• Accokeek Foundation

Permaculture Design Offers a Solution

The term, Permaculture, was coined by Bill Mollison, an Australian scientist, research professor, and author, who borrowed the concept from the book title, Tree Crops, a Permanent Agriculture, written in 1929 by Virginian, J. Russell Smith, a geographer, conservationist, and Wharton School of Business economics professor.A culture can not survive without a permanent, or sustaining, form of agriculture.  

written by Patricia Ceglia, Permaculture Designer and Instructor

We can all become producers as well as consumers. Permaculture Design is a methodology for creating human habitats that produce more of our daily needs for food, medicine, water, energy, shelter, waste cycling and fiber. Permaculture Design is a process for managing your land and dwelling to be highly productive in an ecological manner. By making relationships between design components, we expand efficiency and create a living system that regenerates itself, rather than depletes itself. The result is increased security and harmony.

I first discovered Permaculture in 1990, after a year of searching for a more ethical design approach than that which I was practicing as a young architect. My boss had just asked me to design a gigantic strip shopping center with a parking lot as large as a football field (not the glamorous type of building I was used to designing as a college student). So I attended Bill Mollison’s workshop at San Xavier Indian Reservation near Tuscon, AZ and was hooked.  


Original design created by Permacutlure Design student.

Original design created by Permacutlure Design student.


Mollison was inspired by his childhood experience growing up in Tasmania, where he lived next door to aboriginal people. He had the unique opportunity to observe their lifestyle, and later compare it to that of his western culture. He noticed that natives did not live in a true wilderness, but rather cultivated their forest ecosystem. If they observed an animal