What exactly is permaculture?

Permaculture (permanent culture) is difficult to define because it is interdisciplinary. To put it simply, the goal is to create a system of land use that allows us to persist and enrich our surroundings rather than diminish them through our use. Permaculture begins with the ethics of land care, people care, and fair share, and uses this ethic to inform the design of human habitation to achieve a sustainable culture.

Why recycle cardboard on one day and then go buy mulch at the store the next?  Why water the garden with an electric pump if we can catch free rain water from our roof? Why depend on systems of production that remove topsoil or treat workers unfairly halfway around the world when we could provide for our needs at home? Permaculture design seeks to creatively turn problems into solutions.

Permaculture Courses

Erik works with Ben at Whole Systems Design to teach Permaculture Design Courses at the WSD farm in Vermont annually.

Ben also offers a full range of landscape analysis, consultation, design, and installation for permaculture projects. Whole Systems Design has been active in  Permaculture Design for about 15 years.


Other inspiring permaculture projects and farms to check out

Sean Dembrosky is a close friend of mine, and an inspiration. He runs a permaculture nursery. His plants are grown in a system designed to regenerate and build soil, sequester carbon, catch and store water and nutrients, and provide abundant yield. He has been in operation for over a decade and never waters any of his plants. He has never even bought a plastic pot!


Mark Krawczyk is another close friend of mine who practices and teaches permaculture in Vermont. He has a lot of experience in using the keyline system to renovate pasture and crop land to maximize water infiltration and soil health. He has been involved with research done at the University of Vermont showing that they keyline system significantly increased earthworm populations.


Ethan and Dyami own and operate High Falls Farm, located in High Falls NY. They grow permaculture fruit and offer design and consultancy services.


Andrew Faust has been offering Permaculture education and services for over 20 years, and runs the center for bioregional living in Ellenville NY.