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Permaculture Principle 0 is a proposal to decolonize permaculture, a movement said to be estimated to have more than 20 million practitioners around the world, guided by a set of design principles applicable to different kinds of habitats.


Proposing this doesn’t mean it is not being done. While it is implied that acknowledgement of land use histories or original cultural and ecological systems take place, it is not explicitly required. This is where it can sometimes end up harming instead of uplifting the people and place a designer is working in. This proposal is only one of the many proposals made over the last decades to decolonize permaculture. It is my hope that making it a core principle, before Principle 1- to “Observe and Interact” or any other of the 11 principles, such proposals have a foundation to source from.

Whether working with indigenous territories or not, traditional ecological knowledge exists in a landscape and all design principles would be more effective if it acknowledged it. Engaging it in the design methodology promotes inclusivity and even a restorative process that invites a co-creative relationship with the land and the narrative it holds.

This is an evolving proposal aimed to deepen the conversation and invite more practitioners doing this work to help develop the practices to recommend. I’m also currently drafting Principle 13 meant to harvest (and propose) existing and evolving ways we are already responding to and adapting to changes taking place, from conflict to climate emergencies and other disruptions around the world.

Read more about the proposal here, originally published by Permaculture Magazine in 2021

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