What’s an Eco-Niche and Where Can You Find One?

Use design thinking to find your ideal place in your community.

What’s a niche?

A niche is an opportunity.​

In business, the word niche is used often, and it’s a well-known fact that writers and most other creatives need one in order to be financially successful. In that context, niche refers to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population. And if you do a search for niche blogging, you’ll open a wormhole filled with people in every corner of the multiverse. 

In science, an ecological niche has a deeper definition, which includes the role and position a species has in its environment, how it meets its needs for food and shelter, how it survives, and how it reproduces. An eco-niche includes all interactions with the biotic and abiotic factors of its environment. 

Check out this helpful article, about niche analysis in a permaculture setting.

And this one, about having a niche for your permaculture business.

In the permaculture  community, however, it’s very common to be a generalist and to have this “save the  world” “save everybody” attitude. And while that’s sort of a beautiful notion, it’s not  very attainable. It’s not measurable. When you try to do everything and help everybody at once, it’s very easy to dilute your work into a watered down, generalist approach, that might be inspiring and helpful on some levels, but is unlikely to bring in much in the way of specific rewards for you as an individual.

But if you can find your niche, as member of the permaculture community, and also as the creative and unique individual that you are, and bring forth ideas, products, and services that solve problems for a specific group of people, you can have a huge impact on their lives, bring in big rewards for yourself, and free up more time and resources for helping non-human species too!

Take a moment to imagine the myriad of ways you could turn your passion into a profession….

permaculture jobs word cloud

Niche Farming

Long before “permaculture” was a thing, farmers knew that finding a niche is a great way to make farming a much more viable profession. Here are some interesting case studies:

Organic farm finds success with niche products
Family Run Farm Finding Niche In Industry
Quitting Your Job to Farm Seeds For a Living? 🌱
Smart Farm: Women group found niche in banana value addition
Mountain Rose Herbs: Our Farms
South African woman carves niche in chilli business

Marketing for Hippies

If you’re doing any sort of freelance work, or running a business, or even just running a community project that you want other people to know about…you need to learn something about marketing.

“Ethical” marketing is a HUGE rabbit hole on its own, and if you want to go the Heather Jo direction with it (#ecofeminist) then for sure sign up for the free eco-niche class mentioned below.

Meanwhile, check out Ted Hargrave’s work. It’s fascinating to consider how a simple set of tools can make such a huge difference in both the yield and the impact of our work. 

Here are a couple of videos, focused on the “find a niche” theme:

Finding a Profitable Permaculture Niche For Your Business


find your econiche course

Relevant Links and Resources​

A few more articles from the PWG faculty:

circle of hands with seedling sprouted in soil

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