From the words permanent culture (permanent agriculture) - Permaculture is a whole systems design practice that sensitively uses all ecological systems together for the benefit of all living things.
Permaculture aims to mimic patterns found in nature and is based on three ethical principles: care for the earth, care of people and share the surplus. It engages whole systems thinking that promotes mutually beneficial relationships between elements in a system. A set of ecological design principles serve as the building blocks for home and large-scale agricultural systems. Permaculture principles can be applied to human relationships, economic and even political systems.
To find out more, check out the following Permaculture sites:
San Francisco Permaculture Guild
Urban Permaculture Guild
Merritt College Landscape Horticulture Department
Permaculture Design Courses, Natural Building, Native Plant Design, and much more!