Passion for Permaculture


Permaculture can inspire the ways we design our landscapes, our businesses and our lives. I like to think of permaculture as a toolbox of solutions for repairing and enhancing systems. The possibilities of creating better systems for food, energy, medicine and relationships are all realized within the community of a Permaculture Design Course (PDC). The PDC community itself has much to offer—you’ll meet people from across the Puget Sound who are open to sharing resources, services and job opportunities.

Permaculture also inspires enormous passion and enthusiasm in its students. Here’s what recent graduates of Seattle Tilth’s PDC say about it:

There is a misconception that permaculture principles and ethics apply only to agriculture. This simply is not the case. We can apply these practices on all levels of life. It is the best business class I have ever taken. -Gwen

 A year later I’m finding that I routinely apply the principles of permaculture design to almost everything I do – personally, socially, spiritually. Toby brought the subject matter alive in a way that was memorable and edifying. –Sinan

The focus in this course is global and important for making our world a better place. –Rebecca

Permaculture Ethics and Principles

  • Ethics
  • Care for the earth
  • Care for people
  • Return the surplus

 Primary Principles for Functional Design

  1. Observe.
  2. Connect.
  3. Catch and store energy and materials.
  4. Each element performs multiple functions.
  5. Each function is supported by multiple elements.
  6. Make the least change for the greatest effect.
  7. Use small scale, intensive systems.

 Principles for Living and Energy Systems

  1. Optimize edge.
  2. Collaborate with succession.
  3. Use biological and renewable resources.


  1. Turn problems into solutions.
  2. Get a yield.
  3. The biggest limit to abundance is creativity.
  4. Mistakes are tools for learning.

 This information is from Toby Hemenway at

Learn more in our Permaculture Design Course, which meets one weekend a month, starting May 21 at South Seattle College.

A version of this blog post was printed in Seattle Tilth’s newsletter, Way to Grow, February-March 2015.

2 responses to “Passion for Permaculture

  1. I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked my interest.
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