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Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design

by Stefan Geyer

A Review by Marie Edwards

Is it possible to capture the elusive nature of being and the synergetic art of permaculture design? Some may claim that such a venture would never yield fruitful results due to the depth and complexity of both subjects… However in this novel work, Stefan Geyer masterfully weaves together ancient Zen traditions with the permaculture designer’s approach to the world in ways that offer real sustenance.

Geyer thoughtfully delineates how both permaculture and Zen perspectives operate from the knowing that all is connected; that all is one. A comprehensive explanation of permaculture is offered; interspersed with nuggets of wisdom and a strong dose of wonderment to keep the subject and ‘ways’ alive as well as open to growth and personal interpretation. The pattern-orientated and whole-systems approach within permaculture design is held as integral whilst the need to be in the moment, with things as they are – for good or ill, to observe, listen, connect, relate, play and reflect deeply are emphasised. Such skills tend to cultivate the best of results in all meaningful relationships and are most particularly required when it comes to our communion with life itself which of course both Zen and permaculture draw from as a fundamental foundation.

The almost intangible and somewhat paradoxical quality of both disciplines is expressed in a seemingly lightly held state of reverie as should probably be the case with all matters worthy of deep contemplation. Without wishing to spoil the delights this book has in store I was especially enthused by the frequent injections of humour which kept what can be ‘serious material’; fresh, free and pliable leaving the reader open to run wild, with presence and grace as they venture forth in the world being and doing their own ‘permaculture thing’. At the very least this rare little gem of a book offers us time to pause, let go of preconceived ideas and hold space for what could be…

Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design

Stefan Geyer is a former chair of the Permaculture Association (Britain)

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