Perma-Culture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren
In 1974 David Holmgre met Bill Mollison at the College of Advanced Education in Hobart. The two found they shared a strong interest in the relationship between human and natural systems. Their wide-ranging conversations and gardening experiences encouraged Holmgren to write the manuscript that was to be published in 1978 as Permaculture One.
"I wrote the manuscript, which was based partly on our constant discussions and on our practical working together in the garden and on our visits to other sites in Tasmania... I used this manuscript as my primary reference for my thesis, which I submitted and was passed in 1976." - David Holmgren
The book is a mixture of insights relating to agriculture, landscape architecture and ecology. The relationships between these disciplines were elaborated into a novel design system termed permaculture. Although the title clearly owes something to J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (first published 1929), Holmgren's chief theoretical inspiration was the energy dynamics of American ecologist Howard T. Odum (Environment, Power and Society, 1971). The same book was promoted by David M. Scienceman as a platform for a scientific political party.
According to Holmgren, "(t)he word permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison and myself in the mid-1970s to describe an 'integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man'. A more current definition of permaculture, which reflects the expansion of focus implicit in Permaculture One, is 'consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs'. People, their buildings and the ways they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent (sustainable) agriculture has evolved into one of permanent (sustainable) culture."
Permaculture One was far more successful than anticipated, as it seemed to meet a need of the emerging environmentalist counterculture looking for something positive and substantial to align with. It has been published in five languages, but is now out of print and of mainly historical value, having been superseded and refined in later works.
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