The Permaculture FAQ!

Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)November 29, 2003

Hi People! I volunteered to edit the FAQ. I thought it would be the best way to increase my education in Permaculture in a BIG way. And since I cant presently either buy books or go take workshops, I'd volunteer for the FAQ.

I realize that this subject is SO much broader than most topics on Gardenweb that cover a single species of plant. But there are related forum topics out there.

So It was suggested to me to ask for your suggestions for Topics.

So Please do...


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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

Was thinking that using this as a template for the discussion might keep things on the central topics. Let me know what you think.

The Ethics of Permaculture:

Care for the Earth
Care for People
Distribute Surplus
Reduce Consumption

Principles of Permaculture

Everything works at least 2 ways
See Solutions not Problems
Cooperation not Competition in Work, Communications & Economics
Make Things Pay
Work Where It Counts
Use Everything To It's Highest Capacity
Bring Food Production Back to the Cities
Help Make People Self Reliant
Minimize Maintainance & Energy Input To Achieve Maximum Yeilds

Alrighty then.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2003 at 6:16PM
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I don't know if this is an appropriate subject, but I am interested in information on how to build (with generalized floor plans) a "permaculture house," similar to that described in Solviva. I have tried many different websites, but can't quite find what I'm looking for. I guess maybe I should call it a self-sufficient house, instead. Anyway, if this is not appropriate to this forum, could someone please help with suggestions? If it is, then I would love to see others' ideas.
Thank you,

    Bookmark   December 2, 2003 at 9:51PM
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kayva, maybe one of these books by The Rocky Mountain Institute, under 'buildings and land', would be useful.

Here is a link that might be useful: rmi

    Bookmark   December 13, 2003 at 9:46AM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

We were kicking around the idea of an eco-friendly thread on the Garden Restoration forum, so I stopped over to see what the general thinking is. Permaculture to me has meant food crops; am I off base here? What is it and do you feel that there is enough interest for an eco-gardening forum (or is this it?)


    Bookmark   January 24, 2004 at 2:33AM
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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

Hey, I dont see why not. I /think/ 98% of the folks here are Permaculture Newbies, *I* sure am! I just volunteered to do the FAQ because I had free time on my hands.

I'm still waiting for Suggestions about what to Put Into The FAQ!

Come on in, the water's fine and bring your freinds!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2004 at 4:42AM
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Anna264(z6 MD)

Don't forget the very basic "What is Permaculture?" for those who have never even heard the word and might think it's some sort of new landscape fabric!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2004 at 8:29AM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

Ana, hi.

As you know, the applied principles of Permaculture have been developed worldwide. And as you also realize, the term "Permaculture" and the articulation of its principles occurred in Australia -- with the agronomist Bill Mollison being the lead figure.

I'm sure that some large libraries near you have the books that the Australian exponents wrote and published. A lot of their work is, of course, related to farm-scale applications, rather than home gardens.

I doubt I'm telling you anything new when I say that Permaculture is design oriented, and that the land-use design principles that it espouses emulate the way natural systems function. So organic cultivation principles are basic. Plus, we find the intercropping of nitrogen-fixing shrubs and trees, along with edible perennial and annual crops, is one thing we find in it. Also the use of gravity-propelled water (swales, ditching, piped water, etc.)

Because Permaculture is both thought-out and felt-out, it can and must result in a design. Visiting land where Permaculture is applied is a great thing to do -- and if that isn't easy, then looking at property maps (showing how the design principles have been applied) is maybe the next best thing.

There are a number of Web sites that deal with Permaculture basics. I did not do an exhaustive search, but I'm posting one useful link (from Australia).

All the best in your project.


Here is a link that might be useful: Permaculture Design

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 11:48AM
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I found a permaculture FAQ from alt.permaculture newsgroup

Maybe you can find good stuff in there...

Here is a link that might be useful: Alt.permaculture FAQ Version 1.0 Beta

    Bookmark   February 6, 2004 at 11:34AM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

What happened to Ana, our FAQ lady?


    Bookmark   February 7, 2004 at 12:16PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)


Look up "Earthship" on the web. I think that kind of house design is very much in line with the permaculture way of thinking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Earthship

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 11:27PM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

Ana, what happened to you? How is the FAQ coming?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2004 at 1:04PM
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botanicals4u(zone 6 WV)

Thanks! Don't know exactly how I got here, I was trying to find how to build a hotframe, but am glad I did. Sounds like what DH and I have been trying to do. I'll be back.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2004 at 2:27PM
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the attached link will give you a broad, easily understood outline of Permaculture and plenty of good links for further info.



Here is a link that might be useful: Permaculture Journey

    Bookmark   March 1, 2004 at 10:23PM
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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

hi I'm back...

Had to have me a kiddo! He's one month old now...

Sorry that i spooked out.
I'll continue this endeavor as I can. I'd not mind some sort of cohort...if anyone is willing.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 12:18PM
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Hey there! Congratulations! If you need any help and support in natural parenting, I will post a great link for you below.

Just had to comment that if I ever mention something like bringing food production to cities and sustainablility through home gardening, I am met with that "concept that it's expensive and time consuming to garden." But permaculture really addresses that by making it much easier to garden by working with nature instead of against. At least theoretically, for me, I'm just starting. But LOTS of people are doing it and proving out the theories.


Here is a link that might be useful: Amity's (go to market forum to get started, that's where people hang out most. You'll find me in Flaming Moe's)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 1:27PM
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fletchg(3b Calgary AB)

I very interesting book that discusses the ideals of permaculture (although this isn't the main intent of the book) from an Indian (East) perspective and the current challenges that this cultural pradigm faces from large Multi-National Agricultural Interests:

"Stolen Harvest" By Vandana Shiva

Not all her facts are 100% accurate - but the concepts are great and is a great working example of permaculture and how it is threatened. Interestingly, the very threat to this permaculturally based system is exactly how western industrialized nations view how modern agriculture should be practised.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 3:02PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day ana,

i've been writting a from my perspective type essay that is posted on my web site, there may be some topics/subjects there that could help in formulating FAQ topics? it's open ended so as i get inspired i write and add more.

happy days with the new bub hey.


mail len

lens garden page

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 2:58PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

me again ana,

just a couple of things dunno how they can be worded into FAQ but they are questions that have been posed to me through other channels. i frequent a few forums on pc and a news group that is all but defunct from sectarian type in fighting that krept in. this group was very vibrant up to about 3 years ago with lots of chat about what people where doing and new comers feeling welcome and not over awed.

1. new people ask where they can find simple down to earth chat about what people are doing in permaculture, they seem to feel somewhat daunted in some of the forums around.

(for me it's just not there to much hi faluting talk and much to do that has nothing much to do with pc in the sense of pc)

2. they also ask why is it that when they search for permaculture chat all they seem to find is an emphasis on selling PDC and diplomas; degree; certificates. seems this is very off putting to a newbe.

there is an abundance of sites that seem to be there just to sell pc either courses or books.

for me pc chat can be very very quiet around the traps, wish the news group was as vibrant as it was but too late now i expect pity to think that the rest may follow through lack of interest and encouragement to others. so when you consider i am a very small speck in the bigger picture if i get questions like those above how many others are or how many aren't even bothering to ask?


    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 9:30PM
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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

sure! i'd love youu help...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 12:52PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day ana,

be glad to assist where and when i can all you need do is ask or prod me along a bit hey. did you get to read my essay yet? i can well imagine you will be very busy with new bub and all.

i had a look at an faq in a suggested link not sure that folk are actually asking thos sort of questions, not a very broad list.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 2:46PM
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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

I use yahoo so the mail len link doesnt work for me...

There is a basic sort of problem with this topic really.
The first question "What is Permaculture" can be summed up fairly simply. But then the next step explodes into a hundred topics. It's getting this clump of information into a logical progression that makes sense.

There is also the question of can people actually use the term Permaculture legally? Bill Mollison I believe has it copywritten.

I really think tho, he's created a term that was needed for a concept that had no name. When a new word is needed trying to contain it is like trying to contain a cold virus.


We need a list of questions first. I'm not even concerned with the answers yet. That can come later.

I skimmed the article. It's hard just yet trying to focus on anything too long. I've been having to garden in 5 minute dashes into the yard. but it's better than no gardening. It's saving my sanity.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 12:27PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day ana,

surprised that yahoo won't recognise my e/mail addy you can use the addy from my web page, or can you simply start a new e/mail and type in one of my addies?

as far as i know the term permaculture can't be patented and hasn't been something about you can only patent intelectual material. and lots of stuff in permaculture is used in other disciplines. all that has happened is the best or usable of all those other disciplines has been pulled in under the permaculture banner.

you could drag and drop my essay over into your documents folder for reading anytime off line or print a hard copy.

but yes you need to create questions and provide answers as well as take questions that are already there and provide answers and put these all in the FAQ. don't know that a chronological order is so important as it may depend on how many questions you get. and not in all cases will there be a single correct answer.

just have a look at all the posts in all the permaculture forums (i can give you some links maybe send me an e/mail i can post them that way), that is the place where questions should/are being asked. but you will find there is an awful lot of stuff that realy isn't just permaculture, it can be from organic gardening, or composting or lots of other areas.

i think if you have a look around you will find there isn't much asking going on it's all just general type chat about companion gardening (guilds), keeping chooks, using worm farms, using raised beds, courses and on and on.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 2:46PM
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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

Thing is *I* know nothing about permaculture except what I've perused lightly. I sort of signed on because I had time and am willing to type and was hoping to absorb stuff.

But I absorb slowly it seems. So I'm not sure what DOESNT qualify as on-topic.

And I'm very distracted these days. LOL

sitting here thinking about how the new baby fits into the Ethics and Principles schema. LOL

oh yeah. I've not locate your email addy. there's the problem.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 12:27PM
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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

Y'know it just occured to me that a better place to start might be a Glossary.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 12:29PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day ana,

yes a glossary might be a good starter, also maybe have a look at other FAQ's in other forums on this site.

a questioning post turned up from a newby yes one of those very rare new comers, on the aussie perma-c forums i'll provide the link below. come over and have a look.

when you open up the site come over the the permaculture chat section. you ca enter as a guest no need to subscribe or logon.

can't post the link here will send it via e/mail instead.

you will maybe see what i mean.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 2:29PM
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Ana53(Tx7a/8b sun33)

why cant you post the link here?

just wondering.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 5:08PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day ana,

the robot won't allow it says it is rated as a spam link or something. but if you want drop me an e/mail i'll send it that way.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 2:43PM
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Hey, sorry it took me so long to respond. I think that maybe you need to register on amity's to be able to view all the forums? Anyway, it's a lot of fun when you get going.

Thanks for your email, just waiting for a chance to check it out! Hope all is well with the new babe!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 11:41PM
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