Permaculture: Definition, Principles & Purpose

In permaculture, all components of the system work together to create a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Definition of Permaculture
Definition of Permaculture / Ecolife

What is permaculture?

Permaculture, which is a shortened version of “permanent culture” but also known as “permanent agriculture,” is an intentional agricultural design and maintenance system that benefits all forms of life within the system through earth care, people care, and sharing.

Permaculture looks to stimulate diversity and resilience within natural ecosystems while providing people with the food, aesthetics, and energy they require at the same time.

As a sustainable land use design, permaculture often uses biomimicry – designs based on patterns seen in nature, to achieve the most effective result. The most important principle is that all outputs become inputs – there are no “wastes” in permaculture, just resources to be used in new ways within the system.

Principles of permaculture

Though there are several schools of thought used to train new permaculture enthusiasts, many advocates use the OBREDIM acronym to organize and convey important concepts:

  • Observation: Gain understanding of initial relationships of all parts(sometimes over the period of a year)
  • Boundaries: Taking physical and conceptual ones into consideration
  • Resources: People, plants, animals, and funding
  • Evaluation: Integrating the first three methods to prepare for the next three
  • Design: Creating a design that attempts to foresee possible future interrelationships
  • Implementation: Putting the design into action
  • Maintenance: Making minor adjustments as necessary (major adjustments should not be required) to keep the system healthy 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating the patterns and features observed in nature.

Permaculture is beneficial for many reasons. It is helpful in creating sustainable living situations, conserving natural resources and habitats, reducing reliance on chemical inputs, and providing a better quality of life for all involved.

Permaculture design principles have been applied in projects ranging from green building and garden design to rural and urban agriculture. Its principles are also commonly used in the development of forest gardens, community farms, and home gardens.