Permaculture Pioneers – stories from the new frontier

These stories tell how ordinary people have found the courage to enbrace the worlds problems and move beyond fear to make a difference and empower others with solutions and practical actions as inspired agents of change. This anthology is an inspiring addition to permaculture publications, and of interest to anyone concerned with social and evirnmental change.


 Launched late 2011, it tells the very personal stories of 25 Australian permaculturists, male and female, old and young, who are inspired by permaculture to work for a more sustainable world. The list of contributors include David Holgren, Max Lindeger, Rosemary Morrow, Robyn Francis, Anne-marie and Graham Brookman, Josh Burne and many more.

This photo was taken at the Sydney book launch, 3 ‘pioneers’ Robyn Francis, Allanna Moore and David Holmgren.

Here are some extracts from an article  by Kerry Dawborn and Caroline Smith published at

People usually think of pioneer species in ecosystems as ‘weeds’ or ‘pests’. They are those resilient plants and animals with the unique qualities that allow them to thrive in a degraded ecosystem and help to prepare it for other species to follow. The writers in this particular book are also pioneers, a remarkable and diverse group of people who have all chosen to work towards a sustainable future through the practice of permaculture. Like many others, they recognise the need for a deep transformation of cultural and personal values from being high consumers to values based on social justice and ecological sustainability.

Their stories offer all readers, not just permaculturalists, something we can all learn from that comes from real life achievements as well as many mistakes and challenges. One of the reasons permaculture is becoming so popular is the common sense (or as some have said, ‘un-common sense’) of its ideas and approaches, which can almost seem revolutionary these days.

From the insights of co-originator David Holmgren’s and others who have been involved in permaculture for many years, to an inspiring younger generation, the writers in Permaculture Pioneers show us a range of ways of working in permaculture. They are all ordinary people struggling to make sense in a world of fears about food security, peak oil, climate change and ecosystem disruption. Contributors explain how permaculture offers everyone a way to stop being fearful and start being positive and pro-active, and provide readers with strategic and practical skills to work on solutions.

One of the book’s key messages is that ordinary folk do not have to wait for experts and governments to lead. The experiences of the Permaculture Pioneers illustrate that we can all be courageous and amazingly creative. We all have the tools to empower ourselves, rather than simply being dragged along in a flow we cannot escape.

Permaculture Pioneers – Stories from the New Frontier, edited by Kerry Dawborn and Caroline Smith, is available for purchase online here. All royalties from the book are being donated by the editors and contributors to the Permaculture Pioneers Fund, to be used to support appropriate permaculture projects in Australia and overseas.

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