Permaculture song lyrics

Hey folks,

I’ve seen a few requests on YouTube and around for the lyrics to the permaculture song, so I’ve pasted them below. Thanks to everyone for their comments! May the song be a vehicle for spreading the good word about growing 😉

If you’re looking for a permaculture course, scope out – that’s where I learned the twelve principles

Much love,

Also, here’s the chords for any guitarists:

The verse is C, G, Dm, F

And the chorus is Dm, F, C, G

In some sense, you just play those four chords in order the whole way through, and start the verse and chorus on C and Dm respectively.

The only change is the second to last chorus where the Dm becomes Dm7, the F becomes Fmaj7, and the C becomes Cmaj7.

And here’s the lyrics:

Permaculture design
Just finished up a course
Wanna take it home
Take the world on a tour de force
Of fruits and trees
Flowers and bees
Sprouts and seeds
Enough for you and me

First come the earth
Yo you got to take care of it
Then come the people
Then each’s fair share of it

Design for the earth
And you design for yourself
Help design a world
Better for you and everybody else

Principle one
Observe and interact
Or you won’t get far
Man that is just a fact

Principle two
Capture and store energy
Put the water in the ground
Instead of washing out to sea

Principle three
Is often so tasty

It’s obtain a yield
No matter what you’re growin’
Gotta eat to work to live
To make it worth all the hoin’

Principle four
Keeps you on track
Self regulate and
Accept feedback

By that I mean
You gotta know things change
Don’t be afraid
To learn from nature’s ways


Principle five
It’s better to renewable
Hydroelectric solar power
It’s super doable

Don’t need a tractor
If you got a horse
If you got two hands
You don’t need brute force

Principle six
Waste is an illusion
Nature recycles all
While we waste time in confusion

Principle seven
Design from patterns to details
Nature’s got the answers
From the spirals to the sweet swales

Principle eight
Integrate integrate
Each element multifunctional
Each function supported just in case


Principle nine
Keep it small take it slow
Get the most for the least
You gotta go with the flow

Principle ten
You gotta have diversity
One basket’s to small
For all the eggs you’re gonna need

Principle eleven’s
All about the edges
Value the marginal
Less row more hedges

Principle twelve
Get creative with change
Each an opportunity
To grow and rearrange

[Chorus x 2]

Phew! And that’s all she wrote!

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9 Responses to Permaculture song lyrics

  1. anndelise says:

    I love the chorus of this song. I found your song while looking for a way of introducing my 15yo to permaculture design. We’ve talked about edible landscaping some, and she’s placed it as one of her goals for after high school (which has some agricultural classes). But most of the things I’ve found haven’t been at her level of communication. Every time I’ve found a definition of permaculture, the definitions have been too wordy or complex or boring. Your chorus, however, puts the motivating idea into simple yet very meaningful words. Add in that it’s set to music (she loves singing), and I’m confident that it’ll be a hit for her. In fact, tonight I’ll show her your song with the lyrics, and talk about the design part of the chorus. Then over the course of a month or so I’ll be going over Holmgren’s simplified version of the Ethics and Principles on his website. Between your song and his site, she’ll get a decent intro to the intros. 😉 I’ll let you know what she says about your song. 😀

    • Thanks for the feedback Ann! I love hearing that the song is being put to use, and eve more glad to hear that you’re taking it upon yourself to help your daughter learn about permaculture! I look forward to hearing her thoughts about the song 🙂

      Be well!

  2. anndelise says:

    We have listened to the song a few times now. Your smiling and inflections in it make us both smile. This round she joined in singing the chorus with ya. I knew it would take!! 😀
    So, we’re wondering if you intend to create more songs related to permaculture, heheh.
    Oh, and she was glad to hear that you were in a band of some kind.
    (and finally, I’ve been told to add in the reminder that perms are not sustainable nor is a need, and to pass on the recommendation to not get another one).

    *hangs head in embarrassment* while she teehees.

    Keep up the good work, and good luck in your permaculture designing pursuits. 🙂

    • David Griswold says:

      Thanks for letting me know how things went! And you are so right about perms! We were going to get them, but then decided against it when we realized that perm was short for “permanent” 😉 I hope to keep the song writing going strong – we’ll see when inspiration strikes next. If you have any particular topics you’re hoping to teach that you feel would be song worthy – let me know!

      All my very best,

  3. Hazel says:

    Love, love, love it! May I have permission to make a link to it on my blog…pretty please?

  4. Pingback: Portland you’ve got it going on | Permculture

  5. Russ says:

    Hi David,
    Just noticed the link to Lost Valley isn’t working:

    Great song.

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