Getting to Know Dan Palmer

Getting to Know Dan Palmer


To learn more about all of Dan's amazing work you can access links on the page below.


What’s your number one saying?

Trust the process.

Where are you based (why, and where have you lived before and how has this influenced you)? (photos)

I live between Whakatane and Tāneatua in the Eastern BOP. I grew up in the Rotorua lakes region then spent twenty years in and outside Melbourne before circling back home for good. My family and I are creating a hillside home in a beautiful little valley sharing the land of some wonderful friends. We’re also just one kilometre from Oakdene Forest Farm - a seven-acre property we’ve been helping my folks develop for about 14 years.

Oakdene Forest Farm

What led you to permaculture (and when)?

I was interested in dissolving the separation between humans and the rest of life and permaculture seemed to be something about this. I’ve been involved since 2005.

Dan grabbing a selfie with a delighted Bill Mollison during his PDC in 2005.


Dan reading the landscape with David Holmgren as part of the Reading Landscape Film Project.


What is your profession/passion and who are the people you share this with? (links and photos)

My passion is creating and sharing systems of thought and action to help people toward bringing more aliveness to their projects, properties, communities, and lives. One of these systems is called HolisticDecision Making and another Living Design Process. I share my stuff in online courses, a podcast called Making Permaculture Stronger, and have a couple of books and a film in progress.

I have recently realised, however, that my real work is not so much about sharing stuff with a wide audience. What is bringing me most alive is supporting small communities of committed people to grow and evolve their capacity to see and work with life and complexity and wholeness. I have noticed that deep, enduring change doesn’t happen in weeks or months, but requires ongoing focused work over the course of years. This is what most excites me in my work, and I feel deeply honoured that there are folk about who get what I’m on about and want in.

How would your friends describe your sense of humour?

Embarrassingly bad yet impressively persistent.

What's your personal take on Permaculture in New Zealand? 

I’ve only been back for six months and I am somewhat out of the loop. I know and have a lot of respect for several of those leading it, however.

What lesson in life stands out the most for you (Why do you feel that way)?

Where your attention goes, your energy flows, and where your energy flows, your life grows. Something I have to remind myself of most days.

What changes would you like to see for permaculture in the future?

I see a lot of mainstream energy directed toward using lifeless and mechanical processes to arrive at lifeless and fragmented outcomes. I see permaculture’s centre of gravity as trying to use lifeless and mechanical processes to arrive at alive, whole and beautiful outcomes. To me, the next step would be for permaculture to start using alive, whole and beautiful processes to arrive at alive, whole and beautiful outcomes. I see this as a long-term possibility well worth investing attention and energy toward.

What question do you wish to ask those who are reading this?

What matters most to you? What is your core work to do? Are you organising your days and weeks around these things? If not, why not?


To view Dan's contribution to Permaculture, click on the pictures below...


VEG - Very Edible Gardens logo


Show Coverart











written by Dan can be found on these 2 sites

  The Permaculture Research Institute