People often ask us to recommend a few resources to ‘get going’ in Permaculture.  We have decided to put together a page of a few of these resources that we have found helpful, practical, and useful.  (Many of these resources can be purchased online and easily found with a Google search).

We will separate the resources into three sections:  Getting Started, Advanced, and Technical Help.  In addition, don’t forget the online resources within this NEF website, a few examples are listed here:

Getting Started:

The following are resources that are great for beginners or for those who are teaching people who are just being introduced to Permaculture ideas and practice:


Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture” by Rosemary Morrow--This helpful manual walks through the basics of Permaculture implementation including: understanding the land, creating a design, adding resilience, and even takes a look at the ‘invisible structures’ of social Permaculture.


Permaculture in a Nutshell by Patrick Whitefield–This short booklet is a great introduction to Permaculture ideas.  It is focused a bit more on temperate climate implementation, but takes a good look at both urban as well as rural application of Permaculture ideas.


Introduction to Permaculture” by Bill Mollison–This book is a combination of two older books called ‘Permaculture One’ and ‘Permaculture Two’.  It has revised the materials and made a more concise presentation of  introductory Permaculture concepts.


An Introduction to Permaculture Design” by Geoff Lawton--This is a full-length DVD that walks the viewer through the various stages of Permaculture Design.  It covers the basics of ethics, methods of design, patterns, and zones.   This DVD is great for beginners, advanced practitioners, as well as for those who are teaching.


The resources in this section are geared towards the more advanced practitioner of Permaculture Design. They are still a great resource for beginners, but some may find them to be a bit ‘overwhelming’ if they don’t have a strong grasp of the basics.


Permaculture:  A Designer’s Manual”  by Bill Mollison–The ‘bible’ of Permaculture, this comprehensive book looks at every aspect of Permaculture design, including:  ethics, principles, methods of design, patterns, climate, energy, water, soil, aquaculture and earthworks.  The book also gives specific information regarding Permaculture implementation within in tropical, drylands, and temperate (cold) climates.  It also has an entire chapter devoted to the social and economic impacts of Permaculture thinking.


A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction“--by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein–This book was written in the 1970’s and takes an in-depth look at how we design communities, beginning with the individual environment all the way up to large-scale societies.  It proposes the use of a common ‘language’ in terms of concepts, definitions, and understanding that can help to guide the design process.


The Global Gardener” series by Bill Mollison–This is a 4-part series of videos which shows how Permaculture ideas can be implemented throughout the world in various climates and and in various settings.    The four sections include: Tropics, Dry lands, Cool climates, and Urban.

Technical Help:

This section takes a look at some very helpful resources in various ‘technical’ aspects of Permaculture Design.


Permaculture Magazine: Practical Solutions for self-reliance“–This is the Permaculture Magazine of the United Kingdom (UK) and includes articles, ideas, and features from around the world.  A great resource for keeping up to date on current practices, inspiring innovations, and like-minded initiatives.  You can learn more about them and visit their website by clicking here.

The Permaculture Magazine also offers over 40 free downloadable eBooks (as well as a wide selection of books and resources which you can buy) on a range of topics, including gardening, farming, permaculture, economics, ecovillage design and foraging. Check out their online shop to see the selection, and the many other useful books, tools and outdoor cooking equipment on offer. Explore the full range of eBooks.


Humanure Handbook” by Joseph Jenkins–This incredibly entertaining book is focused on the construction, use, and promotion of composting toilet systems.  It includes chapters on understanding the principles behind composting toilets, the use and safety of these systems, and even a section on the use of ‘greywater’ systems.  For more information on composting toilet systems, you can visit our page by clicking here.


The Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition” by Bill Mollison–This amazing book looks at using fermentation to preserve, store, and improve the nutrition of foods.  It is packed with traditional knowledge and practical recipes.


Food Plants of the World” by Ben-Eric an Wyk–This comprehensive guide to food plants from around the world is packed with information.  It gives a history of each plant, descriptions of use, and even nutritional information.  Well worth having on your resource shelf!

Useful Plants of Malawi” by Jesse Williamson–This book was originally published in 1955 and is currently on its third edition, which came out in 2005. It is one of the few books on the use of Malawi’s traditional plants. It is predominantly focused on edible species, but also contains resources which have been useful for generations of Malawians in terms of medicine, fiber, dyes, alcohol, and much more. The final editorial work of this third edition was made possible through contributions from Dr. Zacharia Magombo, of the National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens of Malawi, and Stacia Nordin, from Never Ending Food.