Permaculture's Place in Higher Education - A Global Initiative

Permaculture started life as a grass-roots movement but its promise as a philosophy and design system to enable humans to create  sustainable ways for them to continue to occupy the planet for millennia deserves significant consideration by the academic community. Sufficient  trialling of the design system, writing of texts and success in education institutions at community and polytechnic  levels indicates that the world is ready to recognise permaculture as a field requiring research and education at the higher education (university) level.

Whilst initiatives have been attempted in this area, the community is still to see academic programs that satisfy the academic rigour and perceived industry need that confer government recognition and support for deferment of fee payment and ultimately for living expenses whilst a student.

This interactive presentation will introduce a project creating internationally recognised, nested graduate programs in permaculture design (Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters), to be taught globally  through a strongly interactive system which combines the best of on-line learning with intensive face to face teaching at functioning permaculture locations which demonstrate permaculture in action around the world.

Students could come from any discipline and would conduct field work and research in their own countries. The Masters program would be through thesis plus exegesis, giving students and academic staff an opportunity to implement permaculture projects while conducting significant research concerning permaculture or contributing to its theory and philosophy across all domains of human endeavour.


Graham is a horticulturist and educator with a long career at the University of Adelaide during which he also built up the certified organic permaculture demonstration farm known as The Food Forest. He and his wife Annemarie cultivate some 150 varieties of fruit, nuts and vegetables and also teach permaculture design on-farm. He is chairman of the Adelaide Showground Farmers active in the area of town and regional planning and is one of Australia’s foremost permaculture designers


Find out more


Conference session: 
Conference strand: