History and Definition of Permaculture

Permaculture began as collaboration between Bill Mollison and David Holmgren at the University of Tasmania in the 1970’s. The foundational text by these two founders was Permaculture One (1978). It was followed up by Mollison’s much more comprehensive Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual (1988). Bill Mollison, as a forester, was impressed with the stability and productivity of mature forests. He believed that humans could observe processes in nature and copy and apply them in gardens, homes, systems, communities and cities.

Permaculture is an ecological, holistic and sustainable design system and philosophy for human living spaces. It is a viable method for finding sustainable solutions to modern problems. It has been successfully used around the world to maximize food production, regenerate springs, cool homes, without air conditioning, revive deserts, transform lives, reorganize towns and neighborhoods, reduce pollution, and much else.

The foundation of permaculture is its three ethics:

  • Care of the Earth – reducing our consumption of “stuff” will have a positive impact on our environment.
  • Care of People – take care of ourselves, friends, family, community without consuming unnecessary material resources.
  • Fair Share – set limits and balance what we take and what we give.

These ethics help guide the basic permaculture design principles. A resource to learn more about these principles is David Holmgren’s website Permacultureprinciples.com.

Permaculture Designers Certificate Course

Urban Harvest offers a series of permaculture classes and hands-on training in the field, totaling approximately 100 hours, based on the curriculum of the International Permaculture Institute. Graduates of the Designers Certificate Course are invited to join the Permaculture Guild of Houston.

The classes are grouped under titles, called modules, which are offered each season and do not need to be taken sequentially, except for Module 1. Module one includes two classes that are prerequisites required before going on to take Modules 2 – 5.

Permaculture classes are scheduled on Sundays. Below are the titles of the modules, how many classes are in each module, when they are offered and the cost. 

Module 1:  Sustainable Living Through Permaculture 1 and Sustainable Living Through Permaculture 2 Theses classes are offered each Fall and Winter. Sustainable Living 1 is a PRE-REQUISITE for Sustainable Living 2.

Both classes are PRE-REQUISITES for other permaculture courses. And can be found on our classes page, here

Module 2:  The Designing Bountiful Gardens Through Permaculture; 6-part class series will take place annually on Sundays from October – mid-November. Two field trips to local permaculture farms are included. ($350).

Module 3:  Designing Our Green Homes and Communities Through Permaculture; offered 6 Sundays . [$205] class description

Module 4:  Restoring Nature Through Permaculture; offered 3 Sundays  [$210]. class description

Module 5:  Design Project Tutorial with Permaculture Guild mentor, Design Project Presentation and Permaculture Design Certification Graduation; scheduled with students who are prepared, approximately 8 -10 hours preparation. This is a design concept project, not an implementation of a design. [$50]

Permaculture Course Curriculum

Permaculture Resources

Permaculture Links

Permaculture Definitions