Permaculture: Introduction, Videos and Reading List

Permaculture uses ecological principles and respect for the land
to design more sustainable, local, food gardens,
and more sustainable relationships to the web of life and to one another.

Introduction: Permaculture Solutions for Climate Change
By Starhawk. Republished with deep gratitude from Starhawk’s Blog

Permaculture is a system of ecological design, originated by two Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, in the ‘seventies. It’s now a worldwide movement of practitioners, researchers and teachers who look to nature as a model that can show us how to meet human needs while regenerating the environment around us. The genius of permaculture lies, not in any single technique, but in looking at how multiple techniques can be woven together into systems that are more than the sum of their parts. It offers both practical tools and an ethical framework for change. …

Permaculture offers a simple, secular framework of ethics that can guide us: ‘Care for the earth’, ‘Care for the people’, and ‘Care for the Future’, which implies the imperatives to return surpluses into the system, limit consumption and take no more than your fair share.

read more…

A Resource Book on Permaculture in Tropical Climates
A beautiful illustrated overview of  of Permaculture from Indonesia and East Timor.

Click here to download free PDF — 48MB — may take a few minutes to download.

Click here for low-cost paperback: 348 pages, only $15.00 plus shipping/postage 

The aim of this book is to offer knowledge and practical techniques for environmental rehabilitation and sustainability, strengthening community resilience and local economies. The contents of the book are based on concepts of deep ecology, the interconnectedness of our environment and culture, and the principles and ethics of sustainable community development.

Combining traditional techniques for providing natural resources, food, shelter, and energy with modern sustainable practices, the techniques outlined in this book provide integrated, practical solutions for challenges being faced by community members and farmers throughout Indonesia today.

This Resource Book for Permaculture has been developed using simple language and many detailed illustrations to ensure that the information contained is accessible to all those interested.

This book is made available by kind permissions of the IDEP Foundation.

By Lachlan McKenzie with Ego Lemos.

Click image for more info

Permaculture Reading List

Many thanks to Larry Santoyo, of Earth Flow Design Works, San Luis Obispo, California, for many items in the following permaculture reading list and for his personal book recommendations. Larry Santoyo offers intensive permaculture design courses in the Los Angeles area. (Click book images to order.)

Permaculture for Humanity: Larry Santoyo Interview

Click cover to find this book .

Urban gardeners. Native seed-saving collectives. Ecovillage developments. What is the connection between these seemingly disparate groups? The ecological design system of permaculture is the common thread that weaves them into a powerful, potentially revolutionary—or reevolutionary—movement.

Permaculture is a philosophy based on common ethics of sustainable cultures throughout history that have designed settlements according to nature’s patterns and lived within its bounds. As a movement that has been building momentum for the past 40 years, it now is taking form as a growing network of sites developed with the intention of regenerating local ecologies and economies. Permaculture strategies can be used by individuals, groups, or nations to address basic human needs such as food, water, energy, and housing. As a species, humans are being called forth to evolve, using our collective intelligence to meet the challenges of the future. Yet if we are to survive our collective planetary crisis, we need to revisit history, integrating successful systems from sustainable cultures. To boldly confront our position on the brink of the earth’s carrying capacity and make changes that incorporate the wisdom of the past is truly revolutionary.

Sustainable [R]evolution features the work of a worldwide network of visionaries, including journalists, activists, indigenous leaders and permaculturists such as David Holmgren, Vandana Shiva, Charles Eisenstein, Starhawk, Erik Assadourian, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Albert Bates, and Geoff Lawton. This beautifully photographed collection of profiles, interviews, and essays features 60 innovative community-based projects in diverse climates across the planet. Edited by anthropologist Juliana Birnbaum Fox and award-winning activist filmmaker Louis Fox, it can be read as an informal ethnography of an international culture that is modeling solutions on the cutting edge of social and environmental change. The research presented in the book frames the permaculture movement as a significant ally to marginalized groups, such as the urban poor and native communities resisting the pressures of globalization. Sustainable Revolution uplifts and inspires with its amazing array of dynamic activists and thriving, vibrant communities.
— Recommended by Dennis Rivers


The recently published anthology Hope Beneath Our Feet is an inspiring tonic for anyone wishing for a little soul nourishment in the face of our present earth changes. A variety of luminaries share their thoughts, including Larry Santoyo, who advises us that “if we choose our actions based upon what we love about the present, we then have a solid foundation upon which to build our coming lives.”

permaculture-designers-manual-cover-pic The Designer’s Manual by our long time mentor Bill Mollision, is THE permaculture book of books to have… once reviewed by Whole Earth, saying “If information had density… this book would be a black hole!…” Hard to get, but worth the price at any cost.
— Larry Santoyo

New copies best ordered directly from publisher:  Tagari Publications

intro-to-permaculture-cover-pic2Permaculture is the science and art of designing a permanent and sustainable agriculture. This book outlines permaculture planning and design methods, garden layouts, greenhouse and fencing strategies, integrating livestock and aquaculture with crops, land access, community funding systems and more.
“We have a soft spot in our heart for Mollison’s soft cover Introduction to Permaculture.”
— Larry Santoyo

Postage-saving suggestions: In Australia buy from Tagari Publications

gaias-garden-cover-picGaia’s Garden is written by our good friend [the late] Toby Hemenway, [who was] one of EarthFlow’s senior instructors and designers. If you read this book, you’ll know why. Newly published second edition, with expanded information and new color photos.”
— Larry Santoyo

Publisher’s Book Description: The first edition of Gaia’s Garden sparked the imagination of America’s home gardeners, introducing permaculture’s central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening—which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants—can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:

  • Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure
  • Catching and conserving water in the landscape
  • Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
  • Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods

This revised and updated edition also features a new chapter on urban permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful. Best of all, once it’s established, an ecological garden will reduce or eliminate most of the backbreaking work that’s needed to maintain the typical lawn and garden.



A forest garden with 500 edible plants could lead to a sustainable future.
Video from National Geographic.

Instead of neat rows of monoculture, forest gardens combine fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables together in one seemingly wild setting. This type of agroforestry mimics natural ecosystems and uses the space available in a sustainable way. UK-based Martin Crawford is one of the pioneers of forest gardening. Starting out with a flat field in 1994, his land has been transformed into a woodland and serves as an educational resource for others interested in forest gardening. This short film by Thomas Regnault focuses on Crawford’s forest garden, which is abundant, diverse, edible, and might be one answer to the future of food systems.





Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, Bill Mollison

Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Mollison

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture, Toby Hemenway

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, David Holmgren

The Earth Care Manual, Patrick Whitefield

Plants for a Future, Ken Fern

Edible Forest Gardens Vol. 1 & 2, David Jacke with Erik Toensmeier

The Earth Path, Starhawk

Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough

The Woodland Way, Ben Law

Ferment and Human Nutrition, Bill Mollison

The Final Empire: The Collapse of Civilization and Seeds of the Future, William Kotke. Link to Book

From Eco-Cities to Living Machines, John and Nancy Jack Todd

Design With Nature, Ian L. McHarg

The Permaculture Garden, Graham Bell

Ecological DesignStuart Cowan and Sim Van der Ryn

Earth Manual: How to Work the Land Without Taming It, Malcolm Margolin

The Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture, Rosemary Morrow

Biomimicry, Janine Benyus




Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden, Lee Reich

The One Straw Revolution, Masanoba Fukuoka

A Natural Way of Farming, Masanoba Fukuoka

The Road Back to Nature, Masanoba Fukuoka

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, J. Russell Smith Link to book

Seed to Seed, Suzanne Ashworth

Culture and Horticulture: A Philosophy of Gardening, Wolf. D. Storl

Agriculture, Rudolf Steiner

Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden, as told to Gilbert Wilson

Landscape Ecology, Richard T. Forman and Michael Gordon

Tending the Wild, Cat Anderson

The Humanure Handbook, Joe Jenkins




Solar Living Source Book, Edited by John Schaeffer

Homepower Magazine


More Permaculture videos to be added…