Permaculture or permanent agriculture was developed by an Australian, Bill Mollison. In his own words, permaculture is a “conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way”. Practically every permaculture expert has a different definition, but in essence they all imply the same thing.
Permaculture is actually all about using common sense, working with nature and understanding it, about farm systems, layout and zoning, and integration of physical and living components on a farm. Any experienced farmer with an understanding of nature can thus be a practitioner of permaculture principles without even knowing it.
In India, permaculture has some followers in Andhra Pradesh. In its formal form, it has found few takers in the country primarily because permaculture resources (books, training manuals and courses) are expensive or hard to come by, and the relevance or suitability of permaculture in its undiluted or rigid form leads to questions about its usefulness in Indian conditions. The basic principles are however useful to understand and implement. Following them would not perhaps classify a farmer as a permaculturist but one who has used his common sense and available resources to the hilt.