Link to NC State Intro to Permaculture Lectures

Permaculture Projects & Research by NC State Students

Permaculture is a sustainable living methodology that was proposed by two gentlemen from Australia in the late 1970's.  The word is a contraction of two words, either Permanent Culture or Permanent Agriculture, and it has to do with emulating natural ecosystems in finding ways to meet our needs in ways that can be sustained into the indefinite future.  

Permaculture is a design methodology that establishes physical systems which meet our needs in such a way that the work involved is minimized and where there is little or no waste.  It is a design methodology that deals primarily with creating 'systems' rather than creating 'things.'  The ideal is to arrange the systems of any setting, from a small residence to an entire region, so that the by-products of one system become the resource base for adjacent systems.  For instance, in our small landscape we have chickens, which give us eggs, entertainment, consume our kitchen scraps and weeds, and keep a range of insect pests under control.  We line their roost and yard with straw to keep the smells contained and to avoid a muddy yard when we run into one of those spells where it rains for days on end.   The chickens peck through the straw, cleaning out the seeds and leaving nitrogen deposits in their wake.  We collect this nitrogen enhanced straw on occasion, pile it to compost, and then use this as both a mulch and a fertilizer in our adjacent vegetable garden.  We consume the vegetables and feed the scraps back to the chickens. This is a complete system.  

David Holmgren, one of the originators of the concept  of permaculture, envisions the various aspects of permaculture as a seven-petaled flower.  Those petals are:  Land & Nature Stewardship, the Built Environment, Tools & Technology, Culture & Education, Health & Spiritual Wellbeing, Finance & Economics, and Land Tenure & Community Governance.  Both in my teaching and in evolving our home landscape, I deal primarily with the first three petals, believing that there are five physical systems that we all need to take more responsibility for in our lives:  Food, Water, Shelter and the Built Environment, Energy, and Material Resources & Re-Use (formerly referred to as 'Wastes').
610 Kirby
Urban Permaculture Model
Will Hooker, Professor, NC State University
About Permaculture
“If a space is well designed to function seamlessly for its intended use, it will be used; if it is used, it will be loved; and if it is loved, it will become beautiful.”  
                 Will Hooker