Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic

First of all, I hope you are keeping well. We know that this is a worrying time for many people and we want to help.

The Permaculture Association is continuing to provide all of its existing services with the exception of book sales (the office is now closed) and events, which will be under review until we know more about how long this pandemic will last.

If you are not sure what you need to do, there are some really useful resources available for individuals and households, small businesses, charities, event organisers and more. We have collated all of these resources, and if you have anything to add please send it through to me.

At this time it's really important that we all look after our health - mental and physical - and look after each other too. It's good to focus on the things we can do, rather than on every news update. I’m going to use some of my time to get the garden planted up, to walk in nature, to do more yoga and meditation and to call my friends and family. Try to focus on the things you can do and that make you feel happy. Ask for help and talk to someone if you feel you are struggling.

If you are feeling well and have time to help, then there are many brilliant local groups popping up locally and on social media platforms like Facebook. It's great to help and a brilliant opportunity to talk to people about permaculture and the kind of future we want.

One of the things we are good at at the Permaculture Association is online working so it is one of the areas that we can use to support members. Building on the success of our regular Educator Monthly Online Gatherings (MOGs), now extended to every 2 weeks, we are offering to host:

  • An online call for LAND Centres, projects and groups to share and discuss challenges and how we can respond.
  • A series of online calls for members by region to share ideas and mutual support.
  • Plus, responding to emerging needs, a call to bring together members who are self-employed.

We can use these calls to support each other, but also to collate useful stories and strategies to share with the wider world in the coming weeks and months. You can also check out the member map by logging in to the website.

It's also important to let you know that this is going to put the Permaculture Association under a lot of pressure. Events will be postponed and it will be hard to develop some of our plans while everyone is focussed on COVID-19. We were already planning a donations drive before COVID-19 came along. It looks like it will now be essential. Watch out for our ‘£20 more in 2020’ campaign, or get in early by helping with a donation now if you can! Now more than ever, we want to tell the world about permaculture and support people to get involved.

COVID-19 will have a terrible impact on many people and we need to help each other wherever we can to get through it. There is also no doubt that COVID-19 will cause many people to call for big changes in the way society works. So we need to be ready now to help each other, and ready in the future to help shift society towards a more caring, regenerative and resilient future. I have huge faith in the creativity and practical genius of our members - let's put our permaculture skills and resourcefulness to good use in service of the wider community.

Educators, designers and Diploma apprentices, we need your designs!

Celia Ashman, our chief operations officer, has used the Design Web to put together her own response to the pandemic (see below). We would be really pleased to receive your designs and relevant projects that can be shared to help the wider public respond, and to be more prepared for a future crisis.

Can you share a design for how you started a garden, reduced your financial needs, or created a local support network? Please send designs and articles to Cath, Diploma Coordinator.

Andy Goldring
Coordinator (CEO)


Permaculture designs responding to the pandemic

Thank you to those that have already shared your responses and designs. Here is a selection. We'll of course be publishing more permaculture designs to inspire, motivate, and educate.


Celia Ashman used the Design Web

Celia Ashman's 'surviving a pandemic' design, using the design web

Looby Macnamara's design web was created for people based designing. There are 12 anchor points, which can be visited in any order.

"People care is embedded within the process, including pause for rest and appreciation anchor points. Giving time and space to design is an act of support and nurturing".

Celia's design acknowledges her own feelings and needs and those of others around her, describing how "using a design approach really helped me to feel more empowered in responding to a rapidly changing situation. Written during a sleepless night, it was not intended to be a perfect design, but a first response to help me adapt quickly. My partner and I have since repeated the process together, which has helped us plan our response and support each other more effectively." The write-up can be found on prezi.


Angie Polkey permaculture ethics mindmap COVID-19

Using the three permaculture ethics

Angie Polkey shares her mindmap saying, "I used the ethics to help me frame how I want to be and what I want to focus on during this lock down.

"Even before lock down, Alice and I were talking about how to stay in touch with our Permaculture Design Course students - as we've had to postpone the rest of the course. Lock down came and I wanted to review and organise my own life during this period.

"I started by using the principles for this but realised i was getting bogged down with too much detail and ideas at this stage, and so I switched to the ethics for an overview.  My example is based on my personal situation at home, wanting to outreach and help but also to support myself to be well and set up new patterns."


Earth Care

  • Growing (even more) organic food
  • Nature observations/records
  • Tree planting and 'wilder' land research and planning
  • More carbon reduction planning and advocacy


People Care

  • Tune in nature and garden
  • Less time on-line
  • Yoga and mindfulness
  • Focussed use of my skills and resources
  • Establish new patterns
  • New learning and skills
  • Thoughtful reading


Fair Shares

  • Peoples assemblies
  • Deep listening and NVC (non-violent communication)
  • "Real" support conversations
  • Make every word and action count
  • Share knowledge and raise awareness, especially design approaches and systems change
  • Share food and growing advice
  • Support my immediate community and permaculture/XR network locally

Plus, more in the intersections.


Sara Steeles Yates’ Emergency Home School Plan

Sara produced a speedy design for "How to Home Ed two very inquisitive and intelligent 11 & 13 year olds whilst having fun, doing my stuff, not turning into a monster or going bat shit crazy!

"My goal was to use this challenge to allow the kids to follow their interests, but also to ensure that I had space to work on things for myself too.

"This is a one page of A4, speedy design, created with a large glass of wine in one hand and a pencil in the other." Read the design.