Permaculture in Practice around the World
Not all of the sites below identify as permaculture sites, but we felt that each of them demonstrate permaculture principles in action in some way. The best place to find an up to date database and interactive map of permaculture projects is at the Worldwide Permaculture Network, a project of our fiscal sponsor, the Permaculture Research Institute.
Ashaninka Forest Wisdom School, Brazil
Since the 70s and 80s, a group of indigenous peoples, with the leadership of Ashaninka Apiwtxa village, have been developing methods of regenerating Amazon forest areas depleted by years of colonial occupation, and more recently, by the illegal actions of loggers. Strategies have included replanting degraded forest areas, re-introducing native species who were becoming endangered, and the creation of fruit orchards and medicinal herb gardens. The school is a center for education about sustainable techniques, in an effort to share and build alliances with neighboring communities.
Auroville, South India
An international village of over 1500 people from India and more than thirty other nations. Auroville is based upon the visions of spiritual leaders Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Inaugurated in 1968, today residents research and implement soil and water conservation, organic farming, rural development, ecological building, alternative health care and renewable energy.
Bustan, Jerusalem, Israel
A is a partnership of Jewish and Arab eco-builders, architects, academics, and farmers promoting social and environmental justice in Israel/Palestine. BUSTAN cultivates sustainable models to effect change by combining advocacy and in-depth political analysis with strategic action. BUSTAN utilizes the principles of permaculture and non-violent direct action across ethnic divides.
COLUFIFA, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea
The Committee for Ending Hunger (COLUFIFA) is a network of 350 villages in Southern Sénégal, Gambia and Guinea. Its motto is Wha Khi Dia, which means dialogue, consciousness and solidarity. COLUFIFA’s goals are: self-sufficient food supply, economic independence, health and education for all as well as the protection of nature and of indigenous culture. One of its centers is the Yoff EcoCommunity Program (EcoYoff), an urban ecovillage created at a 600-year-old fishing community on the outskirts of Senegal’s capital city.
Crystal Waters, Australia
A socially and environmentally responsible, economically viable rural subdivision established in 1987 and designed according to permaculture principles by some of its renowned experts. It includes commercial, residential and agricultural zones and has received the World Habitat Award for its “pioneering work in demonstrating new ways of low impact, sustainable living”.
Founded in the early 1970’s, the Federation of Damanhur in Italy is now an internationally renowned center for spiritual, artistic and social research. Damanhur is an eco-society, a federation of communities and eco-villages with a continuously evolving social and political structure. The aims of Damanhur are: the freedom and re-awakening of the Human Being as a divine, spiritual and material principle; the creation of a self-sustaining model of life based on ethical principles of good communal living and love; harmonic integration and co-operation with all the Forces linked to the evolution of Humankind.
Earthhaven, North Carolina
Founded in 1994, Earthaven is located on 320 acres in western North Carolina, dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture. We’re learning to practice ecologically responsibile forestry and agriculture; to develop natural building systems that sustain forest health, create jobs, and generate renewable energy through good design. We intend to become empowered, responsible, ecologically literate citizens, modeling bioregionally appropriate culture for our time and place.
Ecovillage, Ithaca, New York
EcoVillage at Ithaca is an intentional community and a non-profit educational organization, developing an alternative model for suburban living which provides a satisfying, healthy, socially rich lifestyle, while minimizing ecological impacts. The village currently includes two 30-home cohousing neighborhoods, a third neighborhood (TREE) in the planning stages, organic vegetable and berry farms, office spaces for cottage industry, a neighborhood root cellar, community gardens and varied natural areas.
The Findhorn Foundation is a spiritual community, ecovillage and an international centre for holistic education, founded on the principles of inner listening, co-creation with nature and service. It has grown to become one of the most famous and successful intentional communities in the world.
Gaia is located outside of Buenos Aires and is active in the Global Ecovillage Network and founder of the Permaculture Institute of Argentina. Its founding mission is the promotion of sustainable societies, mainly by creating human settlements based on the practice of Permaculture systems and methods.
Greater World Earthship Community, New Mexico, USA
This is a subdivision of homes built outside of Taos, New Mexico, that are completely off-the-grid and built of recycled tires and rammed earth. Their innovative design incorporates water catchment and passive solar greenhouses and has been replicated in thousands of houses across the globe.
IPEC, Goias, Brazil
The Instituto de Permacultura e Ecovilas do Cerrado (IPEC) includes 15 ecological buildings, composting toilets, water treatment system, ecological gardens, food forests, and renewable energy systems. Ecocentro IPEC has become one of the most important reference centers for sustainable living in Latin America, hosting permaculture and ecovillage design courses.
The Permaculture Institute of El Salvador (IPES) was founded as an independent organization in 2002 by small farmers concerned to halt the destruction of their environment and way of life. Over the past 6 years, we have built a network of subsistence farmers who work with ecological farming methods. We have a training centre and 4 demonstration permaculture sites, the most important of which is the ecological community La Florida in the La Libertad department. Our aim is to train community leaders within poor rural areas to enable them to tackle the environmental crises that face them.
Ittoen, Kyoto, Japan
Ittoen was founded in 1904 by a spiritual leader named Tenko Nishida, whose teachings are based in Shinto, Buddhist and Taoist beliefs. At the foundation of this community is the faith that when human beings live in accordance with the way of nature, their needs are met, and that personal possessions are unnecessary. The physical and social community embodying the way of Ittoen exists as Kosenrin Village in Yamashina district of Kyoto. It is organized around senkosha, a means of managing goods to serve people rather than become a source of social conflict.
Kibbutz Lotan, Israel,
Incorporating permaculture through its approach to community and runs a unique desert ecological education center. The center combines courses in sustainability with Jewish values and also models an inspiring peace-building program that teaches alternative building techniques to both Arabs and Jews.
La’akea, Hawaii, USA
La’akea Ecovillage is a small community on the rainy side of Hawaii’s Big Island and a permaculture teaching center. It was founded on principles of voluntary simplicity, ecological and personal health, interpersonal communication, spiritual awareness, and cooperative economics.
Ladakh Project, India
Partnership between Ladakhi villagers and International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) that aims to educate Ladakhi leaders about the impact of conventional development in other parts of the world while exploring more sustainable patterns of development in Ladakh itself, based on the use of local resources and indigenous knowledge. Projects include heirloom seed saving, an ongoing campaign about the hazards of pesticides, and the construction of solar greenhouses, enabling villagers to grow vegetables the year round. (There are now thousands throughout the entire region.)
Lama Foundation, New Mexico, USA
The Lama Foundation is a community associated with Ram Dass and the ‘60s countercultural movement in the U.S, and was a pioneer of the natural building movement, especially strawbale, cob and adobe. Lama has integrated permaculture into their core principles, and is an interesting model of an educational retreat center which is also home to long-term residents.
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, California
The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center is a nonprofit organizing and education center and organic farm in Northern California’s Sonoma County. OAEC was founded in 1994 by a group of biologists, horticulturists, educators, activists, and artists seeking innovative and practical approaches to the pressing environmental and economic crises of our day. Much of the Center’s work addresses the challenges of creating democratic communities that are ecologically, economically and culturally sustainable in an increasingly privatized and corporatized economy and culture.
OPA, Salvador, Brazil
The Organization of Permaculture and Art (OPA) was created by multicultural artists and educators who combine their passion and belief in the arts and permaculture to offer sustainable solutions that empower people and their communities. OPA is based in the city of Salvador, Bahia, on the northeastern coast of Brazil. OPA emerged from the desire of combining permaculture and arts in order to build bridges between cultural, social and environmental sustainability in the urban setting. Its center in Salvador demonstrates innovative urban permaculture models, functions as a multi-purpose art space, and runs an environmental education project for at-risk youth that uses circus arts and theater.
Permacultura America Latina (PAL), Ecuador and Guatemala projects
PAL has worked with indigenous groups in the coastal, Andean, and Amazon regions of Ecuador and many initiatives have been organized, including land demarcation, school, and tree planting projects. In Guatemala, our work began in 1995 when the first permaculture design course was held in San Lucas Toliman in Lago Atitlan. Soon after, the Associacion I’jatz was formed to produce and distribute patrimonial Mayan seeds. A donated parcel of abandoned land was transformed into a beautiful demonstration of an integrated food forest garden. From this centre a womens group was formed, a small farmers cooperative organized and courses are regularly held for indigenous and campesino groups from throughout Mesoamerica. Permaculture principles are closely linked to traditional Mayan methods of working with land.
Permaculture Center of Japan, Kanagawa
The Permaculture Centre of Japan (PCCJ) sits in a beautiful farming area in Fujino, Kanagawa. The Centre works at turning consumer global trends into holistic ways of living. Started as an intensive workshop for Permaculture in the mountains of Nagano, it is the only Permaculture Centre in Japan. PCCJ aims to show that permaculture can be an alternative to the modern, chemical-intensive agriculture heavily practiced in Japan.
Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka
Sarvodaya, is a grassroots movement that reaches 15,000 villages throughout Sri Lanka. Founded by a Sri Lankan schoolteacher in 1958, it is based on Buddhist-Gandhian philosophy and works across all ethnic and religious communities. It is dedicated to the sustainable empowerment of people through self-help and collective support, to non-violence and peace. Villages are strengthened through the active participation and engagement of the villagers themselves. The organization headquarters, a 500 acre farm, is a living and learning center of the Global Ecovillage Network.
Svanholm is an intentional community that formed around common ideals concerning ecology, income sharing, communal living, and governance. They strive to be a model of sustainability that proves by example the possibility for leaving a lighter ecological footprint. They live on over 900 acres of land where they are able to create renewable energy and grow a large proportion of their food, and are recognized as among the most self-sufficient intentional communities in Europe.
The “Healing Biotope 1 Tamera” in southern Portugal is an international training and experimental site for the development of peace research villages and healing biotopes worldwide. Its aim is to build an example of a pilot model for a nonviolent co-existence of people and between people and nature. The main tasks of Tamera are: the education of young people through a peace studies program, the building of a village model which produces its own food and solar energy, and the development of a global political network.
Tchamla Kingdom, Bulgaria
Tchamla Kingdom is a mountain ecovillage based on the principles of permaculture. The village, which had been inhabited by Bulgarian Muslims, was abandoned in the mid ‘80s, due to ethnic assimilation and social and economic decline in this region. Nowadays the ethnic tension in this predominantly Bulgarian Muslim population is over, but the high unemployment rate, lack of perspectives and mass disillusionment in the local community forces young people to leave. This project aims to draw artists and permaculturists from around the world to create a vital center.
The Farm, Tennessee
One of the most famous and long-lived communes established out of the ‘60s countercultural movement in the U.S., The Farm has evolved into an ecovillage incorporating permaculture principles, an international charity, and a world-renowned midwifery and birth center. It is involved with social and political movements and runs educational programs.
The People’s Grocery Urban Gardens, Oakland, California
Cities are becoming important places for developing sustainable and locally-rooted food systems for meeting nutritional needs. Many low-income residents of urban areas, such as West Oakland, do not even have access to sufficient fresh foods. People’s Grocery grows and distributes local, organic produce through a network of urban gardens and micro-farms while providing jobs to Oakland youth.
The Permaculture Institute, New Mexico, USA
Located near Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Permaculture Institute was founded in 1997 as the sister organization to the Permaculture Institute of Australia. It came on the footsteps of the Permaculture Drylands Institute, formerly the leading permaculture educational institution in the US. Our mission is to promote sustainable living skills through education, networking and demonstration projects. We facilitate networking among permaculture groups and projects in NM/Southwestern region and beyond.
Bustan Project, Israel
Torri Superiore, Italy
The Torri Superiore Cultural Association was founded in 1989 with the aim of restoring and rehabilitating an abandoned medieval village, to support the settlement of new residents and the birth of an ecovillage and cultural centre open to the public. The Association has about 30 members, and is based on principles of sustainability, cooperation, and solidarity. The Association does not have declared ideological or political stands, and adopts a non-religious cultural policy.
Whispering Seed, Thailand
The Whispering Seed is a village-based sustainable living and learning center and home for children who have been orphaned, abused and neglected along the Thai-Burmese border. Offers permaculture training courses.
Wongsanit Ashram, Thailand
Wongsanit Ashram was established in 1985 as an intentional community for simple living and for engaging in social action and spiritual practice. The Ashram seeks to develop and promote an alternative lifestyle that is grounded in Dharma, cultural diversity, and environmental sustainability. In essence, it attempts to point out the interconnection between humans, society, and nature. Residents of the Ashram are students, monks, nuns, activists and grassroots community leaders, living simply in traditional-style houes with few modern conveniences. Many workshops are held at the Ashram including courses related to green politics, social justice, non-violence, and engaged spirituality.
The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, headquartered at Zaytuna Farm in New South Wales, Australia, functions as a model farm (in development) and permaculture training facility. Geoff and Nadia Lawton, world-renowned permaculture educators and consultants, lead the project. The Institute currently runs eight courses per year – four Permaculture Design Courses (PDCs), and four On-Ground Skills Training Camps. Most of the structures on site are straw bale construction with mud renders and lime plasters. All electicity is provided by solar with a stand alone battery bank storage. Toilets are dry composting systems and grey water is cleaned with biological reed bed systems.