Why Permaculture? — Contribution from Effie Truchon

Why ask why? Well, let us look at the definitions of the adverb “why,” which are “how come,” “for what reason,” “for what purpose,” “what for,” “wherefore,” and “to what end.” We ask why to seek to understand something’s purpose and intent and to discern if it is worthy of allowing into our lives. What is the purpose of permaculture and is it worthy to add into our lives?

The purpose of permaculture is to provide a set of core ethics and foundational principles with applicable design principles, methods, and strategies to inspire and empower others to design their own natural, beyond-sustainable living systems within their homesteads, environments, and communities. It is a tool kit from which we can pull to build or rebuild a more natural and sustainable world for ourselves. Permaculture’s purpose is to give us a foundation from which we can not only design our own lives to be able to thrive, live abundantly, and provide sustainably for ourselves, but also for future generations.

Permaculture is worthy to seek out, add into our lives, and share within our communities. It is sorely needed today as it helps us provide naturally for our own basic needs—clean water, healthy foods, and safe homes.

I knew permaculture was the answer to the unwanted complications in my life, one of which was my work. I discovered permaculture about five years ago during an adverse time when I was seeking a new career path. I could and would no longer walk the paths I had before. I would no longer work from fifty to over eighty hours a week—a “flexible schedule” requiring me to start some days at five in the morning while ending other days also at five in the morning. I could no longer survive with one day off every two weeks, working almost every weekend to fit the needs of the business while I neglected my family’s desires and missed many special moments. I could no longer work for anyone that would ask my work to consume so much of my life that I had little time to care for myself or for those that I loved. I didn’t want a new career path, I wanted a new way of life. I wanted a life and occupation that were more fulfilling and enjoyable. Permaculture design has provided that opportunity.

I stumbled upon permaculture when researching natural construction methods to build and live in a healthy, sustainable home that my husband and I could afford on our humble income. In a blog about natural building, the name of which I can not remember to this day, I read the word “permaculture.” I love to look up words to understand and use them appropriately. That initial search lead to many months of research into the world of permaculture. The more I learned, the more passionate I became and the more I craved to learn.

41bP2tqzwqL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_I connected to permaculture on many levels and was immediately attracted to its history and foundations. I started to read the stories of earlier purveyors of this message. After finding many blogs and videos, I ordered The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka. I highly recommend this book as it is a passionate story and a quick read. I read it in an afternoon and it whetted my appetite to deepen my understanding of permaculture. I ordered more books. The next one was Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual by Bill Mollison. This book was not the first book written on permaculture, but it was the manual that laid out how to apply it. It is known as the “bible” of permaculture. I not only read but studied the entire manual. That is when the cycle began. I was building a new work life and a new way of living as I layered on the learning and application of permaculture design.

519+s91wuFLThe designer’s manual laid out permaculture from its foundation to the endless opportunities that lie ahead. It is a connective science utilizing design to apply its natural, ecological, biological, chemical, conservational, and communal methods. It provides many opportunities for one to find a fulfilling life and work that is not bound by what has become the conventional American lifestyle. It provided a community where I could learn from my permaculture elders and receive a certification in permaculture design. In turn, I am able to give back to the community of permaculture, which had given so much to me while building the foundations of a small business: a company that will serve as a platform to promote permaculture with the hopes of a return to provide for myself, my family, and my communities.

Just as permaculture has provided me with a business opportunity, it gives everyone an opportunity to design our lives to become more resilient and to thrive within our communities. It allows us to live more enjoyable lives through redesigning our current failing systems into ones that are beyond sustainable. It gives us the opportunity to care for the generations to come.

There are many reasons to seek permaculture and I plan to share those in the upcoming series of blog posts simply named ”Why Permaculture?.” In this series I not only hope to share with you the many reasons why permaculture design is needed and wanted through my own stories and experiences, but I hope to hear about your stories and adventures into the world of permaculture. Please feel free to submit your own stories and or questions to permaculturedesignsbyeffie@yahoo.com and I will try to respond within a reasonable time as life events allow me to.

I truly hope my short introduction has inspired you to look into permaculture. Some resources are listed below if you decide to venture. Thanks for taking the time to read this as this is my very first blog post and it was a fun learning experience. I am looking forward to more. Take Care.

Your permaculture friend,


Resource list

Permaculture Principles
The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka
Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison
Permaculture Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren
Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. by Toby Hemenway
Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Morrow
Edible Forest Gardens by David Jacke and Eric Toensmeier
Permaculture Design: A Step by Step Guide by Aranya

Effie J. Truchon has a passionate love for the natural world that started in her childhood and has followed her through life. She seeks to better understand Mother Nature through research, eduction, and life experience. Effie commands a diverse set of skills, from writing, editing, and performing music to event planning, industrial machine operations, and, of course, permaculture design and consultation. For fun, Effie enjoys the outdoors, hiking, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. She is an avid preparer and preserver of foods, which she prefers to share with friends and family. She enjoys reading and hearing stories and learning new skills. She volunteers with the annual Wisconsin Permaculture Convergence and is applying her skills and know-how towards building a permaculture homestead cooperatively with her family in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She lives in West Allis, WI, and can be reached at permaculturedesignsbyeffie@yahoo.com.

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