Sunday, October 24, 2010


The October Permaculture Design Course Participants

Adventure Farm Spring 2010

Well it’s been too long since I’ve posted, but that doesn’t mean a lot hasn’t been going on. In fact, it seems I've been so busy it's been hard to find a moment to write. 

For instance earlier this month I found myself in Steele, IL at a Permaculture Design course. It was an intense 8 days of learning, and I left with my head full of ideas.

For those of you who don’t know what Permaculture is I will try and explain. I’m actually in the process of developing my “elevator” speech on Permaculture so this will be good practice.

“Permaculture” was coined by two Australians, Bill Mollison and one of his students, David Holmgren. Originally the word was a contraction of  “permanent agriculture” however, as the permaculture practice evolved so did the meaning of the word, which is now mostly understood to mean “permanent culture.”

Most of us practice parts of permaculture already in our gardens and with the choices we make in our lives.  For instance, if you are composting; growing some of your own food; buying food at the farmer’s market;  supporting local businesses; walking or biking to work; or foraging for food, you are involved in a piece of permaculture. When you consciously start to pull these pieces together and design your life around the principles of permaculture, you are practicing permaculture.

You can see how this might work by looking at the Ethics of permaculture

1) Care of the Earth
2)  Care of people 
3)  Fair distribution of surplus

There are also principles of permaculture, which I won’t go into here, that help to guide the process.

Permaculture includes all areas of our lives from the food we eat to the community in which we live.  For me, taking a permaculture design course helped to begin to pull together the pieces that I already practice in my life and to build on this foundation to live more responsibly and consciously.

So, that is my first shot at an elevator speech for permaculture. I think this one is probably for the ride up to the top of the Arch here in STL.  I’ll keep working on trimming it down and making it clearer.  It's a complex idea and still hard for me to articulate very clearly. 

I am hoping to start a St. Louis permaculture group this winter with a friend from Chicago I met at the course who would like to do the same thing in Chicago.  This fall we will be helping each other develop workshops to begin to bring other interested people in the St. Louis and Chicago areas together as a support network.

Stayed tuned for updates on the first “Introduction to Permaculture” workshop coming soon.



If you are interested in learning more about permaculture, here are a few websites to check out.

Midwest Permaculture  (Where I took my course)

The Permaculture Project

The Permaculture Institute

Urban Permaculture Guild