Community Projects

Enhancing Permaculture Through Research

Bill Mollison and David Holmgren developed permaculture through a combination of years of study and observation, many late night discussions and practical testing in the field (in fact it was a garden!) What has emerged since is a powerful network of action learners busy putting permaculture theory into practice the world over. But can we do it better? Is there more to learn? I think there is. For many years the Permaculture Association has focussed on supporting learners and educators, but more recently we have begun to realise that to do this well we need to be doing more research. Research is essentially a refined learning method that gives us the capacity to understand how things work, how well different methods work, how we could improve practice, and what we might learn from others.

To get an understanding of who is already conducting permaculture research — either as academics, or as practitioners using a research approach in their project work — we have put together a series of surveys that will be rolled out over the next six months:

  • Survey 1: Who’s doing what?
  • Survey 2: What research is wanted?
  • Survey 3: How do researchers learn and communicate?
  • Survey 4: What do researchers think about a permaculture research protocol?

If you are involved in research we would be very pleased if you could spend 10-15 minutes filling in the first survey — — and forward this to others that may be interested. We will make results known as we go along via our website ( and present all the findings at the next IPC in Cuba. Many thanks in advance!

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