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The ethics of Permaculture

Permaculture: what is it?

Let's clarify immediately that no, it is not an alternative organic farming technique, as some seem to think.

Instead, it is an effective design method, originally designed to build human systems that are sustainable.

The notion of sustainability, which has been widely talked about (and often abused), must be understood in these terms: we call sustainable a system that is as autonomous as possible in energy resources, that does not produce waste but rather reuses and regenerates its resources, that privileges the diversity and shuns monoculture and that produces in abundance thanks to internal cooperation mechanisms, sharing resources according to the principles of solidarity.

1. Earth care

2. People care 

3. Fair Share

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B. Mollison

D. Holmgren

The core teaching in permaculture is that of design, that is the art of choosing and positioning the elements of the system we are creating in such a way as to maximise positive mutual interactions of its elements, in other words the synergies and collaborative flows that will make the system more productive and more resistant to external aggressions.


Exactly as it happens in Nature, whose geometric patterns and functional schemes have always inspired permaculture (biomimicry). It is now known and proven that a natural or permacultural ecosystem is considerably more productive than any "conventional" food production system. (R.H. Whittaker 1975, Ferme du Bec Hellouin 2015).


The purpose of design is therefore to teach individuals to design their own environment by creating more autonomous, sustainable and resilient human habitats. In this way, a society is generated that is less dependent on industrial production and distribution networks, main reasons of the systematic destruction of natural ecosystems.


According to some authors (P. Servigne, R. Stevens 2015, D. Bourg 2018) among whom the same David Holmgren, the mission of permaculture in the years to come, characterized by a drastic descent in available energy and a deep ecological crisis, is that to provide the humanity with a new paradigm and an effective "toolkit" in order to both  soften the shock of the inevitable collapse and help rebuild a new civilization on a better basis.

Friends and teachers

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Charles Hervé-Gruyer

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Marc Grollimund

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Philippe Desbrosses


Perrine Hervé-Gruyer

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Lydia et Claude Bourguignon

Rosemary Morrow

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