Permaculture definition (was Re: design courses)

Michael Totten mpt at
Fri Nov 10 11:38:34 EST 1995


> How is it different from the sustainable agriculture movement?
> What elements make it permaculture, rather that sust. ag., bio dynamic, 

I've always thought one crucial difference of Permaculture from most 
discussions of sus ag has to do with Permaculture's emphasis on 
integrating agriculture, forestry and livestock systems so as to capture 
value-added synergisms.  The result, as in some traditional polyculture 
farms in Africa, Asia and Latin America demonstrate, may contain 50 to 
150 different species of trees, vines, shrubs, bushes, cover crops and 
root crops.  Sus ag, meanwhile, often focuses on ag, forestry and 
livestock systems separately (although the agro-ecosystem work by many 
sus ag experts moves more towards polyculture/permaculture designs).

Now, I admit i'm simplifying a complex field that really encompasses many 
fine gradations.

Michael Totten
Director, Center for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology (CREST)
777 N. Capitol Street N.E., Suite 805, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 289-5368  Fax: (202) 289-5354 EMAIL: mpt at
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