An Ethical Ecological Design Philosophy

In short, permaculture is an ethical design process for designing systems to meet human needs, modeled off of the regenerative and resilient properties of nature.  This process can be applied to Agriculture, Landscape Design, Architecture, Community Planning, Energy Theory, Transportation and much more . 

The term was coined by Australian ecologist Bill Mollison and his student David Holmgrem in 1978 as a combination of the words “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture”.

Permaculture systems are designed to create an abundance of resources in sustainable and regenerative ways to fulfill humanities needs. By making small adjustments,  and planning functional interconnections between the different aspects of a yard, farm, home or community, dramatic regeneration and restoration can take place without the use of energy intensive industrial solutions. It is through the processes that as Mollison says "the Designer becomes the Recliner"

Holmgren's 12 Principles and 3 Ethics Logos

The Edible Forest Garden

The layers of a forest that, if designed correctly can increase production while minimizing work.  from Edible Forest Gardens 1 & 2 by Dave Jacke

The layers of a forest that, if designed correctly can increase production while minimizing work. from Edible Forest Gardens 1 & 2 by Dave Jacke

The Edible Forest Garden is a well known element of Permaculture practices which embodies the epitome of its design methodologies and principles. It is designed so that each element within the garden is able to support the rest of the system to its highest potential by accounting for all its functions within an ecosystem and utilizing them to minimize work from humans. It's result is nothing short of a Garden of Eden. 


Design Principles

Although Pemaculture’s application is most commonly acknowledged as agricultural it teaches students how to design all aspects of society after these resilient and regenerative principles and ethics. 

The Permaculture Design Principles

  • Produce no waste
  • Use and value diversity
  • Cooperation and Positivism
  • Everything is connected to everything else.
  • Every Function is support by many Elements (Redundancy)
  • Every Element should serve many functions (Multiple Functions)
  • Everything Gardens
  • Use on site resources
  • Local Focus
  • We are Nature, working
  • Seven Generations
  • Small Scale intensive systems


  • Earth Care
  • People Care
  • Fare Share


   Geoff Lawton’s Greening of the Jordanian Desert      before

  Geoff Lawton’s Greening of the Jordanian Desert



The potential of modeling human systems after those of nature is limited only by our imagination.

The Cincinnati Permaculture Institute aims to grow Permaculture awareness and implementation here in our bioregion, the Ohio River Valley, as well as the Midwest, US and the Planet. It has grown out of and continues to grow with the support of the Cincinnati Permaculture Guild and its many diverse supporters and support organizations