[permaculture] Permaculture or biodynamic, or agroecology/agroforestry?

Scott Pittman scott at permaculture.org
Thu Nov 13 14:48:48 EST 2014

Hello Donka,

Permaculture utilizes all of the techniques you describe for the
botanical/horticultural aspect of growing and maintaining healthy plants.
The confusion comes from thinking of permaculture as a technique for

It was decided early on in the evolution of the permaculture curriculum that
permaculture was the contraction of "permanent culture" rather then
permanent agriculture.  Permaculture has always been a "design system" not
an agricultural system.

Our interests are in looking at the whole system in which we live and then
based on that holistic understanding to design a living system that sustains
the inhabitants as well as the natural environment.  In order to do that we
discern between the "visible" structures, such as gardening, building
construction, water shed management/remediation, appropriate technology, and
other land based activities, and "invisible structures" that look at the
legal, social, and financial systems that exist in our various cultures.  

I think that the invisible structures are particularly relevant in today's
world if one looks at the lack of social justice, financial inequality, and
an increasingly more corporate legal structure.  

Except for Rudolf Steiner I don't believe any of the systems you mention, ie
agroecology, and agroforestry concern themselves with design or the
"invisible structures".

While this is a brief response to your question I hope it is helpful in your
quest for answers.

Scott Pittman, Dip.
Permaculture Institute  

"To change something build a new model that makes the existing model
obsolete"  Buckminster Fuller
-----Original Message-----

From: permaculture [mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf
Of DONKA RADEVA via permaculture
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 3:16 PM
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [permaculture] Permaculture or biodynamic,or

Hi to all permies,
I have a question which I cannot fully solve till now. As you are with a
greater experience in permaculture, could somebody explain me what are the
slight or bigger differences between permaculture, biodynamic agriculture,
agroecology and agroforestry?
I see very common things among them in the agriculture practices they offer
to the farmers and cannot fully understand what are the main differencies?
One is sure - all they are organic and support polyculture versus
I have seen some excellent examples of farms on permaculture principles, but
they name themselves agroecology farms - why is that?
Thanks a lot!
Donka Radeva,
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