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The Permaculture Handbook (PDF)
Garden Farming for Town and Country
The urban landscape has swallowed vast swaths of prime farmland across North America. Imagine how much more self-reliant our communities would be if 30 million acres of lawns were made productive again. Permaculture is a practical way to apply ecological design principles to food, housing, and energy systems; making growing fruits, vegetables and livestock easier and more sustainable.
The Permaculture Handbook is a step-by-step, beautifully illustrated guide to creating resilient and prosperous households andneighborhoods, complemented by extensive case studies of three successful farmsteads and market gardens. This comprehensive manual casts garden farming as both an economic opportunity and a strategy for living well with less money. It shows how, by mimicking the intelligence of nature and applying appropriate technologies such as solar and environmental design, permaculture can:
- Create an abundance of fresh, nourishing local produce
- Reduce dependence on expensive, polluting fossil fuels
- Drought-proof our cities and countryside
- Convert waste into wealth
Permaculture is about working with the earth and with each other to repair the damage of industrial overreach and to enrich the living world that sustains us. The Permaculture Handbook is the definitive, practical NorthAmerican guide to this revolutionary practice, and is a must-read for anyone concerned about creating food security, resilience and a legacy of abundance rather than depletion.
Peter Bane is a permaculture teacher and site designer who has published and edited Permaculture Activist magazine for over 20 years. He helped create Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, and is now pioneering suburban farming in Bloomington, Indiana.
"When Apollo 13 found itself hurtling through space on its way to the far side of the moon with a ruptured oxygen tank, a critical path was assembled that returned all souls safely back to Earth. In The Permaculture Handbook, Peter Bane has mapped the critical path to a safe landing for civilization in the 21st century. That path runs through the backyards of suburbia and across the rooftops and balconies of urban apartment houses. Like the Apollo mission, Bane has jury-rigged our carbon dioxide removal system by re-tasking other components — small scale horticulture, aquatic plants and foraged trash, for instance — to buy us breathing room. This is a must read."
Albert Bates, author of The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, and The Biochar Solution.
"The Permaculture Handbook offers practical examples from the author's many years of experience, coupled with information from permaculture practitioners from around the country. This makes the guidebook particularly useful to American readers. The chapters covering the integration of multifunctional species and breeds of domestic animals and wildlife are especially note-worthy. These chapters address the sometimes under-recognized value of animal products and services in the Permaculture literature. This book is a joy to read while thinking about applications to one's own endeavors."
Donald Bixby, DVM, Retired Executive Director of American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
"Peter Bane's characteristic generosity and mastery are on display in this long anticipated encyclopedia of permaculture knowledge and lore. The Permaculture Handbook offers a thorough treatment of the design principles and patterns that of necessity precede the positive, practical, and profitable solutions that are the hallmark of permaculture design. Bill Mollison famously taught that we can create the "Garden of Eatin' ". Peter Bane shows us how."
Claude William Genest, Former Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada. Producer, Host of the Emmy nominated PBS series "Regeneration: The Art of Sustainable Living"
"As oil becomes more scarce and expensive, society must adapt by re-localizing food systems. The Permaculture Handbook offers us a set of essential conceptual and practical tools for doing this in a way that's intelligent, beautiful, and sustainable. Want to create a better world? Your backyard — and this book — are the places to start."
Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute, Author, The End of Growth
"Here is an exquisite design manual for re-inhabiting our towns and cities, transforming them into flourishing and nourishing landscapes that provide food, fiber, energy and community. As you read this book, looking out from time to time at the paved, manicured tracts we've called home, you can almost see the world around you transforming — a fruit tree here, a greenhouse there, a hill of corn, beans and squash in the corner, a photovoltaic array that charges your electric bicycle nearby. We are not in an era of despair, of coming apart. We are in an era of creativity where strong seeds grow in the very cracks in the concrete of our old ways of living. I applaud Peter for the wisdom, intelligence and hard work he has invested in his detailed, beautiful map of the land of permaculture."
Vicki Robin, author Your Money or Your Life and Blessing the Hands that Feed Us (Viking/Penguin 2013).
"Peter Bane offers a powerful antidote to what we might call our "ephemeraculture"— the consumerist, oil-dependent, wasteful, and ruinous way of life produced by the marriage of industrialism and capitalism. In a voice at once practical and visionary, he tells how we can achieve security, practice self-reliance, and revive local economies by shifting to a regenerative form of agriculture, beginning in our own backyards. If you're hungry for hope, good food, neighborliness, conviviality, and survival skills, here is the book for you."
Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto.
"Morally mature cultures live well with the Earth and with each other. Peter Bane's beautifully written book lays out a path to that maturity and wisdom. Future generations will thank him — and you if you read and use the wisdom he has gathered."
Carolyn Raffensperger, Environmental lawyer, advocate for future generations, Executive Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network
"The wealth of practical knowledge in The Permaculture Handbook is a welcome addition to North America's canon of books on permaculture design, and will serve other regions as well. Peter Bane's broad and well-tested experience in ecological living, expressed here in clear and engaging prose, will guide homeowners, gardeners, and small farmers toward designing and living in lushly productive and harmonious landscapes."
Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
"A book to carry us through to Eden, this keen, comprehensive design guide with its wisdom and instruction will be indispensable to any household aiming at flourishing, soil-based self-reliance. The practice is permaculture and Peter Bane is a true master."
Stephanie Mills, author of On Gandhi's Path and Epicurean Simplicity
"With a lifetime of Permaculture immersion under his belt, Peter Bane's contribution to domestic selfreliant security in this comprehensive handbook is nothing short of remarkable. This will empower thousands of seekers to move off the bleachers and into the game. He balances beautifully the right amount of intensive ecological information with delightful case studies and practical outworkings. A gem of a manual. Thank you, Peter."
Joel Salatin, Author, Farmer
"There are a lot of people out there who want to know how to begin making a better world, but don't know where to begin. I can't think of a better starting point for someone who wants to restore and transform their place than Peter Bane's Permaculture Handbook. Bane has taken the single most urgent question of our times "How shall we live" and given a real and viable answer."
Sharon Astyk, writer, farmer, teacher and author of Making Home
"The Permaculture Handbook is worth reading and rereading not only for its depth of insight but also for its storytelling charm. Peter Bane's reflections on community-based efforts to realize permaculture's potential across entire landscapes helps us realize that this set of design principles are not vague abstractions, but something that we can smell, taste and see before our very eyes."
Gary Paul Nabhan, ethnobotanist, writer, permaculture orchardkeeper, seed saver