There are a lot of good books out there that rehash the permaculture principles and ethics. I'll be content to refer to those works. When I work with farmers and gardeners, getting them to embrace a whole philosophy of living is a tough sell. That's no reason not to try--and in fact, the best way to convince them is to show them. They want to know how to make sure this year is productive and next year can be more productive. Subsistence farmers can't afford to experiment. So my aim with this book is to do just that: show them. I imagine a sort of reference book of techniques. Each page is a series of "how-to" photos of a particular technique. Like, a lasagna garden bed, or an agroforestry crop system on a slope, or a desert pit garden, and on and on. Each with its list of photos with step-by-step instructions and a drawing or two to highlight the important elements. In each section I would arrange the techniques from more arid environments to more humid. This way we hit the whole continent. It will be a big book. But we need big reference books--especially when we're in the bush and have no internet.
The permaculture principles and big-picture design will be present in four main ways:
1. The first chapter will be about nature's way of creating fertility. This will focus the aim of the book on patterns and strategies of nature.
2. An appendix that gives an overview of the ethics and principles established by the founders of permaculture.
3. The introduction to each section will give a "framework" in reference to the first chapter of the book, as well as introduce one key principle (from Holmgren) that will help the reader to process the value of the techniques being shown.
4. The organization of the book will be according to the 5 zones--techniques for each zone. Obviously, there will be overlap. But that is the strength of a reference book: you can refer the reader to relevant techniques in other sections of the book as well as include a very thorough index.
Is this sounding encyclopedic? Exactly. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.
I've written a first draft of the introduction. If you care to read it, send me a moosage.