Why this Primer?

In July of 1995 we took a Permaculture course sponsored by the Institute of Bioregional Studies at the Ovens' Natural Park in Nova Scotia. The two week event was choreographed and informed by Michael Pilarski and Garry Lean, our primary instructors. The learning experience spilled over into all hours of the day as students, instructors, park owners, and guests interacted with and synergized each others' energies. At the end of the two weeks we had gained a new perspective on our lives, many new friends and a wealth of notes and references.

It is the latter, the volumes of notes and references, that this web site attacks. Quite frankly, we were stuffed-full! We had just been through the equivalent of two college courses in two weeks and were suffering from information overload. We gave the material some incubation time and came back to it. We finally decided that the material could be organized into the four major areas around which this Primer is organized. The Principles -- which are the big ideas guiding decisions and helping in evaluation of design alternatives. The Components -- which are the physical and social elements placed in the design to accomplish its purpose. The Concepts -- which are those ideas that guide placement of components to meet the principles. The Associated Movements -- which are other areas of interest having information that may inform our decision making.

We have found this arrangement useful for consolidating our notes and thoughts, developing a filing system for material we collect, and dealing with the diversity of permaculture information. This web site is an update and expansion of our 1995 draft. It contains revisions of our original note material and new information we have developed since the course. It once had a Resources section, but with the development of on-line search potential our list soon became irrelevant. We hope that this primer will be of use to others. It is an evolving document and we welcome comments, discussion, corrections and additions.

Dan Earle and Sue Hutchins
[email protected]