Permaculture is a thinking system. How can we create permanently regenerative culture? And also, permanently regenerative agriculture? In ways that sustain our communities, without screwing the planet?

The answers lie, as always, in taking our cues from natural systems and indigenous knowledge. In all kinds of ways. We all have a lot to learn.⁠

We need to become holistic thinkers when we plan and design our actions – on every scale.

Permaculture is ecological systems theory. Permaculture is also a goal, an intention and an outlook. A way of approaching things.

We all aspire to live in a state that offers everyday comfort, good things to eat, beautiful surroundings, well-designed infrastructure, meaningful livelihoods and a future for our families. Preferably not at the expense of others, and definitely in a way that doesn’t damage our planet.

Here’s Nick, explaining ‘what is permaculture’

The 12 permaculture principles

David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept (alongside the late and great Bill Mollison), has created 12 permaculture principles to help everyone with this mindset shift of holistic thinking and action.

The 12 permaculture principles are simple yet powerful thinking tools that you can use when you’re designing anything at all – a garden, or a home, or your dream job – or indeed, even your accountancy practice or your community organisation.

These principles ask us – what do we need to consider, when creating regenerative systems? What must we not forget?

This is where the 12 permaculture principles can help. You don’t need to use all 12 principles at once. Some will apply more strongly than others, at times, depending on your context, and what you’re designing or planning.

Permaculture Principle 1

Principle 1: Observe and Interact

By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.

Permaculture Principle 2

Principle 2: Catch and Store Energy

By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

Permaculture Principle 3

Principle 3: Obtain a Yield

Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.

Permaculture Principle 4

Principle 4: Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback

We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.

Permaculture Princple 5

Principle 5: Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services

Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources.

Permaculture Principle 6

Principle 6: Produce No Waste

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

Permaculture Principle 7

Principle 7: Design From Patterns To Details

By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.

Permaculture Principle 8

Principle 8: Integrate Rather Than Segregate

By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between them and they support each other.

Permaculture Principle 9

Principle 9: Use Small and Slow Solutions

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.

Permaculture Principle 10

Principle 10: Use and Value Diversity

Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.

Permaculture Principle 11

Principle 11: Use Edges and Value the Marginal

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.

Permaculture Principle 12

Principle 12: Creatively Use and Respond to Change

We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

You can learn more about each permaculture principle over at this fab website – Permaculture Principles.

Ready to learn more? Browse our many permaculture articles.