Food Security and Nutrition Network

Resource Library

TOPS Permagarden Toolkit

Organizational Authors: 
The TOPS Program,
Mercy Corps
Year Published: 

Learn about this resource from one of its creators: 



TOPS Permagarden Manual, Second Edition

The permagarden method combines components of permaculture, an agricultural approach using design principles to utilize natural systems for production, and bio-intensive agriculture, an agricultural approach to maximize production on a small amount of land through sustainable practices that increase biodiversity, to create a highly productive garden using a small amount of land. It is designed to work in both the rainy and dry seasons, and is an approach to home gardens that improves soil fertility and water management to produce nutritious crops. The method shows how farmers around the world with only a small amount of land can produce food throughout the year by learning principles behind proper gardening and resource management, and matching those principles to basic practices. The permagarden method is designed to empower gardeners to use local resources to overcome challenges in the garden; it is a simple solution that can help bring resilience to each household, one small adjustment at a time

The Permagarden Technical Manual serves a key resource for development practitioners working with farmers to help them incorporate permagardens into their farming systems. The manual explains key concepts in creating a permagarden and matches them with appropriate practices, such as double digging, making botanical fertilizers, bio-intensive seed spacing, multicropping, and succession planting. It is intended to be paired with The TOPS Program training materials to enable project staff, together with farmers, to successfully implement a thoughtful, strategic approach to home gardens.

TOPS 3-Day Training in Permagarden

The 3-day permagarden training materials are intended for trainers who have completed the TOPS 5-Day permagarden training and plan to train farmers in this method. The aim of the training is to enable farmers to adopt key principles and create a permagarden within their homestead. Training materials include the TOPS Permagarden 3-Day Training Guidelines and TOPS Adult Education Training Resources.

TOPS 5-Day Training of Trainers in Permagarden

The TOPS Program offers a 5-day Training and Trainers (ToT) in the permagarden method. This training provides an opportunity for food security practitioners and project staff to learn technical aspects of the permagarden method, and to roll this method out to other practitioners and farmers. Participants in the ToT will construct a permagarden step-by-step as well as spend days learning adult education methods. The 5-day Permagarden ToT enables staff to deliver a 3-day permagarden training for farmers.

If you are interested in hosting a permagarden ToT, please contact Andrea Mottram at or Eric Carlberg at