Introduction to Permaculture
Andrew Millison, Oregon State University
Copyright Year: 2017
Publisher: Open Oregon State
Conditions of Use
The textbook is an introduction to permaculture. It is divided into four sections. The first section provides basic information on the principles, ethics, design processes, leading contributors, and applications of permaculture. The second section... read more
The textbook is an introduction to permaculture. It is divided into four sections. The first section provides basic information on the principles, ethics, design processes, leading contributors, and applications of permaculture. The second section offers tools for conducting site analysis and includes a review of climatic patterns, topography, and watersheds. The third section provides more in depth information on design principles, examining permaculture sites from around the world. The fourth and final section looks at the climatic patterns that inform the design of permaculture sites, decentralized energy systems, and international permaculture groups. Each section provides information in both text and video (with Portuguese translation) and additional online resources.
The content is accurate and informed by the author's 20+ years in permaculture design, implementation, and instruction. A large amount of information has been consolidated from multiple international permaculture contributors and organizations. The text provides information on additional online and brick and mortar resources to get more in depth, technical instruction on specific topics in permaculture.
The textbook provides a framework and design system that is general enough and clear enough to be applicable in many locations and time points. The text is organized in such a way that updates or additions would be straightforward to implement.
The author's prose style and speaking style is easy to understand and engaging. The author does an excellent job of defining specialized vocabulary and integrating the vocabulary into subsequent chapters.
The text is consistent in the use of permaculture vocabulary and principles. At times, additional terminology and framework from other disciplines is periodically incorporated. As the author explains, permaculture is multi-disciplinary and requires knowledge from related life science fields such as ecology, animal husbandry, and hydrology. These concepts are logically incorporated and clearly, though broadly, explained.
The textbook is divided into 4 sections. Each section is approximately 40 pages. Each section is organized into subsections by chapters. Approximately half the content is prose and the other half is a combination of videos and hyperlinks to additional resources. As such, the text can be easily broken up into smaller sections. The sections and subsections, although related, can also be used independently as there is ample material and supplementary information in each section and subsection.
The textbook is organized logically beginning with a broad over view of permaculture principles and ending with specific permaculture designs and recommendations for future work and learning opportunities. Learning objectives are posted at the beginning of each section to facilitate content selection.
The textbook can be viewed online or downloaded as a pdf. There are no navigation problems, distorted images/charts or any other distracting or confusing display features. Much of the text has been translated into Portuguese and can be downloaded as a word document.
The text is free of grammatical errors.
The text is culturally sensitive. The author incorporates indigenous knowledge as well as information from international permaculture contributors and organizations. The examples are therefore inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
Table of Contents
Section 1 - What is Permaculture?
- What is Permaculture?
- The People of Permaculture
- State and Challenges of the World
- David Holmgren's Future Scenarios
- Permaculture Ethics Investments & Directives
- Scales of System
Section 2 - Where Am I?
- Climate Change & Site Analysis
- Permaculture Site Analysis: From Macro to Micro
- Watershed Patterns
- Deforested Watershed
- Watershed Restoration
- Solar Aspect
Section 3 - Permaculture Design
- Permaculture Principles
- Design as a Response to Zones and Sectors: Cause Studies
- Design Methods Resources
- Scales of Permanence
Section 4 - Climates
- World Permaculture Organizations
- Where to From Here?
About the Author
About the Book
Permaculture Design is a method of land planning that can be applied at scales from the home garden to city block to village to farm. It is an ethically based whole-systems design approach that uses concepts, principles, and methods derived from ecosystems, indigenous technologies, and other time-tested practices to create sustainable human settlements and institutions. Although rooted in horticulture and agriculture, Permaculture design is interdisciplinary, touching on a wide range of subjects including regional planning, ecology, animal husbandry, appropriate technology, architecture, social justice, and international development.
This open text book is derived from the content of the Massive Open Online Course “Intro to Permaculture”. The original course also included interactive mapping and design tools that accompanied this content. The course and book provide a general overview of the Permaculture design system. The book can be downloaded as a print version. However, there are many accompanying videos and content pages that are linked to throughout the text, so it is best viewed online where the links can be accessed.
About the Contributors
Andrew Millison brings over 20 years experience in designing and building permaculture projects to his teaching and wants to share that rich, real-world experience with his students.
He has been studying, teaching and practicing permaculture since he took his first design course in 1996. He began teaching permaculture design at the college level in 2001 and has been an instructor at Oregon State University in the Horticulture Department since 2009. Andrew currently teaches the Permaculture Design Course and the Advanced Permaculture Design Practicum at OSU on campus and online.
Andrew first learned permaculture design in the drylands of Arizona, where he studied for his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Prescott College. His focus was on rainwater harvesting, greywater systems and desert agriculture. He started a permaculture landscape design and build company and also worked in an ecologically-based landscape architecture firm.
In recent years, Andrew’s focus has been more on broad scale farm planning, permaculture housing developments and obtaining water rights. In 2015 he founded Permaculture Design International, a collaborative design firm that works on large-scale global projects.
You can stay current with Andrew’s Permaculture conversations on his podcast www.earthrepairradio.com.