an ecosystem's shared design for human, animal and plant habitats

It's hard to imagine: A world that can't seem to get enough green lost one of its biggest influences. Australian news network ABC Rural reported this month the final meeting of the Tasmanian Organic Gardening and Farming Society, which was first organized in 1972 and is one of the largest organic groups in the world per capita. One of its most famous members, Bill Mollison, developed the eco-philosophy permaculture in the late '70s. Combining "permanent agriculture" and "permanent culture," permaculture is not merely interchangeable with sustainability, but rather focuses on how to get there and what role each element plays in the habitat you share with your garden. Among other principles, it promotes biodiversity and complementary gardening — mimicking your garden's natural habitat. The Permaculture Institute tells its practitioners to "work with, not against, nature." RiverSolar and the Heritage Foundation offer Permaculture Design Certificate courses beginning Friday, July 10, in the ArtEgg Building (1001 S. Broad St., Suite 116). The weekly instruction courses total 36 hours in 18 weeks, with two-hour classes each week, culminating in a qualification exam. Admission is $20. Email Doris A. O'Sullivan at or call 729-8226. — Alex Woodward