Truthfully I don't know when I started. My Grandparents probably had much to do with it. They were Victorian raised and gardens, nature, and doing for oneself were very important aspects of the family. I can remember my Grandmother explaining to me about the connection of kitchen scraps and having fish for dinner. Her compost pile was at the back of the yard by the burn barrel. My Grandfather would sit outside in the yard and the small birds would come and land on him for their breakfast and loving session. My parents gardened and one of the family activities was going for long walks in the local forests and parks to see what was going to be for dinner. We found everything from morels to pawpaws. So when I became a hippie-ish young mother and had my own family I learned the connection between doing for oneself and the pocketbook.
Now I am learning about aquaponics to do away with as much agro chemicals as I can.
I don't know when I first heard of permaculture...for me it was probably in the '70's, though the principles have always been with me as the family really stressed being a steward of the earth.