What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is designing sustainably abundant societies as part of protecting and preserving water supply, agricultural land and the greater environment. The word is derived from Permanent Agriculture and Permanent Culture with the aim being to use practices that enable agriculture and culture to slowly improve and strengthen as time progresses.


About the book


Perma-icon1The story so far…

A Tropical Permaculture Guidebook book is a practical reference guide for implementing permaculture techniques that are specific to tropical climates. It was a gift of ‘permaculture knowledge’ from Timor Leste to the region.

The original guidebook has been an outstanding success. It was produced by Permatil, a well respected Timor Leste NGO and first published in 2006. It was updated in 2008 and has since had three re-prints.

The Department of Agriculture in Timor Leste has issued a copy to every extension officer, (approx. 450) and the Department of Education is using the guidebook as a reference to develop the social science and culture national curriculum.

International NGOs such as GTZ, Mercy Corps, World Vision, Oxfam Australia and GB, Trocaire and Caritas have all utilised the guidebook for their sustainable agriculture, livelihoods and health programs. UNTL (University National Timor Leste) uses the guidebook as a sourcebook for teaching the sustainable agriculture program.

The original guidebook was published in English and Tetun and also translated and adapted for Indonesia by IDEP Foundation who re-published the guidebook as well as uploading it chapter by chapter in English and Indonesian, and more than 200 000 chapters were downloaded in 2 years!

Since publication, the guidebook has also been copied and used in many different countries, including Sri Lanka, Samoa, Nepal, Australia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Uganda and Haiti.

Perma-icon2The ‘GREEN’ print

The new international edition will retain the core ethos of the original book and provide practical knowledge to anyone who reads it, especially in poor, low literacy and disadvantaged communities.

An extensive review of the original guidebook, will be undertaken by the original creators, together with people who have used the book extensively. The content will then be redrafted and edited by renowned permaculture experts; new illustrations added and the design layout updated. The resource will be published as both a printed book and as a universally accessible chapter-by-chapter online resource.

Perma-icon3Partners and Supporters

Permatil, the xpand Foundation and Disruptive Media have come together to publish the international edition. The original writers Lachlan McKenzie and Ego Lemos are working together again, and the same inspiring artists are updating the illustrations. Julieanne Hartmann, Rob Swain, the Permatil staff and many more are providing invaluable support for reviewing, rewriting and editing, and Rosemary Morrow is lending her considerable knowledge as a content advisor.

Their common vision and ethos is to promote permaculture; to work directly with farmers, youth and community members; to provide education and skills that will improve peoples resilience and capacity to live a good quality life; to protect and repair our fragile environment and agricultural lands and to provide access to that information to everyone who needs it. We have seen the benefits resulting from the guidebook in Timor Leste and we want create an even better guidebook that can improve Timor Leste further and replicate those benefits across all tropical regions.

Royalties from sales of the English and Tetum books, and online education packages that include the guidebook, will support ongoing permaculture projects run by Permatil in Timor Leste.


Swales and Terraces

Swales (on contour trenches and mounds) and terraces prevent erosion and help to hold organic matter and build up the soil over time. They are also vital for catching, holding and storing rain in the ground, which greatly increases and stabilises production of vegetable and tree crops and recharge underground water tables every wet season.


Bamboo Watering Pipe

This simple technology can make all the difference between success and failure for a tree. Installed when the tree is planted, the bamboo pipe directs water to below the root zone encouraging deep root growth. The water is used much more efficiently and there is no chance for weeds to steal it or the sun to evaporate it. It can be used for liquid fertilising too. Easy, effective and free!


A Permaculture Guidebook for tropical regions the world over

We’re offering you an opportunity to sponsor a chapter and join us in publishing the open source Tropical Permaculture Guidebook! The positive impacts include improving health and well-being, education, food sovereignty and resilience to climate change while also reducing its impact. It is especially for developing countries.


Chapter downloads available



…to all those who have donated so far. Click here to see who they are.

Our main supporters:

mercycorps_logo_red copy


Our project partners:

xF_logo copy2
DM-logo-alt copy

Want to know a little bit more?
Drop us a line...