Marsh Creek Farmstead: 3 Things Permaculture Isn’t - by Rob Avis

3 Things Permaculture Isn’t - by Rob Avis

After posting a bit about what permaculture is, I want to dispel some common misconceptions and tell you what it’s not:

1. Permaculture’s Not Just Gardening

Permaculture isn't just gardening
Gardening in non-straight rows is only part of it! Image by amberdc.

One thing I hear often is that permaculture is just gardening in non-straight rows. This is both funny and frustrating to me! As I mentioned in my last post, 7 Things You Should Know About Permaculture, permaculture is a design system that allows us to meet our needs while enhancing ecosystem health. Gardening’s just one possible part of this system. When we become aware of our surroundings, when we learn to work with nature, we can build healthier and more energy-efficient buildings, grow better and more sustainable foods, produce less pollution while increasing personal and societal well-being. These are all possible by applying the permaculture ethos.

2. Permaculture’s Not Just for Australians or the Tropics

Permaculture in winter climates
Permaculture works here too! Image from V. Kiatying-Angsulee

Permaculture practices have been proven in both cold and temperate climates. Natural processes may be different depending on climate and region, but they are still observable and understandable patterns. Permaculture design teases out these patterns and works within them in local areas. It doesn’t matter where you are – there are universal ideas embedded within permaculture that will allow you to design for human needs and ecosystem health.

3. Permaculture’s Not Just For Hippies

This is probably the biggest misconception I come across. Many people have forgotten what the hippie movement was originally about. Hippies were protesting a system that didn’t work. While some of them protested through the use of drugs, some embraced permaculture because they wanted to create a new future. But today, hippies aren’t the only ones embracing permaculture.
Permaculture attracts people from all walks of life
Permaculture attracts people from all walks of life. By Alla Guelber.

I believe the world today is ripe for change. I see how our permaculture design courses are primarily taken by white and blue-collar professionals who can see that things are not right and want to do something about it. I sense that they have a desire to reframe their degrees or work experience. A lot of them have properties they want to manage or enhance; others are entrepreneurs who want to innovate by starting green businesses based on permaculture principles. Change is coming, and many of our students see the writing on the wall and want to become drivers for that change.
Permculture Information and DesignAre you interested in a systems approach to problem solving? Do you want to adapt or improve your skillset to a changing world? Are you looking to participate in innovative and solutions-oriented programs?
Why not try out permaculture for yourself? If you’re completely new to permaculture, check out our online permaculture primer, an intro course in 6 easy videos – for practically pocket change!
Ready to take the plunge? You might be interested in our full Permaculture Design Certificate. Our Spring course starts this February and early bird prices are on now for a limited time!
If you’d like to read more about what permaculture is, check out my previous blog: 7 Things You Should Know About Permaculture.
Feature Image from