(adjective) Traveling from place to place, most often related to labour or a trade; itinerant farm worker, itinerant priest. Learn more.


Itinerant Permaculture

Download:  "Why I-Pc?"

One can do Itinerant Permaculture without making a big commitment to a life changing experience. Wherever you are is the place to start working with Permaculture. If you are on the road or living where you were born almost all that is offered here is applicable. If your trip is for a week or a year you will find things here that will assist you. You do not have to do full scale courses or have a prearranged schedule. Itinerant Permaculture can be what happens from spontaneous meetings, from paths crossing by chance, from volunteering to assist on a farm or in a community. Permaculture is the toolbox you carry with you while traveling. It is the way you view and understand the road and the world. It is an aspect of all that you do, from digging a hole to building a community. It need not be explicit, and really should only be so if the situation encourages it. The point is that to create a sustainable human culture we need to infuse sustainability in all that we do moment to moment, whether on the road or at home.

As a career, or a component of a career, this work is extremely rewarding and extremely challenging, both on the personal and professional levels. It is, in my opinion, a mode of teaching and an aspect of a career that one should put considerable thought, care and self-reflection into before venturing onto the road. Once you have taken your first steps in this direction you will quickly realize that it is an involved and consuming prospect, especially if it is an extended trip.

One thing I have learned from years of doing this is that you have to primarily be doing this for yourself, not for some altruistic reason. You have to be doing this because it is what you want to do. If you do Itinerant Permaculture because you want to save the world (and who doesn’t), because it will look good on your CV/resume, because you think it romantic or sexy than you are in for some rude awakenings and hard times. Now these awakenings and times will likely be there anyway, but with the appropriate placement of your reason for being on the road the challenges of the road will be better understood and, hopefully, you’ll have the foundation from which to traverse it.

It is immensely rewarding work. It is also immensely subtle in what and in what ways it demands of one. In this section I hope to give a sense of most of what is involved in Itinerant Permaculture. This section is not complete and may never be so. I hope to be adding to it over the next year or so as I learn to express all that is involved. There is material to download and a submission form if you wish to contribute material for downloading.

What is Permaculture

Permaculture is a design approach to create regenerative, sustainable systems. Envisioned over 25 years ago by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, from Australia, it has now spread to over 120 countries. Though its conception was as a land based system, its effectiveness has moved it into urban settings and to being applied in various social, political, and economic environments.

Permaculture was created through the synthesis of many design systems, with the emphasis on nature as the penultimate one. Similarly, the insights and value of traditional and indigenous practices and knowledge are acknowledged along with the necessity of adapting these with our current understandings and the appropriate technologies of today's world. What Permaculture seeks to do is to create three-dimensional designs that are site specific and sustainable. By bringing together elements (orchard, water system, farmer, cow, etc.), techniques (organic framing, natural building, etc.) and strategies (microclimate, relative placement, etc.) a system is designed or altered based on regenerative relationships. It is these regenerative, beneficial relationships that give a system complexity, three dimensionality, and thus, resiliency.

The world can be looked at as the convergence of many different flows. From ‘natural’ (wind, water, soil, etc.) to human (social, resources, transportation, etc.) to invisible (economic, information, etc.) which interact and create patterns. These flows form our world. Recognizing this, Permaculture teaches Pattern Literacy and Pattern Application. This, along with Sector Analysis (site specific flow mapping), Zonation (a tool for structuring time) and other techniques and tools, Permaculture focuses on creating regenerative relationships that are the key to resilient, sustainable systems.

From its inception Permaculture has quickly spread to over One hundred and twenty countries where farms and other sites are successfully applying its' ideas, techniques and strategies. As further testament to its applicability, Permaculture is now being applied in many urban and suburban areas. In many developed countries these applications hold much promise for dealing with the many issues associated with mass populations.

Permaculture in the last few years has been moving into the invisible structures. In the United States a Permaculture credit union has been formed and 'green' investment firms are using Permaculture principles and ideas to create resilient, sustainable investment systems. Environmentalists and social activists are using Permaculture to give depth and complexity to their approaches to many issues we are dealing with today. These applications are possible because Permaculture is a design system that focuses on relationship and not so much on object.

Permaculture is a multi-faceted, in depth design system that will help us create appropriate, site-specific designs that are both sustainable and regenerative.

Permaculture principles are a list of attitudes, approaches, and actions that are practical and not system specific. These along with certain tools and techniques allow for a holistic approach and interaction with any type of system. As a tool of analysis it is an excellent way to look at existing programs, strategies, and interventions to assess their interactions, linkages, and success'. It is a way to reach an understanding of the various influences and flows involved in a system, be it self help groups, village, or organization. Second, it provides insights and principles by which to intervene or interact with a system. As there is neither a truly independent system, nor sterile 'environment' this aspect is of significant importance. Thirdly, as we have already stated, Permaculture is an excellent approach for designing resilient, site-specific systems, be it disaster preparedness, HIV/AIDS, or women's empowerment.

It is important to understand that Permaculture is not so much about giving you new and improved ideas, techniques, and strategies, though there is some of that. What Permaculture does is allow for a deeper understanding of the situation at hand and, with its principles and strategies, a more holistic, effective way to interact with or design a system. What Permaculture offers are skills and principles by which we build our awareness of why or why not something was successful. Through this insight we can build on what is successful and modify others to become more successful.

Stepping up another level, Permaculture is an excellent way to weave together the different parts of an organization so that a unity and synergy can be created. In this way unforeseen benefits and ease will raise within the system.