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Critical political ecology: Permaculture

Permaculture is a design science that enlists ecological principles in the management of gardens through fostering "webs of mutually beneficial relationships". With the philosophy of regeneration and renewal at its core, permaculture provides a useful window onto the socio-ecological nature of food production and political motivations of those seeking alternative foodways. This is particularly relevant in spaces like post-socialist Europe, where a general ambivalence toward the 'transition' of the 1990s is inspired by increasing wealth disparity and political disillusionment.

This research draws from research and work experience on permaculture farms in Central and Eastern Europe 2011-2012.

2015. “Permaculture in the margins: realizing Central European regeneration”, Journal of Political Ecology 22(1), 429-444. doi:

"What is wealth?" Damyan asked a group of thirty permaculture course attendees. They had come from Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Hungary, America, and Israel; leaving their respective ecovillages, suburban homes, and studio apartments for a weekend spent in a small Bulgarian town, hoping to collaborate and share mutual inspiration. When nobody answered immediately, he repeated the question in Bulgarian: how do you define wealth? As hands began to go up, the answers were eventually compiled into one category: the creation of abundance... For these 'students of nature', permaculture offers abundance on their own terms—in units of time, freedom, and freewill— conceptualized as a diversification of investment that runs counter to capitalism's "monoculture of commerce."

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