What is Permaculture? Permaculture Design, Ethics, and Principles

Definition of Permaculture

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human settlements. The goal is to develop systems that meet their own needs, do not exploit or pollute their environment, and are therefore sustainable in the long term, ecologically sound, and economically viable.

The basic philosophy of permaculture should be an approach based on “working with nature, not against nature, a long-term-thoughtful observation instead of a short-term-thoughtless labor, evaluating all the functions of plants and animals together instead of seeing the elements as a single-product system”.

The concept of permaculture is formed by combining the words “permanent” (permanent) and “agriculture” (agriculture) in English, and the words “perm” (to plow, to continue) and “culture” (agriculture) in Latin.


Permaculture is a system design based on the harmony of humans and nature, observing and imitating nature, applying minimal interference to nature, and meeting its own needs.

Three Basic Ethical Rules of Permaculture Design

An ethical understanding consisting of three parts is adopted in permaculture:

  1. Taking care of the world,
  2. Taking care of people
  3. Fair Sharing

Taking Care of The World

Taking care of the world means taking care of all living and non-living beings on the earth. Observing the world will only be possible with the wise management of resources. Various ways are mentioned to apply the ethics of caring for the world. These:

  • Considering the long-term consequences of actions.
  • Use of local or natural species in the field as much as possible
  • Trying to construct concentrated systems by processing the smallest possible piece of land.
  • Making multi-faceted and polycultural applications (where different products are grown together).
  • Use of renewable energy sources.
  • Restarting food farming in cities.
  • Recycle waste as much as possible.
  • Carrying out studies (afforestation, etc.) to add productivity to the soil.

Caring for People

Man has a decisive role in the state and course of the world with his activities. Taking care of people includes acting in harmony with nature while providing for human needs and development.

Fair Sharing

This code of ethics includes the equitable distribution of resources among all people and the prevention of waste. Determining the consumption limits is the determination of the strategies necessary for the realization of “care for the world” and “care for people”, which are essentially other ethical rules.

Principles of Permaculture

Permaculture principles:

  1. Observe and Interact,
  2. Relative Placement,
  3. Each Item Has Multiple Functions,
  4. All Important Functions Should Be Supported by Multiple Elements,
  5. Capture and Conserve Energy,
  6. Get Useful Output,
  7. Manage Yourself and Be Open to Feedback,
  8. Use Renewable Resources and Services and Know Their Values,
  9. Do Not Produce Waste,
  10. Design From Patterns to Details,
  11. Integrate rather than Segregate,
  12. Build Small-Scale Dense Systems and Benefit from Slow Solutions,
  13. Benefit and Value Diversity,
  14. Use the Edges and Value the Marginal,
  15. Leverage and Respond to Change Creatively

The ethical rules and principles to be used in the design created for the application areas of permaculture are as follows: technology and tools suitable for nature, not advanced technology, culture and education, health and spiritual welfare, finance and economy, land tenure and society, land and nature management, built environment. It is based on seven main themes. A spiral structure, such as a spider web, is created that will show both the relationship of these principles with each other and the relationship with other sub-topics.

Permaculture Projects

Permaculture projects consist of many ecovillages and farms separated by service type and purpose. In addition to various activities, permaculture design courses are given and permaculture systems are applied in these ecovillages and farms.

There are 2485 permaculture projects in the world (permacultureglobal.org, 2018). Some examples of permaculture projects in the world are given in the table below, which is organized according to the information on the websites of the relevant institutions.

Permaculture FarmsFinca TierraCapeTrib ExoticWhitwood Permaculture FarmD Acres New Hampshire Permaculture Fram
Location, DateCosta Rica, 2010Australia, 1988Australia, 2016The United States, 1997
Project TypeRural, Commercial, Demonstration, EducationRural, CommercialRural, Residential, CommercialCountryside, Demonstration, Education
ContentIt offers an alternative holiday opportunity by combining permaculture principles with an educational farm.Permaculture farm with more than 100 fruitsPermaculture and renewable agriculture education, courses, and workshopsA training center that practices and researches sustainable living and organic, farm-oriented techniques
Events and ServicesDaily tours, permaculture design courseTropical fruit tasting and farm tourCreating and experimenting with permaculture designsFarm breakfast, permaculture course, and trekking
Tourism Activities and Accommodation FacilitiesPossibility of accommodation in shelter areas and bamboo housesBed and breakfast, accommodationOpen to accommodation and accepting volunteersPossibility of accommodation in campsites and rooms

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