12 Guiding Principals of Permaculture

Courtesy of John D. Ivanko

The power of permaculture rests in its easy-to-understand foundations. Understanding them and our relationship to Earth’s ecology is where the work begins.

  • Take cues from nature: The goal of permaculture is to mimic a natural landscape, and to make it more productive for human needs as well.
  • Put up your own food; preserving a garden’s harvest is like capturing sunlight.
  • Grow perennials that produce food; plant an edible landscape, not a lawn.
  • Use less energy, feed the soil and harvest rainwater. On a finite planet, only renewable resources are sustainable.
  • Enable the surplus of one design element to supply the need of another: Garden scraps feed chickens, which produce manure, which makes compost to nourish the garden.
  • Strive for self-reliance and resiliency, not self-sufficiency, and engage with the community; permaculture is an integrated system.
  • Avoid big and fast solutions that can have unintended consequences; make the least change necessary and see if it works. As E.F. Schumacher famously stated: “Small is beautiful.”
  • There’s strength in diversity; value it by avoiding a monoculture of anything.
  • Remember that living on the edge can be a very productive place; not all good ideas come from the mainstream.
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