East Tennessee Permaculture Research Institute


ETPRI is the East Tennessee Permaculture Research Institute, a new non-profit venture growing on the Sustainable Future site in South Knoxville. We are following a pattern created by Geoff Lawton who created a Permaculture Research Institute at his farm in Australia several years ago. Since then Geoff has encouraged others to follow his lead and establish similar Institutes in various climates around the world. There are about twenty “certified” Institutes at this time; two are in the US, one in California and another in Minnesota. Ours would be in the ‘temperate climate zone’ of East Tennessee.

Our aim is to teach Permaculture design and practice both through formal classes and by creating a demonstration site on our property. Permaculture employs a number of elements that are designed to work with nature to increase agricultural yields while enriching the land. Our demonstrations will give people a hands-on chance to see this practice in action.

Over the years, Permaculture has extended far beyond its agricultural ‘roots’ as the emphasis has shifted to the ‘culture’ part of the term. It has become about sustainability and self-sufficiency in general, and about forming vibrant, healthy communities. This is our long term goal. We hope you can join us.


David Bolt and Jim Gray have been working to organize ETPEI for several months. This process started with the Sustainable Future facility in South Knoxville, which offers us both opportunities and challenges. Currently we are remodeling the former SF office areas to create a large open classroom. We are tearing down walls and ceilings, selling off office equipment, replacing an aging HVAC unit with a new high efficiency system. All the while we are trying to secure a supply of organic materials like wood chips and manure to revive our very poor soil. Progress is slow, but there is progress. We have a few volunteers who help, but we could use many more — but more about that later.

Initially ETPRI will be promoting Permaculture in East Tennessee by providing;

  1. Classes on Permaculture and related topics
  2. A “Demonstration” Site
  3. Reaching out to a community of people who can share their permaculture experience

To learn more about ETPRI or Permaculture, contact:Photo on 7-9-15 at 8.28 AM copy

Jim Gray
Executive Director
(865) 216-5495  (cell)