It's a term coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holgrem in the 1970's and relying on* "conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems." If you practice permaculture you design a property with useful plants including nut trees, berry shrubs, fruit trees and vines, herbaceous perennials that yield root crops, etc. You plant some annuals but not huge fields of such crops that must be replanted each year, transported many miles (crossing other big crops coming the other way) and which can't continue without us.
*(From an essay about permaculture that was part of an ethnobotany class at Kenyon College, Ohio)
Karen Bovio and her son are embarking on a journey into permaculture planting at her nursery. They are planting but also investigating which permanent plants to place, how many, and what to expect from them. They're asking for advice now at the Forum toward one part of the project. That topic is serviceberry trees and hardy filberts...
Now you know that forum topic goes much deeper.
And now you know how Steven and Janet developed articles: Begin with an idea, learn by doing or first hand from do-ers, then put that in a report that may give the next do-er a leg up.
We hope you'll join the discussion at the Forum, and stay tuned for our report.
In June, everyone chows down on serviceberries. (Except perhaps the people who don't realize how delicious the fruits are!) That's part of the point of permaculture, that there's more depth to the ecosystem if it consists of a variety of perennial plants, with more chance that can go on without big, annual, unending investments of seed, labor and fuel.