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Books about Permaculture / Design

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2015 Permaculture Calendar with moon planting guide
Internationally relevant and filled with inspirational and thought provoking images that support and reinforce your values every day of the year. Including daily icons and moon phase times to guide your planting, and an example of a design principle for each month.

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NEW! The Permaculture Handbook:
Garden Farming for Town and Country

by Peter Bane, Foreword by David Holmgren
Price: $45, 2012, 608pp.
(Expected delivery of this book is June 2012)

Review the Table of Contents

The urban landscape has swallowed vast swaths of prime farmland across North America. Imagine how much more self-reliant our communities would be if 30 million acres of lawns were made productive again. Permaculture is a practical way to apply ecological design principles to food, housing, and energy systems; making growing fruits, vegetables and livestock easier and more sustainable.

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The Permaculture Handbook is a step-by-step, beautifully illustrated guide to creating resilient and prosperous households and neighborhoods, complemented by extensive case studies of three successful farmsteads and market gardens. This comprehensive manual casts garden farming as both an economic opportunity and a strategy for living well with less money.

It shows how, by mimicking the intelligence of nature and applying appropriate technologies such as solar and environmental design, permaculture can:

  • Create an abundance of fresh, nourishing local produce
  • Reduce dependence on expensive, polluting fossil fuels
  • Drought-proof our cities and countryside
  • Convert waste into wealth

Permaculture is about working with the earth and with each other to repair the damage of industrial overreach and to enrich the living world that sustains us. The Permaculture Handbook is the definitive, practical NorthAmerican guide to this revolutionary practice, and is a must-read for anyone concerned about creating food security, resilience and a legacy of abundance rather than depletion.

NEW! The Resilient Farm and Homestead:
An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach

by Ben Falk

$40, 205pp., 2013

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a manual for developing durable, beautiful, and highly functional human habitat systems fit to handle an age of rapid transition.

Ben Falk is a land designer and site developer whose permaculture-research farm has drawn national attention. The site is a terraced paradise on a hillside in Vermont that would otherwise be overlooked by conventional farmers as unworthy farmland. Falk's wide array of fruit trees, rice paddies (relatively unheard of in the Northeast), ducks, nuts, and earth-inspired buildings is a hopeful image for the future of regenerative agriculture and modern homesteading.

 
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The book covers nearly every strategy Falk and his team have been testing at the Whole Systems Research Farm over the past decade, as well as experiments from other sites Falk has designed through his off-farm consulting business. The book includes detailed information on earthworks; gravity-fed water systems; species composition; the site-design process; site management; fuelwood hedge production and processing; human health and nutrient-dense production strategies; rapid topsoil formation and remineralization; agroforestry/silvopasture/grazing; ecosystem services, especially regarding flood mitigation; fertility management; human labor and social-systems aspects; tools/equipment/appropriate technology; and much more, complete with gorgeous photography and detailed design drawings.

NEW! Permaculture Design: A Step-by-Step Guide
by Aranya
$25, 191pp, 2012

Developed from course worksheets that have been tested on students over time, Aranya's Permaculture Design leads you through the design process from beginning to end using clear explanations, flowcharts and diagrams.
Linking theory to practice, Aranya places the ethics, prinicples, philosophies, tools and techniques directly into the context of the process itself. While written for anyone with a basic grasp of permaculture, this book also has plenty to offer the more experienced designer.
Topics include:
Systems and patterns
Working as part of a design team
Land and non-land based design
Design frameworks
Site surveying and map making
Interviewing clients
Working with large client groups
Identifying functions
Choosing systems and elements
Placement and integration
Creating a design proposal
Project management
Presenting your ideas to clients

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Permaculture Pioneers: Stories from the new frontier
edited by Kerry Dawborn & Caroline Smith
$35, 2011, 364pp.
(Read Review - PDF)
This book explores social and inner change for sustainability, charting a history of the first three decades of permaculture, through the personal stories of Australian permaculturists. From permaculture co-originator David Holmgren, to ABC Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne, the authors span the generations and the continent.

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These stories represent the scope, depth and diversity of Australian permaculture. They explore some of the influences on those who have embraced it, record milestones and highlight recurring themes. The editors’ contributions and afterword by social ecologist Professor Stuart B Hill frame the stories in terms of transformation of the inner landscape of our minds and hearts, as the critical starting point for the outer change that is needed.

Like tough, resilient pioneer plants with their ability to grow in barren and hostile ground, social pioneers work courageously at the edges of accepted norms, bringing new ideas and opportunities. They build knowledge, experience and new perspectives – fertile soil for those who follow.

Included are stories from stories from David Holmgren, Terry White, Robyn Francis, Max Lindegger, Vries Gravestein, Jeff Nugent, Geoff Lawton, Russ Grayson, Fiona Campbell, Annemarie & Graham Brookman, Rosemary Morrow, Martha Hills, Janet Millington, Robin Clayfield, Alanna Moore, Naomi Coleman, Virginia Solomon, Ross Mars, Jill Finnane, Ian Lillington, Jane Scott, Josh Byrne, Tony Jansen, Morag Gamble and afterword by Stuart B. Hill

The Living Landscape, How to Read and Understand It
by Patrick Whitefield $38, 2009, 331pp.
(Read Review - PDF)

Patrick Whitefield is one of Europe’s foremost authors, teachers, and practitioners of temperate-climate permaculture. Patrick’s previous books include: Permaculture in a Nutshell, The Earth Care Manual, How To Make a Forest Garden, and Tipi Living.

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Patrick’s latest book shows you how to read the landscape and looks at what you can expect to find in woods, grassland, heath, moor, wetland, hedgerows and waysides.
At the heart of the book lies the process of succession – the way the landscape changes as soon as we relax our grip on it, how new plants colonise and new ecosystems develop. It explains how the fascinating blend of natural forces and human action creates the landscape around us, and enables us to see our surrounding in a way we have never seen them before. The Living Landscape shows how everything we see is a product of the living dance between the rocks beneath us, the thin layer of soil, the local climate, the plants and animals which inhabit the land and the people who have forged it into their own habitat.

The result of a lifetime spent in the countryside and twenty years of deliberate observation and note taking, the book reveals Patrick’s passion for the subject as well as his deep knowledge of it. The text is interspersed with line drawings and extracts from his notebooks, illustrating the various themes of the book with examples from all over Britain (and applicable to many temperate climate ecologies)
Although the book has a great relevance to permaculture – observing and understanding the existing landscape is an important part of the permaculture design process – it has a much wider appeal. It’s for anyone who spends time in the countryside, whether professionally or for pleasure.

“Patrick’s book can open your eyes. Through The Living Landscape he inspires people to reconnect with the land as a living entity, develop an active relationship with nature and the countryside and experience it first hand.” - Ben Law, woodlander, author, teacher.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer
by Donella Meadows
$20, 2008, 240pp.

“Dana Meadows’ exposition in this book exhibits a degree of clarity and simplicity that can only be attained by one who profoundly and honestly understands the subject at hand--in this case systems modeling. Many thanks to Diana Wright for bringing this extra legacy from Dana to us.” —Herman Daly, Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland at College Park

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“When I read Thinking in Systems I am reminded of the enormity of the gap between systemic thinkers and policy makers. If this book helps narrow the gap, it will be Dana’s greatest contribution.” —Lester Brown, founder and President, Earth Policy Institute

“Dana Meadows was one of the smartest people I ever knew, able to figure out the sensible answer to almost any problem. This book explains how she thought, and hence is of immense value to those of us who often wonder what she'd make of some new problem. A classic.” —Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

“Thinking in Systems is required reading for anyone hoping to run a successful company, community, or country. Learning how to think in systems is now part of change-agent literacy. And this is the best book of its kind.” —Hunter Lovins, founder and  President of Natural Capital Solutions and coauthor of Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

The Holistic Life: Sustainability Through Permaculture
by Ian Lillington, 144pp, 2007, $19 $25 Special Sale Price!

In this timely book, the author sets out the vision for a sustainable planet as well as methods we can all use to get there. The time has now come to get very serious about using alternatives and conserving what we already have, rather than living as if there is an unlimited supply of what we all know to be limited resources. Within this book are simple starting points which, when implemented, will be a small but significant change.

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Some of the subjects covered will help you see a world of new possibilities:
A different way of seeing the world; Meeting new challenges; Permaculture - an antidote to consumer society; Feeding ourselves; Growing your own; Personal & household strategies for sustainable living; Using less fossil fuel - understanding our energy addiction; Villages within the city & community gardens; Permaculture principles.     
THE EARTH CARE MANUAL
A Permaculture Handbook For Britain & Other Temperate Countries

by Patrick Whitefield

$75, 2004,  480pp, 206 black and white photos, 43 color photos, 145 line diagrams & numerous tables.

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Seven years in the making, this is the long awaited study of permaculture specifically for cooler climates. It takes a detailed view of designing sustainable systems both large and small, urban and rural.Defining permaculture and placing it in the context of the green movement, this important book is divided into three parts. Part One: The principles underlying permaculture as applied to soil, fertility, water, climate, microclimate, energy and materials. Part Two: Applying permaculture to buildings, gardens, orchards, farming, woodlands and biodiversity. Part Three: The permaculture design process in action, how to develop your home or project on permaculture lines, plus many useful skills and techniques. Scrupulously researched and written in an accessible style by Patrick Whitefield, one of Europe’s foremost permaculture teachers, designers and author of How to Make a Forest Garden and Permaculture in a Nutshell. It is lavishly illustrated, filled with case studies and useful contacts.
PERMACULTURE: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability
by David Holmgren Co-Originator of the Permaculture Concept
2003, 286pp, $29

This book builds on the extraordinary success of the permaculture concept and global permaculture movement (over the last 25 years), to provide a more cerebral and controversial contribution to the sustainability debate.

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David Holmgren is an ecological pioneer destined to have a major influence on permaculture's evolution.
"If the 'Permaculture Principles' that David Holmgren discusses in this extremely important book were applied to all that we do, we would be well on the road to sustainability, and beyond." Professor Stuart B Hill (Foundation Chair of the Social Ecology University of Western Sydney)

Are there ways to live within nature's limits while providing a secure future for our children and justice for everyone? We think so. Read this book.

Gaia's Garden 2nd Edition:
A Guide to Home-Scale
Permaculture

by Toby Hemenway
2001, 238pp, $30

The first book published in the US in a generation to embrace ecological design of the home landscape, Gaia's Garden is a snapshot of Permaculture in America at the turn of the century. Toby Hemenway is a scientist, trained in genetics, who shares with his readers his rapturous enjoyment of the garden.

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Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening—which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants—can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including: Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure Catching and conserving water in the landscape Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods

This revised and updated edition also features a new chapter on urban permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful. Best of all, once it’s established, an ecological garden will reduce or eliminate most of the backbreaking work that’s needed to maintain the typical lawn and garden.

Basics of Permaculture Design
by Ross Mars, 2005, $25, 170 pages

The Basics of Permaculture Design, first published in Australia in 1996, is an excellent introduction to the principles of permaculture, design processes, and the tools needed for designing sustainable gardens, farms, and larger communities.
Packed with useful tips, clear illustrations, and a wealth of experience, it guides you through designs for gardens, urban and rural properties, water harvesting systems, animal systems, permaculture in small spaces like balconies and patios, farms, schools, and ecovillages. This is both a do-it-yourself guide for the enthusiast and a useful reference for permaculture designers.

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Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally

by Robert Kourik; Foreword by Rosalind Creasy
1986, $49, 45 b&w photographs, 204 illustrations, 382 pp
 

First published in 1986, this classic is back in print by popular demand. It is the authoritative text on edible landscaping, featuring a step-by-step guide to designing a productive environment using vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs for a combination of ornamental and culinary purposes. It includes descriptions of plants for all temperate habitats, methods for improving soil, tree pruning styles, and gourmet recipes using low-maintenance plants. There are sections on attracting beneficial insects with companion plants and using planting to shelter your home from erosion, heat, wind, and cold.

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Introduction to Permaculture
by Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay.
2nd printing, 2000. 218pp. $38
Out of stock (again) :-(

The basic argument for permanent agriculture: how to feed and house yourself in any climate with the least use of land, energy, and repetitive labor. Supersedes Permaculture One and Two. Topics in this book include:
- Energy-efficient site analysis, planning and design methods
- House placement and design for template, dryland and tropical regions

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- Urban permaculture: garden layouts, land access and community funding systems
- Using fences, trellis, greenhouse and shadehouse to best effect
- Chicken and pig forage systems; tree crops and pasture integration for stock
- Orchards and home woodlots for temperate, arid and tropical climates
- Permaculture gardens: energy-saving designs and techniques
- How to influence microclimate around the house and garden
- Large section on selected plant species lists, with climate tolerance, heights and uses
Introduccion a la Permacultura
por Bill Mollison con Reny Mia Slay
1994, 202pp, $28

Principios y ejemplos para disenar pueblos, casas, y huertos sostenibles. Traducido de la edicion ingles original, contiene las mismas ilustraciones y listas de plantas y tambien un glosario de palabras que son unicas en la Permacultura.

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Permaculture: A Designer's Manual
by Bill Mollison
Now back in print! Order now while they last.

1988, 576 pp. $105 Global treatment of cultivated ecosystems. Resource for all landscapes and climates. Lucid illustrations by Andrew Jeeves bring Mollison's concepts to life. Essential, in-depth look at earth repair and practical design. This is the definitive Permaculture design manual in print since 1988. It is one of the primary textbooks and curriculum for the 72-hour Certificate course in Permaculture Design.

Written for teachers, students and designers, it follows on and greatly enlarges on the initial introductory texts, permaculture One (1978) and Permaculture Two (1979).

Very little of the material found in this book is reproduced from the former texts. It covers design methodologies and strategies for both urban and rural applications, describing property design and natural farming techniques.

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Permaculture in a Nutshell
by Patrick Whitefield

1993. 75 pp. $13   The perfect gift to introduce friends & family to permaculture. Brief, concise, comprehensive, it shows how permaculture works in the city, the country and on the farm. Explores ways in which people can work together to recreate real communities.

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Earth User's Guide to Permaculture: 2nd Edition
by Rosemary Morrow and Rob Allsop
2006. 264pp., $35

This completely revised and updated edition of Rosemary Morrow's highly successful Earth User's Guide to Permaculture is a straight-forward manual of practical permaculture. Fundamentally, permaculture is design science and in this new edition design is emphasized. This book will be most beneficial if you apply it to the space where you live and work. The same principles apply for becoming more sustainable and living lightly whether you live in a small city apartment with a balcony, in a house with a garden in the suburbs, or on acreage in the country.

Included in this new edition are chapters on seed-saving, permaculture at work, integrated pest management, information about domestic as well as rural water usage, a non-destructive approach towards dealing with weeds and wildlife, and designing to withstand a disaster.

Earth User's Guide to Permaculture is suitable for beginners as well as experienced permaculture practitioners looking for new ideas in moving towards greater self-reliance and sustainable living.

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Earth User's Guide to Teaching Permaculture: 2nd Edition
by Rosemary Morrow
2006. 264pp., $35

Permaculture design is a powerful tool for creating systems that meet our human needs but also support the ecosystem as a whole. It applies ecological principles to designing gardens, farms, community projects, even entire human settlements. The standard seventy-two-hour Permaculture Design (PDC) course is taught all over the world to farmers, gardeners, design professionals, and world changers who want to practically create a healthier, more equitable planet.

Rosemary Morrow offers evidence for permaculture’s effectiveness and describes each unit of the PDC’s curriculum. This fully revised and updated edition contains a wealth of technical information for teaching permaculture design and includes new findings in emerging disciplines such as regenerative agriculture. The Earth User’s Guide to Teaching Permaculture is of key relevance to teachers and students of architecture, landscape design, ecology, and other disciplines like geography, regenerative agriculture, agro-ecology, and agroforestry, as well as permaculture design. It leads the reader step by step through a recommended course structure, providing a flexible approach that encourages the adaptation of the materials for specific bioregional and cultural conditions. With advice on teaching aids, topics for class discussion, extensive reading lists, and tips on teaching adults, this book is bound to be an invaluable friend to the experienced and novice teacher alike.

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A Pattern Language:
Towns - Building - Construction

by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein with Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King, Shlomo Angel
1977, 1172pp, $65

A working document for a new theory of architecture, building, and planning which forms the basis for a new traditional post-industrial architecture created by people. It introduces the archetypal language which allows lay person to design for themselves. "Brilliant....Here's how to design or redesign any space you're living or working in--from metropolis to room. Consider what you want to happen in the space, and then page through this book. Its radically conservative observations will spark, enhance, organize your best ideas, and a wondrous home, workplace, town will result"--San Francisco Chronicle

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"I believe this to be perhaps the most important book on architectural design published this century. Every library, every school, every environmental action group, every architect, and every first-year student should have a copy." Tony Ward, Architectural Design
Seeing Nature: Deliberate Encounters with the Visible World
by Paul Krafel
1999, 208 pp, $20

"[This book] is a gift . . . With curiosity, wit, and a spare and graceful style, Krafel notes why birds in flocks land as they do, how islands can move upstream in a river, how kelp forests, swaying gently, break the force of the sea's power, how tundra plants create whole ecosystems on bare rock from mere specks of life. Yet there are no long-winded sermons about the woods, or cute anthropomorphizations of animals.

The book's economical, unsentimental style is part of its originality."—Barbara Damrosch
Seeing Nature is a series of true, parable-like stories that offer tools for understanding relationships in the natural world. Many of the stories take the reader to wild landscapes, including canyons, tundra, and mountain ridges, while others contemplate the human-made world: water-diversion trenches and supermarket check-out lines.

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