Permaculture?

I thought it would be useful, as an organisation which has permaculture at its core, to give a basic definition of permaculture. However, I was stopped short, while there are some great definitions of permaculture out there already, one thing that runs as a theme is that there isn’t really one, singular definition of ‘permaculture’.

At conception, permaculture was a contraction of ‘permanent agriculture’ referring to a sustainable system of crop growth taking into account inter-related internal and external factors for combined tree crop growth. But since then, permaculture has taken on a broader meaning; as a philosophy which can be applied in all situations – the idea is of considering wider inter-related factors with a focus on sustainability. This, very broad, philosophy can be interpreted and applied in many ways; the Permaculture association says:

“Permaculture combines three key aspects:

1. An ethical framework

2. Understandings of how nature works

3. A design approach”

And Permaculture Magazine describes permaculture as:

“1. Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living.

2.It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere.”

To bring this to TreeThinker’s application of permaculture and to put it succinctly, it is possible to define permaculture as the implementation of agricultural techniques and design processes which work with nature to be sustainable, not only in terms of local food growth but also in terms of the wider ecosystem.

Written by TreeThinker

Passionate about the Earth and those who inhabit it. An engineer (BEng (Hons), MSEE) from Oxfordshire, UK, specialising in designing for a sustainable future. A member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and a keen environmental advocate who volunteers for several grass roots sustainability groups. I work full time as a project manager for a renewable energy company based in Oxford and also run ‘TreeThinker’ (www.treethinker.org); converting previous pasture land into a rich permaculture farm growing produce for sale locally. I deliver workshops on sustainable living, including building renewable energy technologies, as well as workshops for schools discussing 'Energy as a resource' amongst other topics. I am qualified in ‘Information, advice and guidance’ (level 4) and experienced at teaching practical skills. I'm also a keen cyclist and have a love of wordplay - writing a blog on etymology (www.etymologyotd.com).