Author ORCID Identifier
Kaitlyn Spangler https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6684-6840
permaculture, definition, commodification, regenerative, Indigenous, reconciliation
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
The solutions-based design framework of permaculture exhibits transformative potential, working to holistically integrate natural and human systems toward a more just society. The term can be defined and applied in a breadth of ways, contributing to both strengths and weaknesses for its capacity toward change. To explore the tension of breadth as strength and weakness, we interviewed 25 prominent permaculture teachers and practitioners across the United States (US) regarding how they define permaculture as a concept and perceive the term’s utility. We find that permaculture casts a wide net that participants grapple with in their own work. They engaged in a negotiation process of how they associate or disassociate themselves with the term, recognizing that it can be both unifying and polarizing. Further, there was noted concern of permaculture’s failure to cite and acknowledge its rootedness in Indigenous knowledge, as well as distinguish itself from Indigenous alternatives. We contextualize these findings within the resounding call for a decolonization of modern ways of living and the science of sustainability, of which permaculture can be critically part of. We conclude with recommended best practices for how to continuously (re-)define permaculture in an embodied and dynamic way to work toward these goals.
Spangler, K.; McCann, R.B.; Ferguson, R.S. (Re-)Defining Permaculture: Perspectives of Permaculture Teachers and Practitioners across the United States. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5413. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105413