Permaculture and Me, almost perfect

Hi there, my name is Melissa, and I am currently studying the Graduate Diploma of Permaculture Design.

Perma – What?


So, what is that? Don’t worry; this is the typical response when I tell most people!

Permaculture was a term coined in the 70’s by the Late Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and it defines as:

“Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs” (Holmgren 2012 pg. xix)

Over time, the Permaculture lens has shifted its focus from rural regenerative landscapes to retrofitting urban environments, behaviour adaption within local household economies and social and community development.

“Permaculture strategies focus on the provision of basic needs at the household and community level to increase resilience and reduce the ecological footprint” (Holmgren 2013 pg.9). Holmgren theorises that if middle-class society reduced their consumption of the non-essentials, this would cause a contraction in energy consumption, in turn reducing environmental impacts.

Permaculture encompasses three main ethics:

  • Earth Care
  • Fair Share; and
  • People Care

When I first discovered Permaculture, I began applying the principles to my everyday life decisions and interactions, and I started considering how my lifestyle was impacting the environment, myself and the people around me. I wanted to learn more. I signed up to local permaculture and environmental groups in my community, and this is how I found out about CQUniversity and the first of their kind, Permaculture courses.

After meeting Keri Chiveralls, the Course Coordinator and lecturer, I expressed my concerns about studying after many years away from the books and my fear of public speaking. Keri soon puts my mind at ease and suggested that I think about the permaculture principle, ‘the problem is the solution’ and to try turning my anxious energy into excitement.

Currently halfway through the Graduate Diploma of Permaculture Design and looking to complete the NEW Master of Permaculture Design and Sustainability next year, this course has changed my life and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. It has given me the resources to launch a start-up business and social enterprise that considers economic, environmental and social impacts allowing me to make a real difference in the world. For more information, visit The Foodprint Experience Facebook or Instagram, or email

The included residential schools gave me practical experiences and the chance to connect with permaculture professionals and other students studying the course online.

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