Originally, the word ‘permaculture’ is the contraction of ‘permanent agriculture’.

Bill Mollison, one of the founders of the permaculture concept together with David Holmgren, defines permaculture as “the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.” It is a concept that seeks “the harmonious integration of landscape, people & appropriate technologies, providing food, shelter, energy and other needs in a sustainable way”. Thus, permaculture is “a philosophy and an approach to land use which works with natural rhythms and patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, water and soil management, and human needs into intricately connected and productive communities”.

Thus, permaculture is about establishing self-sustaining productive agricultural ecosystems that mimic and work with,

and not against, nature in order to remain abundant and provide people with their food and other basic needs while replenishing and nourishing the natural resources base for as long as possible.

Much of a permaculture design is therefore drawn from how local natural systems work, incorporating a diversity of species and interrelations between species in the agricultural ecosystem so that it continuously keeps evolving as it occurs in nature. When correctly designed, such a system will, like a natural ecosystem, become increasingly diverse and self-sustaining.

Another key aspect of permaculture designs is to make the most of the resources at disposal by minimizing waste and maximising potential. Any output can be used or recycled; any problem has its solution in the system.

At Ukuvuna the aim is to establish an entrepreneurial system that is ecologically sound, economically profitable and socially caring, for now and the future.


Permaculture is based on three ethical foundations that all aim at enhancing and promoting life sustainably:

Earth Care

Looking after the Earth and everything that lives on it will ensure it will in turn look after us. This is why we all need to create and reach meaningful Landscape Goals.

People Care

Ubuntu comes from the basic and powerful principle that we need to look after each other. This is why we all need to create and reach meaningful Quality of Life goals.

Fair Share

We only take what we need and ensure that others too may live healthy and prosperous lives. Produce surplus and distribute ethically. This is why we all need to create and reach meaningful Means of Production goals.

Principles of Permaculture

- Plan for your future
- Observe and interact
- Work with others
- Everything is in a relationship
- Catch and store energy

- Zero waste and erosion
- Right to food and seeds
- Design for peace, food, seeds and cash
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
- Integrate rather than segregate

- Use small and slow solutions
- Use and value diversity
- Creatively use and respond to change
- Place elements at the right place at the right time
- Everything must have a purpose


Permaculture has proven to be a successful practical approach worldwide to design sustainable land-use systems in the face of the current food, water, energy and climate crises. It has been a tool for creating Jobs in Southern Africa through establishing private entrepreneurships like NGOs, self-help businesses, consultancies etc

As permaculture principles are based on the principles of nature sustainable living, they can be implemented under most, poor environment, climatic, geographical, cultural situations . Thus today, permaculture principles are being applied all around the world to create sustainable designs for human settlements and agricultural production: from large-scale commercial farms to small-scale subsistence urban gardens, From commercial business to community based entrepreneurial. From city farms managed by urban communities in American big cities to smallholder community plots in Africa.

In Southern Africa, where land degradation and recurring droughts jeopardise food security and water supply for most households, permaculture provides low-cost production enhancing techniques that help build food, water and energy self-sufficiency as well as income generation towards sustainable poverty alleviation at household and community levels. It can be implemented both in rural and urban environments. Permaculture also offers a bridge between traditional knowledge systems and new scientific knowledge, which is essential in order to build resilience to climatic changes.

Several organisations are now successfully promoting permaculture in Southern Africa, including:

●     Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre - Visit Site
●     Chikukwa permaculture - Visit Site
●     PORET Permaculture - Visit Site
●     Tsuro - Visit Site
●     ReSCOPE Seeding Schools Programme - Visit Site
●     Retsogile - Visit Site
●     Happy toes - Visit Site
●     Waaipoort - Visit Site
●     Berg-en-Dal - Visit Site
●     Permaculture design - Visit Site
●     Permaculture South Africa - Visit Site
●     Hope Farm - Visit Site