Scaling Up Permaculture

Permaculture, based on the ethos of “earth care, people care and fair share,” has provided millions of people the principles and tools to live and work in right relationship to the earth and to produce and harvest abundance without degrading the environment. At a time when the world is desperate for a new approach to living on the planet, can permaculture scale-up to create the global ecological and social changes that are needed for human survival?

With Permaculture co-founder David HolmgrenMaddy Harland, co-founder and editor of Permaculture magazine, and author and regenerative farmer Mark Shepard. Hosted by Permaculturalist Penny Livingston. 

This discussion took place at the 2021 Bioneers Conference.


David Holmgren

David Holmgren is (along with Bill Mollison) the co-originator of the Permaculture concept, following publication of their seminal 1978 text, Permaculture One. Globally recognized as a leading ecological thinker, teacher, writer and speaker who promotes Permaculture as a realistic, attractive and powerful alternative to dependent consumerism, he is the author of several books, including: Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability; Future Scenarios: How Communities Can Adapt To Peak Oil and Climate Change, and, most recently, RetroSuburbia: The Downshifter’s Guide to a Resilient Future.

To learn more about David Holmgren’s work, visit Holmgren Design.

Maddy Harland

Maddy Harland co-founded a publishing company, Permanent Publications, in 1990 and Permaculture Magazine in 1992 to explore traditional and new ways of living in greater harmony with the Earth. She is the author of Fertile Edges—regenerating land, culture and hope and The Biotime Log. Maddy and her husband, Tim, have designed and planted one of the oldest forest gardens in Britain: once a bare field, it is now an edible landscape and haven for wildlife.

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard, CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development, runs New Forest Farm (in Viola Wisconsin), a cutting-edge solar, wind and local biofuel-powered 110-acre commercial-scale perennial agricultural savanna, one of the first of its kind in the USA. Mark also teaches agroforestry, Permaculture and Restoration Agriculture and designs natural resource and agricultural properties worldwide and is author of the award-winning books: Restoration Agriculture: Real-world Permaculture for Farmers and Water for ANY Farm. A certified organic farmer since 1995, Mark is also a founding member of the American Hazelnut Company, on the board of the Stewardship Network, and a lead designer for the Valley Foundation of the Reed Jules Oppenheimer Foundation.

Penny Livingston

Penny Livingston, one of the most renowned and respected leaders in the field of Permaculture, has been teaching internationally and working professionally in land management, regenerative design and permaculture for 30 years. She has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction and specializes in the site planning and design of resource-rich landscapes that integrate rainwater collection, agroforestry systems, edible and medicinal planting, pond and water systems, habitat development and watershed restoration for homes, farms, co-housing communities and businesses. She is currently teaching online courses with Ecoversity and the Permaculture Skills Center.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

Our bi-weekly newsletter provides insights into the people, projects, and organizations creating lasting change in the world.