Talk: 8th October > “Celebrating the global permaculture community – learning from the pioneers”

Global challenges are threatening life at a fast rate and there isn’t much time for us to take effective action towards adaptation and regeneration. More than ever, as permaculture designers, we need to accelerate succession, both in nature and in our global community. I believe one way of doing this is to study mature permaculture projects and learn directly from the pioneers. Like in many ancient cultures, where younger generations, with less experience, learned directly from the community elders, to effectively continue their actions and perpetuate their wisdom and traditions.

If we, younger generations of permaculture designers, learn directly from the challenges and successes of the pioneers, we are more likely to succeed. With this in mind, in 2015-2016 I embarked on a 15 months journey around Australia and the US to research the projects of the pioneers in depth. I was eager to understand how there were designed (their full design cycle), what made them whole systems (their unique network of connections) and how the permaculture ethics and principles were applied both on the land and in everyday life. I also wanted to explore practical strategies and techniques for different climates, but as these are usually site specific, I was more interested in understanding the thinking behind the doing. Looking for patterns of success under the umbrella of the 3 permaculture ethics I found success indicators that were transversal to all the projects. These were design principles, attitudinal principles and other principles that we can apply to our designs to create resilient systems.

Let’s keep them in mind!?


Eunice Neves is a Landscape Architect, Permaculture Designer, Researcher and into Permaculture Research Tour.

She is passionate about the limitless possibilities for ecological design and grassroots cooperation, towards a thriving future of the planet and all beings. Trained in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oporto, she worked in Portugal and Holland on private gardens, public spaces and urban planning. She left Holland in 2009 to volunteer in an ecological village in Nepal, an experience that changed her perception of the world and her profession, introducing her to Permaculture. Since then, she has been fully committed to gaining knowledge and experience in Permaculture Design. She has taken numerous courses with world experts, developed several design projects, organized and facilitated various trainings and events. She also believes Permaculture Design is the future of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and is actively working to bring these new ideas to her University.

In 2015-2016, Eunice embarked on a crowdfunded independent research tour around the world to better understand Permaculture Design at its best by visiting mature Permaculture projects. She worked and lived with various Permaculture Pioneers, studying in depth their projects, ways of living and how it all came to be.

Currently she is consolidating the resulting research materials into an interactive format so that this invaluable knowledge and wisdom of the pioneers can be easily shared with Permaculture Designers, academics, conventional designers, as well as farmers and growers so that regenerative actions can be fast tracked around the world.

In her research she has been working closely with Sara Wuerstle, a very knowledgeable and experienced Permaculture Designer and Teacher from the US, with whom she created a regenerative enterprise, GUILDA Permaculture.

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