The word Permaculture was first coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in their 1978 book Permaculture One. It means:
PERMAnent agriCULTURE – sustainable food producing systems.
PERMAnent CULTURE – design system for creating sustainable human environments.
Following are two definitions:
Permaculture is a philosophy of working with rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation, rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions rather than asking only one yield of them and of allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions. Bill Mollison
Permaculture is the use of ecology as the basis for designing integrated systems of food production, housing, appropriate technology and community development. Permaculture is built upon an ethic of caring for the earth and interacting with the environment in mutually beneficial ways. Sustainable Living in Drylands
Permaculture is not a fixed system. It does not tell people what to do but rather encourages them to think, to observe and to plan. It encourages people to live in harmony with nature and to imitate and learn from nature.