Designing or identifying a whole system can quickly become overwhelming because of the sheer volume of relationships that happen in the simplest of processes. A permaculture whole systems design can be broken down into four parts.
Observe patterns in nature, such as what happens with (soil, climate and water cycles) and use them as a guide. Mimic and work with these rather than against them. Develop structured plans based on these observations.
A set of guiding permaculture principles help us make decisions and plan approach. One such principle is observing and adhering to the patterns in nature. Whenever we’re stuck, need help prioritising or dealing with conflict, we are guided by principles.
Well defined processes help to manifest ideas into reality. One such process framework is GOBRADIME, which will be discussed below.
Location is critical, it is necessary to bring context to a project and is often critical to the success of a system design.
3 Main Permaculture Principles
Paradise Design Game
Step 1: Make a list of every component you think you might want to include in your whole systems design. Vegetable garden? Orchards? Food forest? Solar hot water? Wind power? Workshop? Animals? Whatever you want, make a list (or, use index cards if you want to spread out!)
Step 2: For each item on your list, note which of the other components this item could somehow connect to. Does your shower connect to your garden? How so? Does your kitchen connect to your chicken coop? Where? And so on.
Step 3: Then, play with drawing it out. Don’t worry about drawing maps to scale or getting all the details! Think of it more like a game, and make a drawing of your silly ultimate fantasy whole system design.