Australasian Permaculture Convergence 14 (APC14)

David Holmgren

Holmgren Design

David Holmgren

Holmgren Design

Biography

David Holmgren was born in Fremantle WA in 1955 and raised in the suburbs by parents who were bookshop proprietors and committed anti-war and social justice activists. As an Environmental Design student in Hobart in the mid 1970’s he developed a close mentor relationship with then psychology lecturer Bill Mollison and between them they created the concept of permaculture. The publication in 1978 of Permaculture One to much acclaim, and some scorn could have been the road to environmental celebrity but instead David focused on expanding and deepening his skills in self reliance through a number of urban and rural projects in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and NZ. From 1983 Holmgren Design Services provided a part time livelihood while he and his partner Su Dennett made the move from inner urban Melbourne to Hepburn Springs in central Victoria where they used modest saving to owner build “Melliodora” their family home and one of the best known permaculture demonstration sites in Australia on one hectare of land on a small town suburban street of mostly quarter acre blocks. Through the 1990’s David’s focus was mostly local and rural including the development of the Fryers Forest ecovillage near Castlemaine. The publication in 2002 of Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability alerted the, by then, global permaculture movement and networks that David was not just a quiet practitioner but a deep thinker. Over the next few years a series of extended overseas teaching and study trips consolidated his influence in expanding the understanding of permaculture beyond organic gardening. The publication in 2009 of Future Scenarios: How Communities Can Adapt To Peak Oil and Climate Change led to the recognition of David as a futurist while his teaching, writing and public speaking became increasingly focused on suburbia, as the place where most Australians could survive and thrive energy descent futures. RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future is the culmination of that positive vision based on more than 4 decades of lived experience of, and education about, personal, household and community well being informed by permaculture ethics and principles.

All session by David Holmgren