Permaculture (and why it is my new way…)

Editor’s Note: A recent PDC graduate tells us about her post-PDC thoughts below. If you’re watching current world events, and feeling the need to get back to a sound platform of existence (on all levels – practically, physically and spiritually), then we still have a few seats left on the November  2 two-week PDC course at PRI’s headquarters – Zaytuna Farm, NSW, Australia. This course will be taught by Geoff & Nadia Lawton.

Photo: Craig Mackintosh

Hello, my name is Daphne Romani Drew, architect and recent PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate course) graduate from Geoff Lawton’s course at Quail Springs, California. I would like to share how permaculture has changed my life (from the inside out) and why others should consider it too.

As I sit here, trying to re-adjust to the “pre-course” daily routine, it just does not seem to make sense anymore. I realize that something very deep has taken place within me during the course. The primordial inner connection with Mother Nature, that had been long forgotten and that I was so badly longing for, has been re-established. It is that “something more meaningful” that I felt was missing from my life. Now I am working hard to adjust to this “new me” and to create a more conscious way of living for myself – one that is in tune with nature’s rhythms and patterns.

Permaculture is packed with very simple yet deep truths that are all linked to each other by the threads of “common sense” and “logic” – things that seems to be completely missing from society and the way it is organized today. It is this simplicity that allowed permaculture to touch me so deeply.

It is practically impossible to characterize Permaculture into a simple definition. The word itself was born out of 2 words, permanent agriculture, or permanent culture. It is mainly a design system, but as one starts learning about it, it soon becomes clear that it is far more than that.

The design aspect is to be applied to our living environments, creating a system that can completely support us and in which we, in return, can nourish the earth in return.
Its foundation is in fact built upon values, ethics and principles that, once absorbed, really transform people’s lives from the core. These values and ethical principles tap into human being’s basic nature and a natural desire to have meaningful interactions and to belong. It really advocates that individuals take responsibility not only for their own lives but also for those of future generations to come. It provides solid and positive solutions to a multiplicity of issues through a multitude of disciplines.

The principle of cooperation is one of the main concepts as it lies at the very basis of the design process. Cooperation is promoted by allowing various living systems to interact.
Permaculture operates in fact by arranging elements in strategic locations and relationships so that nature can perform at its best and so that every function, resource or waste can be put to work in the system. This is done to minimize energy inputs and pollution and it supports self-regeneration.

The most appealing aspects of permaculture for me are:

  • Its accessibility: anybody can do it and significantly improve the quality and richness of their own lives as well as contribute to making a difference in the world;
  • Its re-generative nature: Once a system is established it can maintain itself with minimum human input. Also the simple creation of such a system will improve overall ecological health all around it;
  • Scale of applicability: the permaculture principles and practices can be applied to any scale project, from an urban terrace or dirt patch to vast expansive acreage. It can help enhance the lives of people in first world countries as well as save lives in third world countries;
  • Community: through applying these principles a community can naturally form around common values, ethics and goals of land stewardship. People often gather together out of need, something that makes the community more stable than when it is born simply out of intention.

What this permaculture course has given me is hope! But it has also given me an understanding of the current world condition and tools through which I can operate and contribute to making a difference. What I heard is “You can do it! Here is how! Go out there and get started!”

Thanks to permaculture I feel that, in a world situation like today’s, where there is plenty of evidence that the way societies throughout the world have been “conducting business” is not actually working, one is not left feeling helpless, but empowered. Permaculture has given me a breath of fresh air.
This does not mean that it is a “magic” or effortless solution and that we can now rest assured.
To me this just means “let the work begin!”.

I am ready to take responsibility for my own existence and I am looking forward to help others do the same.
I quickly learned that there are a lot people that have been locally active in this field for many years and decades. I admire and honor these brave souls that have been pioneering these principles and I want to jump in and contribute to their hard work.

It seems like the time when permaculture will get into main stream thinking is fast approaching and perhaps more of us will be ready to help each other adjust to a simpler, yet richer, lifestyle. At this point in time I am not exactly sure what role is waiting for me in this arena. But much is in motion behind the curtains and I am sure it will soon unfold before my eyes.With the many years experience I have working in the architectural field in the area I feel I will be able to integrate permaculture principles into my daily work and I am looking forward to it.

If you are intrigued by this design system and want to know more about how to improve your own quality of life (and that of your family, friends and neighbors). If you are interested in transforming your neighborhood into a community I encourage everyone to get started and get involved. A better quality of life is just around the corner. We are so blessed to live in an area where there are lots of opportunities to get involved and there is a large network of people to learn from. Through the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network or the local guild you can also learn of interesting new events coming through town.

Until next time…and hopefully I’ll see you all in a garden out there.

Sincerely and humbly


daphne (at)



2 thoughts on “Permaculture (and why it is my new way…)

  1. this story of awakening to the possibilities is a most encouraging event. the writer has had an epiphany and will seed others with the hope that has been seeded, as we can see in her piece. now we are faced with a cascading need for the newly awakened to bring fresh imagined solutions to the re-vitalization of our existing social and material infrastructures
    thank you, Daphne, for sharing your awakening with us and , yes, i look forward to seeing you in the garden.
    a family that plays together, stays together.

  2. Seed the mind-gardens and fertilize their hearts…
    Mmmmmm if only we could stop trying to improve on this
    amazing life-system and learn form it and tap into it
    as you have so eloquently written.
    …Bravo Daphne…
    I am honored to know you and blessed with the wisdom
    I learn from and with you…Lauri

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