Patrick Whitefield is a British Permaculture teacher, designer, and consulting editor for Permaculture Magazine. He is a specialist in temperate climate permaculture, and is an influential British exponent of the permaculture design system  since  1990.

Background

Patrick was brought up on a smallholding in Somerset in the South West of the UK; he later studied and qualified in agriculture at Shuttleworth College in Bedfordshire. Patrick took his agricultural knowledge to Africa and the Middle East and different parts of the UK, he eventually settled in the center of the country of Somerset, where he still lives today. During Patrick’s time spent living in a Tipi, he gained a unique insight into the connectivity of nature through careful observation and his closeness to the land on which he lived, he later published a short book  about living simply in a Tipi.

Work

During the 1990s Patrick devoted his time to permaculture, in which he taught the full Permaculture design course, it was during this time that he began to write about permaculture, in particular on how to make a forest garden, but it was really in the 2000s that Patrick’s diverse learning and observational experiences began to develop and add to the body of global permaculture knowledge and in doing so, defining his position as the most important temperate climate permaculture teacher. His ‘permaculture in a Nutshell’ made the subject more accessible and easy to understand, and his ‘Earth Care Manual  became the main body of work within temperate climate permaculture. Outside of his dedication to teaching permaculture Patrick has also appeared in the Channel 4 series ‘Its not east being green’ and he also appeared in a the BBC documentary ‘ Farm for the Future’ where he discussed the unsustainable nature of modern agriculture. At home, he grows his own food and has a productive apple orchard and teaches Permaculture design courses at Ragmans Lane Farm in Gloucestershire.

Patrick’s contribution towards the development of a permanent culture

There are a number of contributions that the work of Patrick Whitefield makes towards the development of a permanent culture, perhaps the most important is his in depth work on permaculture in a temperate climate, despite critics of permaculture trying to cajole people into a state of doubt that permaculture will only work if applied in warm and tropical climates, Patrick’s work proves permaculture is not only possible in our UK climate, but also that it is not too difficult to create abundant and resilient systems by employing the use of our own native plants.

I have memories of struggling to find books and information about permaculture in our climate, and was over the moon when I discovered Patrick’s work, particularly his Earth Care Manual, which for me, is the most thorough book written about Permaculture, which is certainly on par with Bill Mollison’s earlier works. Patrick’s diverse experience in agriculture, organic vegetable growing, traditional country crafts, and the expert knowledge that he has about how nature works within our temperate climate, makes him an important figure within a diverse movement which seeks to move forward and live ecologically sound lives in a world less reliant of dwindling resources.

Dedicated to Patrick Whitefield, who sadly passed away recently.

Patrick Whitefield Publications

The Living Landscape: How to read and understand It: By Patrick Whitefield (2009)

The Earth care Manual: A permaculture Handbook for Britain and other Temperate climates: Patrick Whitefield (2004)

Permaculture in a Nutshell: by Patrick Whitefield (Paperback 2009)

Tipi Living (simple living) by Patrick Whitefield and Anne Monger (2000)

How to make a Forest Garden: by Patrick Whitefield and Tricia Cassel-Gerard (1996)

 

Article Author: Steve Jones

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