What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a design discipline for productive systems such as gardens, farms, homesteads, and urban sites utilizing ecological principles found in natural systems. These ecological principles combined with a design method help to create sustainable, healthy abundant landscapes while meeting basic human needs. 

The permaculture movement includes organizations all over the world offering demonstration sites, trainings, and technical assistance. Where people have access to land and little else, permaculture’s ideas have spread rapidly. In more affluent parts of the world, permaculture has become a cutting edge design alternative to extractive, industrial systems that erode the wealth of our communities and natural resources.

In the 1970s Bill Mollison and David Holmgren created the foundations of Permaculture in Australia. They recognized the inefficient and destructive properties of modern human civilization and based a design of sustainable systems off the diverse and successful systems nature has created. The result was a new methodology of design based on a framework of ethics and principles. This framework is rooted in the commitment of individuals and communities to take responsibility for their existence and thus our impact on the earth.

Permaculture is not gardening techniques or a list of proper building materials for a house. Rather, it is a systems thinking approach that often includes garden and home design. The permaculture approach rests upon planning and connecting specific elements in a sustainable society; natural building, small-scale agriculture, non-violent communication, right livelihood, and the use of appropriate technology are a few examples of methods used by permaculture practitioners. These elements could be seen as pieces of a whole while permaculture designers attempt to examine and mindfully create the “whole picture” whether in a backyard, forest, or community.

Permaculture in the Finger Lakes Region of New York
Workshops, skill-shares, seminars, potlucks, email lists, websites, book clubs, parties, conferences, planning, practice and praxis are all found in the Finger Lakes area permaculture scene. FLXpermaculture.Netis a great resource for permaculture practitioners and students to connect through.

In upstate New York, permaculture activists and their activities are found on UpstateNYpermaculture.Net.  Regionally, permaculture resources are found at the Northeastern Permaculture Network. The Permaculture Activistmagazine and website is a good portal into the North American and international scenarios.

Finger Lakes Permaculture Network