Q: What is Permaculture?
A: Permaculture is a system of ecological design, originally formulated by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the ‘70s. Now it is a worldwide movement of designers, practitioners and teachers. Permaculture has a set of ethics, principles and practices that lead us to design systems to meet our human needs in ways that regenerate the environment around us.
Q: What does the word mean?
A: Permaculture started off as ‘permanent agriculture’ but has expanded to include much more. Now we think of it as ‘permanent culture’.
Rio in the garden
So it’s a system of gardening?
Permaculture is much more than gardening, although it has a strong focus on food-producing systems. It covers the full range of what we need to create a truly sustainable society: soil, water, energy systems, forest management, natural building, economic and social systems, policies, and even entertainment as well as food production. Most of all, permaculture shifts our thinking so we learn to weave all these aspects together into systems that are more than the sum of their parts.
Starhawk, why did you get interested in permaculture?
I had been practicing, writing about and teaching Goddess-centered, earth-based spirituality for many, many years when I first learned about permaculture, and it seemed to me to offer the practical tools that went with our understanding of the earth as sacred. And as climate change rapidly progresses and so many of our environmental and social systems deteriorate, I see those practical skills as more and more necessary. But I like to teach them with a grounding in the spirit and to bring in the tools of ritual and magic – “the art of changing consciousness at will” - to help us learn.
Who can benefit from taking an Earth Activist Training?
Just about everybody. An Earth Activist Training touches on the whole realm of sustainability, but it’s not just a set of techniques or solutions. It’s about learning to see how all the solutions fit together into systems—whether that’s food-growing systems, or cities, or social systems. So whether you’re a home gardener or a policy maker, an activist or simply an earth-lover, the course will give you new skills, insights, and a way to assess and intervene in the systems around us.