What is Permaculture? A Look at a Growing Business Sector


With the rising trend of being more eco friendly and choosing greener options in everyday life, it is no wonder that the permaculture business has seen significant growth over the past few years. Healthy living and clean eating have also added to the expansion of this particular business. Whether it is growing fruits and vegetables for family consumption or turning local producers into more economical systems, the permaculture business is certainly the way forward. If you have a green thumb and are looking for an avenue to make the most out of your talents, this business maybe just for you.

What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a relatively new term created by Australian biologist and environmentalist, Bill Mollison. Overall, it refers to a self-sufficient and sustainable method of gardening. It’s a more sustainable way of gardening and growing resources that have less of an impact on the natural environment and local ecosystems.  It’s an alternative to conventional methods of farming and landscaping as it works with the land, rather than building against it. It aims to provide a garden that is sustainable, productive and requires minimal effort to maintain. The surrounding elements such as light, shade, wind, warmth, water, natural flora, and fauna, and surrounding buildings and infrastructure are all considered when designing the garden space.

Do you have to have an eye for design?

One of the greatest aspects of permaculture is the fact that aesthetics aren’t the ultimate goal, so if you aren’t a designer, then that’s totally fine. The aim of permaculture is to design and build a garden that is first and foremost sustainable. The whole concept is to not have an impact on the land and instead work with it to be able to grow fruits and vegetables economically.

What kind of business would this be?

How you approach the business is completely up to you. With many different business options, it is no wonder there has been an increase in those interested in starting a permaculture business. Some will start a business with the outcome of reselling the fruits and vegetables – marketing them as being grown in a sustainable garden. Others have used this as a business opportunity to design gardens for others or even teach others how to create an economical garden. This type of role will have some interesting and varied opportunities as you will be required to design and change gardens based on their location and current status.

Do I need certification/licensing?

Although there are no formal qualifications or licences needed in order to start a business like this, it’s always a great idea to get some training in this field. There are courses available in permaculture and horticulture that can be of great use. These types of courses will help you to learn the basics of the field and give you the potential to provide a great service if you choose to start your own business. It’s also important to note that this kind of business can be physically demanding, so being physically fit and able is also a key requirement.

Is this an expensive business to start-up?

Depending on what approach you take, it can be a relatively cheap business to start up. If you plan on teaching others permaculture or designing and building sustainable gardens, the biggest costs will be your tools of the trade, marketing, and any start-up costs. However, if you’re looking at creating an urban farm, there may be a little more capital required to start this kind of venture. Building a greenhouse and season-extending structures will require capital, as well as leasing land, paying water rates and purchasing basic farming tools. It’s important to understand that because there are quite a few avenues to go down within the permaculture business, there are plenty of opportunities available, both now and in the future.

What other benefits are there to starting a business in permaculture?

There are plenty of benefits of this kind of business, both to yourself and those you serve. Permaculture businesses often work together in order to broaden the awareness of the field and how it can benefit people and the environment. You will likely find other permaculture business owners will want to help you on your venture and vice-versa. When working in this field, you will be helping people to understand how sustainable living has a huge positive impact on the environment and the land. This continues ethical and sustainable practises and reinvests into the local area, the environment and the people of the local area. Doing good work for others, the community and the environment can be a rare trait to find in many jobs, so you will likely have one of the greatest feelings in this kind of role. Being able to do work that is helping the planet now and into the future will be very rewarding.

If you’re looking for a change of pace, want to work outdoors or perhaps you just want to try and make the world a better place, a step into the permaculture business may be just what you’re looking for. To become qualified in the permaculture industry you can complete a Certificate of Completion in Horticulture with the ICI today. Check out our course page here for more details.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.