Why Permaculture?

The current mass migration situation is not unusual or temporary.  In fact we can expect it to increase with global warming or political unrest. Permaculture teaches that we all need to expand our vision to embrace an uncertain future that includes the mass movement of people.

Apart from supporting travelling refugees with food, shelter, information, medicine and sometimes hiding them, permaculture’s role is limited at this stage.  

Once refugees settle down even for a short time, permaculture’s contribution is most effective when offered as education. Refugees can use it immediately, and take when they leave to live in intermediate places or, those of final settlement. This is happening with Afghan and Ukraine refugee permaculturalists. Permaculture is also accepted as useful and relevant when applying for humanitarian visas. Some applicants are now given priority.

Once refugees arrive at their new permanent homes in villages and cities, and are integrating into new societies permaculture becomes a significant and valuable  tool for adapting into local permaculture communities where they will be welcomed. And for individuals it saves money and assists them in earning incomes. 

What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a holistic framework for designing human settlements. It is modeled on the functioning of natural ecosystems, with a view to providing for all human needs through cooperative relationships in healthy ecosystems. It includes restoring damage to the land caused by human activity.

Permaculture is based on the three ethics of:

It recognises limits to consumption and reproduction, and emphasises self-responsibility and collaboration rather than competition.

Women and child abuse are reducing at the family level, drug-addiction and other negative behaviour went down after receiving permaculture training.

Boniface Gomes, BASD, Bangladesh (P4R Partner)


Permaculture originated with the work of Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, in the early ‘70s and soon expanded to become a worldwide movement of people embracing the ethics, and design principles to inform their lives and day-to-day decisions. it was influenced by many cultures of ancient wisdom and indigenous knowledge, as well as practitioners in Asia, Australia and the U.S.

After more than 40 years, hundreds of thousands of people have trained to become permaculture designers, thanks to the internationally recognised course curriculum of the Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC) and thousands of projects have seen the light in hundreds of countries on every continent of the Earth.

The Scope of Permaculture

Permaculture design is based on systems thinking, observation of natural patterns, landscape geography, ethnobotanyappropriate technologylateral thinking, modern science, and cooperative human relations. It can be applied as a design tool for virtually anything: from rural properties to urban environments, and social organisations. It has been implemented successfully in a majority of countries around the world.

In his diagram of the permaculture flower, David Holmgren defines seven domains that need to be considered for a sustainable society. To be truly sustainable, every design considers all domains together. This notion is something that contemporary society is only just starting to grasp. Permaculture recognises this by working through a holistic design framework.

The idea is to engender hope and confidence that no matter where they find themselves, displaced peoples will be able to organise, feed themselves and create solutions.

Permaculture designer working in a Greek camp, 2017