David Holmgren


Low and steady wins the race or the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.

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Environmental Designer, Permaculturist, Ecological Educator & Ecologist

David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. Since then he has developed three properties, consulted and supervised in urban and rural projects and presented lectures, workshops and courses at a wide variety of events and venues in Australia and around the world. His writings over those three decades span a diversity of subjects and issues but always illuminating another aspect of permaculture thinking. At home (Melliodora in Hepburn, Central Victoria), David is the vegetable gardener, silviculturalist and builder. Within the international and growing permaculture movement, David is respected for his commitment to presenting permaculture ideas through practical projects and teaching by personal example, that a sustainable lifestyle is a realistic, attractive and powerful alternative to dependent consumerism. As well as constant involvement in the practical side of permaculture, David is passionate about the philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability, the focus of his seminal book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. This book has been significant influences on the development of Transition Initiatives around the world. More recently his Future Scenarios work has seen him recognised as a significant thinker about the “Energy Descent future.”

After a decade of significant international travel, David is no longer flying but continues to do some international presentations by skype and pre-recorded video including receipt of the recent award by Italian environmental organisation. Recognition for Holmgren’s contribution as an environmental designer, educator and activist has been slow to develop after the initial enthusiasm generated by the publication of Permaculture One when he was 23. The inclusion in Ecological Pioneers (of Australia) was the first substantial recognition by academic authors. The inclusion of a three part series on Melliodora in a best of ten years of Gardening Australia, the most popular Australian TV gardening program and a person profile on the Australian broadcast network program Landline (ABC TV rural program) has been the most significant recognition by mainstream media. In 2012, following the publication of PP&PBS in Italian, the environmental organisation Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron recognised Holmgren’s contribution with award Il Monito del Giardin. In 2014, Holmgren was inducted into the Green Lifestyle Awards Hall of Fame for his pioneering and ongoing work with Permaculture since he co-founded the concept more than three decades ago. He is in the good company of Bob Brown, the inaugural inductee in 2012 and Olivia Newton-John in 2013.