Next Big Step to CoLab transformation


The CoLab is still in the pupal stage - but not long now!!!

Apologies for being so quiet for so long. We have been in a process of transformation for some time now. What was the Next Big Step project is metamorphosing into the Permaculture CoLab (Collaborative Laboratory). That in itself has been a very interesting journey. However, we are nearly ready to emerge again.

Results of the Next Big Step project

Permaculture offers practical and effective solutions to help people address global issues at a local level. Grass-roots diffusion of knowledge has led to an estimated 3 million practitioners worldwide. There is growing recognition that mechanisms to help us work together more effectively could yield significant advantages.  In 2014 a team began work to understand what enhancing coherence across the permaculture movement might mean for practitioners and organisations.  

We found that work towards greater global coherence should be sensitive to the ethos of permaculture and would be most effective if it could:


  1. Facilitate connections between organisations in permaculture, developing mutually beneficial support structures for teaching, leadership, and organisational development.
  1. Develop a credible evidence base for permaculture, and support the wider dissemination of such findings to expedite real change at local to global levels.
  1. Recognise the strength of the diversity in the movement and enable organisations and individuals to connect and collaborate more effectively on areas of mutual passion.
  1. Facilitate connections between permaculture organisations and allied organisations to enable more effective action on shared issues.
  1. Enable social eco-entrepreneurial activity to help more individuals and organisations to find rewarding occupations in permaculture.

There was clear evidence that, although there was a strong desire to collaborate, a hierarchical system would not be the right solution. Developing resilient and self-reliant communities and restoring ecosystems were seen as the two highest priorities for concerted action on global issues, and it was felt that these could be best achieved through developing the credibility and visibility of permaculture as a solution.  Providing reliable evidence for effective permaculture practices and approaches was most valued in terms of research priorities, and moving permaculture education into the mainstream was a priority in education.

Permaculture organisations have become increasingly widespread and related work has identified organisations in over 130 countries. Those that responded to the survey were mostly not-for-profit organisations and networks, often run by a small number of highly motivated staff and volunteers.  They act as hubs for local projects and practitioners, offer free permaculture advice and organise network activities.  They would most value support with fund-raising and looking to enhance their viability and effectiveness in the longer-term.

Respondents tended to be well educated with almost two-thirds having a degree, and a similar proportion having completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC).  They are highly motivated by learning new things.  Most would like to improve their permaculture design skills and see a large contrast between their passion for fundraising and their desire to improve this.

You can also check out the full report here.

Get Involved

If you are interested to join us on the journey. Fill in the form below. We will be getting in touch with everyone in the next few months.