& Integral PermaCulture?

Why "Integral" Perma-culture?

The clearest definition of permaculture is in the Designers Manual, p.37:

"Permaculture Design =

the beneficial assembly

of the social, site, energy & abstract components

in their proper relationships".

So in theory Permaculture has always been 'integral', but in practice, and how it is taught, it usually focuses on the Site and Energy components.

Integral Permaculture specifically re-instates the other components to equal importance in the design, with the science to back them.

It is essential to include all levels because we need to create healthy communities, local economies & effective organizations ...

Integral Permaculture is a design practice

based on the holistic & ethical science

which includes all levels of experience,

- internal & external, individual & collective, ancient & modern -

into a coherent & systemic whole,

with the sole purpose of designing healthy,

sustainable cultures & environments

for all species.

Honoring Women Pioneers

The origins of permaculture as they are normally reflected (with Bill Mollison & David Holmgren + sometimes Masanobu Fukuoka listed as the iconic 'fathers' of permaculture) are interestingly quite patriarchal, even though in fact women have been instrumental in both creating and popularizing permaculture from the start. With integral permaculture we explicitly include the great contribution of the many great women who are usually 'forgotten' (or ignored) on the way.

Some examples of these exceptional integral pioneers that we include & honour in this new curriculum are Vandana Shiva, Wangari Maathai, Hazel Henderson (who published an integral model of development years before 'the fathers' of integral did... a pattern?), Dana Meadows (honored by us as the mother of Integral Permaculture), Helena Norberg-Hodge, Norie Huddle, Nicole Foss, Margrit Kennedy, Jean Liedloff, Margaret Wheatley, Arundhati Roy, & others.

It is interesting that this is a quote from Bill Mollison:

"Women are the holders of all knowledge,

everything a man knows he stole from a woman."

Not Just Gardening & Building

From the Foundation Year Book of the Permaculture Academy (by Bill Mollison):

"It is always necessary to return

to the roots of knowledge

and the origins of institutions,

for the latter drift from their purposes

even if many individuals

hold true to origins

and ideals".


There are far too many times good permaculture designers have found themselves saying "permaculture design is not just about gardens or buildings, it's a design science". ... only to find that:

a) there are lots of people / websites / publications / urban myths out there saying something quite different & busily propagating the 'permaculture as gardening' myth

b) most people don't know what you mean by 'design science' anyway, hence a) happens a lot

So Integral Permaculture is about making the wonderful range & span of permaculture a lot more explicit, and actually teaching, in much more detail, how much more than a earth(as in soil) science it is.


In an interesting way it is actually about going back to its roots - which is why we say that the mother & father of Integral Permaculture are Dana Meadows and Howard Odum.

Now we are ready to understand the profound insights & wisdom they had to share, in their original form, which actually goes a lot deeper than including most permaculture graduates can imagine.

With this we don't, in any way, wish to under-estimate the primary importance of the restoration of vital ecosystems, nor, indeed, all the brilliant work done to date.

What we believe is important & urgent to do however, is to address the fact that things have gotten markedly worse during the last 40 years of passionate campaigning by ecologists and of demonstrated successful land-restoration work by permaculture designers all over the world.

It's not because we don't know how to restore vital ecosystems, but because we've failed to design holistically (including society's mythology & econom and our individual psychology) or in a truly integral way.



We believe this is because we have focused the brilliant permaculture design tools on 'external quadrants' solutions (the physical world),

whilst the new-age movement has filled the inevitable void in the 'inner quadrants' needs & interests - which are just as important for all of us - with lots of semi-magical & pseudo-spiritual half-truths, most of which (as demonstrated in their practice) actually support the status quo in just continuing on a incredibly destructive path.





An ongoing Co-Creation

Integral Permaculture strives to include all stages & types of permaculture we see now and integrates them with the latest emergent collective thinking on the subject of how all things come together.

Integral Permaculture is an emergent creature: it is constantly evolving and we invite you to be one of the integrating people who are exploring and co-weaving this particular piece of the fabric of history.

This is simply a conscious application of natural successions when it comes to the cultures of entire groups, neighbourhoods & societies.

We can make much more effective interventions if we accurately understand where communities are at in terms of social development, in a very similar way that we can restore landscapes a lot faster if we have an understanding of where they're at in ecological terms.

There are also individual and group development stages which we ignore at our peril, when we come to design with people (and all permaculture designs are about people just as much as they are about soil & the whole surrounding ecosystem).

Integral Permaculture includes many more models pertaining to the 'Inner Quadrants' of human experience, to supplement & empower the excellent range of models we already teach of the 'Outer Quadrants'.