What is Permaculture?

  • To explain, clarify and define:

Permaculture is about using nature as a model for designing systems that make people and nature feel good, both now and in the future. Designing from a permaculture perspective is systemized thinking, – starting from the conditions of that specific place to build locally adapted alternatives for food production, housing, water and energy supply, community structures and business opportunities.

Permaculture is based on three ethical principles:

  1. Caring for the earth. Understanding that we are part of the earth and that we must respect and act accordingly.
  2. Caring for people. To support and help each other to build healthy individuals and communities where all people have opportunities to live good lives and prosper.
  3. Fair distribution. That the world’s limited resources are used wisely and fairly and that the surplus is reinvested in the care of land and people.


Permaculture started in Australia as early as the 1980s, but has increased rapidly in recent years and taken root all over the world. The word stands for ‘permanent agriculture’ and arose as a reaction to the ecological problems that come with unsustainable agricultural methods that dominate the world’s food production even today, such as soil erosion, leaching and loss of biodiversity. Today, permaculture is so much more. It is a living concept and methods that are constantly evolving and include many different areas. The concept includes both science and philosophy and offers a solution-oriented and creative approach to the world’s challenges.

In the design process itself, a number of guiding design principles are used in order to create truly sustainable systems (see Permaculture homepage for more details). Permaculture is used today at UN-level as a tool for sustainable development and one of the founders of permaculture, Bill Mollison, received the Right Livelihood Award in 1981 for his work. Permaculture has also received attention at EU level, and the European Commission, in its proposal for an EU strategy and EU biodiversity goal after 2010, says that permaculture must be highlighted “as an effective protection and restorer of biodiversity”. Permaculture is an excellent tool for working in a structured and long-term way with sustainable rural development.

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