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People & Permaculture

Caring and Designing for Ourselves, Each Other and the Planet

By Looby Macnamara
Illustrated by Rebecca Storch

This is the first book to explore how to use permaculture design and principles for people - to restore personal, social and planetary well-being.

People & Permaculture widens the definition of permaculture from being mainly about land-based systems to include our own lives, relationships and society. This book provides a framework to help each of us improve our ability to care for ourselves, our friends, families and for the Earth. It is also a clear guide for those who may be new to permaculture, who may not even have a garden, but who wish to be involved in making changes to their lives and living more creative, low carbon lives. People & Permaculture transforms the context of permaculture making it relevant to everyone.

Including over 50 practical activities, People & Permaculture empowers readers with tried and tested tools to initiate positive change in their lives. It is a hands-on yet powerful guide to creating a sustainable world.


We all have our dark moments of the soul, when we go deep into our individual beings and ask hard questions and sometimes get unwelcome answers. Are humans a plague on the planet? Can one person, when that one person is me, really make a difference? Can the juggernaut of consumer society be turned? Why should we single out our fellow humans for a special degree of care over, say, salmon, or whales? The answer is in this book. We take care of people because people matter, and because that is our nature as creatures who care. What we care about matters to the fate of the world, now as never before. If permaculture as a design tool is about making connections, this book is about how we reconnect ourselves - to each other, to our inner selves, to our highest aspirations and, finally, to the cycles of life, of which we are just a small, but incredibly important, part."--Albert Bates,Author and educator, The Farm Ecovillage Training Center

"This book is cause for celebration! Many of us have long hankered for the insights and principles of permaculture to be translated to serve all aspects of our lives. Looby Macnamara has been worth waiting for: she fills the bill with luminous clarity, lean eloquence and an exquisite knowledge of systems. Her opening chapters on 'Thinking Like an Ecosystem' should be required reading in every classroom from third grade through graduate school. Equally rewarding are her applications of permaculture to health, communication and the life of the mind. It's part of the genius of the book that all this, once you see it, can seem as natural as breathing."--Joanna Macy, Author of Coming Back to Life, World as Lover, World as Self and co-author of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy

"This is indeed a timely and very important book. Now, more than ever, we need to find ways of working together if we are to create a world in which our grandchildren can and want to live in. I am confident that we already have the tools to practically build a future in harmony with the Earth, but our greatest challenge is how to live in harmony with each other to enable us to do so. Looby's book provides the very tools we need to undertake this vital work."--Tim Harland, Founder of Permaculture magazine

"The application of permaculture principles and thinking to peoplecare has long been a vexed issue for permaculture activists, designers and teachers. In this book Looby Macnamara uses her solid grounding in permaculture to show that its principles and thinking can help us all be effective and hopeful in an age of change and challenge. In the process she draws in kindred ideas and influences from the field of peoplecare, making a significant contribution in the ongoing evolution of permaculture as a concept and a movement creating a better world."--David Holmgren, Co-originator of the Permaculture concept, author of Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

"Peoplecare is as important to permaculture as earthcare - unless we learn to live in harmony with each other, we'll never get anything done. Looby's book fills a gap that has long been there in permaculture literature. I heartily congratulate her."--Patrick Whitefield, Author, The Earth Care Manual and How to Make a Forest Garden

"The future of culture and agriculture is in permaculture. This book is perhaps the first to give readers the big picture and a comprehensive understanding of permaculture and how it can underpin our ecological, social and spiritual paradigm. The book is an outstanding contribution to an ever evolving vision which is creative, imaginative, sustainable and joyful."--Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence magazine and author of No Destination


Looby Macnamara

Looby Macnamara

Looby has been teaching permaculture since 2002, and is partner of a leading teaching and consultancy partnership, Designed Visions ( She runs full permaculture design courses as well as teacher training, advanced permaculture design and peoplecare courses. Looby travels to Nepal to support the Himalayan Permaculture Centre and has founded a Fair Trade business, Spirals of Abundance, importing organic cotton clothes and other Nepalese handicrafts. She has supported the development and growth of permaculture nationally through her input as trustee of the Permaculture Association (Britain) for 5 years (2001-2006) and was the Chairperson for two of these. Looby lives in Herefordshire with her partner Chris Evans and two daughters. She enjoys singing, yoga, gardening and making all sorts of things from cakes to wine and clothes to blankets. She is the author of People & Permaculture: Caring & Designing for Ourselves, Each Other & the Planet.


Looby's Website
Looby's Bio on Designed Visions Website


People & Permaculture

Pages:304 pages
Book Art:Full-color illustrations throughout
Size: 9.5 x 7.5 inch
Publisher:Permanent Publications
Paperback: 9781856230872
Pub. Date September 03, 2012

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 304 pages, $34.95