Today, we want to share you with you our 7 Best Permaculture Books we recommend to anyone starting out on the journey to regenerative farming or indeed setting up a simple no till garden in your own back yard.
Before you jump on the list, lets first get a grasp of what Permaculture is.
What Is Permaculture?
Permaculture (also known as “permanent agriculture”) is an environmentally conscious approach to farming, gardening, and overall land management. It acknowledges why soil is important and that ecosystems are naturally diverse, sustainable, and ever-changing.
Working alongside nature rather than against it without doubt the single most effective approach to ensure our food’s security, food quality and protects our systems of food farming.
The term ”Permaculture” was coined by Bill Mollison, a brilliant Australian researcher and field biologist. He reimagined what agricultural practices could be.
Today, Mollison is renowned as the “father of permaculture,” along with David Holmgren, who he collaborated with in the late 1970s. You will find some of their most beloved books on this list below!
According to Mollison and Holmgren, the fundamental principles of permaculture include:
- Observe and interact.
- Catch and store energy.
- Obtain a yield.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback.
- Use and value renewable resources and services.
- Produce no waste.
- Soil Conservation
- Design from patterns to details.
- Integrate rather than segregate.
- Use small and slow solutions.
- Use and value diversity.
- Use edges and value the marginal.
- Creatively use and respond to change.
Best Books To Read and Learn About Permaculture
Since prioritizing our soil health is more vital than ever before, new organic farmers and budding no till, no dig gardeners must understand the key principles and long term benefits of permaculture.
We have compiled a list of our 7 Best Permaculture Books which we have treasured over the years. All of these permaculture books are both informative and engaging to help you get started along the journey of work with Mother Nature.
Author: Bill Mollison
Summary: Written by none other than the “father of permaculture” himself, this book provides readers with an informative yet easy understanding of the concept of permaculture. His wisdom displays far more than a simple how-to book, reviewing the concept through a series of pamphlets he first drafted in the early 1990s. It is very similar to something you would find in a university permaculture intro class, hence why it is often required reading in certain agricultural courses.
What We Like About This Permaculture Book: We think that this book is one of the best places to start when learning about permaculture since it is packed with loads of easy to understand information and beautiful illustrations by Reny Mia Slay.
Author: Darrell Frey
Summary: This book details how to operate a small-scale local farm through the author’s personal experience. Located in Three Sisters Farm, near Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania, this 5-acre farm houses a solar greenhouse, potting room, poultry housing, and other growing facilities. This successful permaculture project aimed to promote more energy-efficient farming methods without using fossil fuels, especially during the winter with harsh weather conditions.
What We Like About This Permaculture Book: This book serves as a guide and testimony that an individual can successfully manage a small-scale farm, even during difficult weather conditions, to guarantee your food security.
Author: Bill Mollison
Summary: Another one of Mollison’s prized works, this book dives into the specifics of designing an eco-friendly garden through permaculture. It is very detailed and unlike a step-by-step guide as one might expect based on the title. He also reviews different natural resources and climates in separate chapters, explaining what practices are optimal for each.
What We Like About This Permaculture Book: We suggest reading any permaculture book written by Bill Mollison as he is an expert in his field. This book, in particular, was enjoyable from start to finish!
Author: Toby Hemenway
Summary: This book provides an excellent overview of permaculture in an approachable tone. Hemenway highlights the critical elements of permaculture laid out by Mollison while providing relevant case studies. He also gives many helpful tips on designing an ecological garden from scratch, using his personal experiences with his own garden as a reference.
What We Like About This Permaculture Book: It is an easy read despite its length, giving the reader great background on permaculture and revealing how to put it into practice in your garden through a first-hand account.
Author: David Holmgren
Summary: While Mollison set the foundation for permaculture, his partnership with David Holmgren took the concept even further in their debut non-fiction book Permaculture One. After their success, Holmgren released this comprehensive analysis of the principles of permaculture (as seen in the intro), dedicating a chapter to each.
What We Like About This Permaculture Book: Holmgren explains the philosophies of permaculture incredibly well. However, this book may seem a little confusing or overwhelming to newbies. Thus, we recommend it as secondary reading after getting the basics down from one of the other books on this list.
Author: Sepp Holzer
Summary: In this book, Sepp Holzer shares his knowledge of permaculture and how he put the concept into practice on his unique mountainside farm in Austria, situated 1500 meters above sea level. He describes his farming methods in detail, including how he integrated ponds, waterways, and terraces into his system, some of which he built himself. Holzer also wrote about how he incorporated animals on his organic farm.
What We Like About This Permaculture Book: Holzer not only explains his experience with permaculture over the years and what he has learned from it but also provides names of fruits and vegetation that he personally found to yield the best results in this style of farming.
Author: Christopher Shein
Summary: After starting dozens of community and market gardens, Christopher Shein shares his knowledge of permaculture and developing an edible ecosystem. His tips are incredibly beneficial to any food gardener, particularly his chapters on “building soil” and “permaculture edibles,” in which he covers which crops to choose for your ecosystem.
What We Like About This Permaculture Book: It is a straightforward read with tons of useful information and vibrant photographs, perfect for home gardeners who want to learn the basics of permaculture before getting started.
How and Where Can I Read These Permaculture Books?
All of these permaculture books are available for purchase on Amazon.com, also providing the option to download them directly onto your Kindle (or mobile application). We are also sure you can find a copy in the agriculture section at Barnes and Noble or your local book store.
Looking to learn more on the subject of Low Impact Food Production, Soil Conservation and Regenerative Agriculture? Check out our article on our Top 5 Books on Regenerative Agriculture which is our five go-to, easy to read titles we highly recommend to anyone looking to lean more on this critically important topic.
- Permaculture is an environmentally conscious approach to farming, gardening, and overall land management.
- The term ”Permaculture” was coined by Australian bioligist Bill Mollison.
- Our 7 Best Permaculture Books are:
- Introduction To Permaculture
- Bioshelter Market Garden: A Permaculture Farm
- Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual
- Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
- Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability
- Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture
- The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide To Permaculture