Permaculture intro + tour

logo permacultuurpermaculture flower-50%

On the thursday morning in Sieben Linden we had a talk and a walk on the topic of permaculture.

After a general introduction by Monique, we visited the garden plots of Jörg and Julia and their community. Here we could see raised beds with a lot of vegetables and herbs growing together in synergy. They also planted quite a large forest garden with a lot of varieties of fruittrees surrounded by herbs and wild weeds.

permaculture flower-50%Below here you find an overview of permaculture, permaculture ethics & principles and domains of action.


Permaculture was developed in the seventies by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren at the University of Tasmanië.


These biologists researched together the ecosystems in the forests of Tasmania and were inspired to build a sustainable system in which mankind could fullfill its basic needs for food, drinkable water, housing, energy and waste management.

Bill Mollison was inspired by and worked with Australian Aboriginals where he learned to look at nature in a new way:

  • Permaculture is a danse with nature, in which nature takes the lead.

Also Fukuoka, a Japanese expert in natural agriculture  was a source of inspiration to him (‘One straw revolution’).

In the beginning, permaculture spread specially fast in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Nowadays it has spread in many life domains and also in moderate areas.

Definition of permaculture

Permaculture is a creative design process that is based on ethics and design principles. It mimics patterns and relationships we can find in nature and it can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and economics.


By adopting the ethics and applying the principles one can make the transition from being a dependent consumer to become a responsible producer. Permaculture builds skills and resilience, both at private and at community level, that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy.

The techniques and strategies used to apply these principles vary widely depending on the location, climatic conditions and resources that are available. The methods may differ, but the foundations of the holistic approach remain constant. By learning these principles one can acquire valuable thinking tools that help to become more resilient in an era of change.

Three ethical principles

Centrally in permaculture are three ethical principles:

  • Earth Care The Earth is a living, breathing entity. Without ongoing care and nurturing there will be consequences too big to ignore.
  • People Care If people’s needs are met in compassionate and simple ways, the environment surrounding them will prosper.
  • Fair Share We are provided with times of abundance which enables us to share with others.

These principles principles are developed after researching community ethics and by learning from communities who live in close contact – and balance – with nature. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore modern progress and techniques, but in the transition to a sustainable future we need new norms and values.

Design Principles

In the beginning, the design principles where dispersed and not clearly defined. After 25 years of experience in permaculture, David Holmgren developed 12 clearly defined design principles:

  1. Principle1  Observe and interact
  2. principle2 Catch and Store Energy
  3. principle3 Obtain a Yield
  4. principle4 Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. principle5 Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
  6. principle6 Produce no Waste
  7. principle7 Design from Patterns to Details
  8. principle8 Integrate rather than Segregate
  9. principle9 Small and slow solutions
  10. principle10 Use and value diversity
  11. principle11 Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  12. principle12 Creatively Use and Adept to Change 

The Permaculture Flower

The ethics and principles are nowadays applied to seven different domains of action, required to create a sustainable culture:


  1. Land & Nature stewarding
  2. Building
  3. Tools & Technology
  4. Education & Culture
  5. Health & Spiritual Well-Being
  6. Finances & Economics
  7. Land Tenure & Community Governance

Listen to David Holmgren
talk about the permaculture flower (mp3 – 1.20MB).

More information on permaculture on



This entry was posted in 4th Meeting, Dutch Partner, Growing & Collecting on by .

About Monique Wijn

Monique is fascinated with food since a long time. She studied biology and became a vegetarian. Food was her main topic, along with environmental health and complementary medicine. She created educational materials for school children and for analphabetic mediterranean women. In the ninetees she leaded a green consumer organisation raising awareness on the ecological and social impacts of food production. She leaded campaigns on the risk of genetic engineering and radiation of food; on the impact of global transport of food; on agri-biodiversity and on oestrogenes in food. Since 12 years she is a gardener in edible wild plants and a seedsaver, after studying biodynamic agriculture, permaculture and agroforestry. She has a diet of mostly raw, vegan and wild plants. She wants to explore the relation of food and health on all four dimensions (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and the relation of food and consciousness. For her, healthy food is only truly healthy if it is at the same time healthy for plants, animals and the planet. Recently she is involved in the transition movement: how local food production and urban gardening can contribute in creating sustainable and resilient communities. website: Blog:

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