Activity 1.2: Ethics, Principles, Strategies, Techniques

Activity 1.2: Ethics, Principles, Strategies, Techniques


This diagram can provide a useful visual
for understanding key elements
that set direction for our design. 

The permaculture design approach starts with abstract ideas (ethics). Ideally our project and design goals are rooted in the ethics. 

Each sites’ design direction creates it own “path” influenced by ecological principles that suggest certain strategies. The principles are based in the observable, physical world of our natural and social environment. Ideally, these principles are well grounded in science and can be generalized across the entire world. 

Strategies become much more specific to the project’s resources, plus natural and cultural conditions. 

Techniques get very specific including details about methods, materials, implementation, budgets and labor.

Often one goal leads to a one or a few key principles to set direction. The strategies employed may be broad but techniques may be many and likely to shift or open to change as needed.

So if I my goal is to create ethically raised, healthy pork that also builds soil and biological health of the land (ETHICS) then…

I may be inspired by PRINCIPLES including “Integrate Rather Than Segregate” (Holmgren) and “Work with Nature, Not Against It.”(Mollison).

Thus rather than keeping pigs indoors confined to crowded pens with concrete floors, and no natural stimulation including from sun, rain, vegetation, fresh air and soil my STRATEGY will be to integrate them into woods and fields. I will observe and adapt their feed, paddock sizes, forage and herd sizes, etc. to fit innate, natural needs and behaviors

My TECHNIQUES will include choosing a breed that does well outdoors, maintaining a mix of grassland and woods, confined by electric fencing and rotated through 1/4 to 1/2 acres lots for durations based on the time of year, herd size, and soil/forage conditions. 

In this assignment:

1) Choose a system you want to create a permaculture design for. It may be chickens, forest gardening, rainwater catchment, vegetable garden, woodlot, pond, house, business, classroom, etc.

2) Use the questions below to guide your effort to develop your chosen system with the framework of ethics, principles, strategies, and techniques. 


What set of values might provide the basis for the system you have chosen?


What two permaculture principles best relate to your system? Why have you chosen these two? How do they help inform the design and implementation of your chosen system within your permaculture landscape?


What approaches or bigger concepts will help guide the design and implementation of your chosen system? Look to outside or parallel systems to permaculture for help. 


Name and describe two specific “recipes” toward achieving your system. Conduct research to inform your choices including evidence that these techniques lead to desired success.

Complete your assignment by submitting it on this page andby sharing with other participants the development of your system via our forum for the week.