Some say in brief that Permaculture is “to build sustainable human settlements”, but that is very generic, I like the description of a paragraph that gives us Bill Mollison in the back cover of “PC: A Designers’ manual” , which is the Bible in this field. I put it below:
Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems with have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order. Permaculture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms.
In short it is “designed” to produce places for human resources in the most synergistic way as possible, mimicking the nature. It no watering or spraying or anything else, and the diversity and productivity is enormous. In this design the external power input from fossil or other resources is very low or zero. The work to be done (except the initial start-up that requires some time before the design is consolidated) is very low or zero too.
This is largely edible forest. Their resources are collected, do not grow in the conventional manner.
Although this movement initially arose very focused on “permanent agriculture” has been extended to other areas that fit with their philosophy, as the open source SW and HW, appropriate technologies (referring to technologies simple and accessible enough to be accessible to people, for example a hydraulic ram), LETs and local exchange, etc..
The PC was developed in the 70’s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Australia. It has spread widely throughout the world and now even more with Internet.