My name is Rich and I live in mid central lower Michigan, zone 5b, on 12 acres with my dad. I moved here about 2 years ago and over that time I find myself obsessing over permaculture and it's potential. I've long considered myself an environmentalist and have devoted much of my adult life to reducing my footprint and helping others do the same. I studied permaculture briefly in grad school but it didn't resonate with me at the time.
Here at dads place we heat with wood, so when I first moved here I started researching how to burn wood more efficiently and of course I found the rocket mass heater. I was immediately enticed by the RMH and quickly built a prototype. Then another, and another. I took workshops and was fortunate enough to study with Erica and Ernie Wisnar as I earned my PDC at Wheaton Labs. I now have a fully functioning RMH in my space and it's fricken awesome!
My study of the RMH brought me back to the world of Permaculture, these days it's about all I can think about.
I'm trying to build a career as a consultant along with some kind(s) of cottage industry. I've been a worm farmer for many years so I'm thinking about scaling up production.
I could go on with more specifics about my skill set and situation but I'm hitting a wall that I suspect many of us are. I live in a rural area with lots of poverty. The local economy is driven by some light industrial factories, retail and big agriculture. Lots of folks commute long distances for work. I recently went to an earth day event at the high school and talked with folks from the master gardeners club, 4H and the county extension. Not one person I talked to had heard of permaculture.
Over the past 2 years I've tried various things to try to connect with other permies in the area. I've posted on the local gardening group on facebook, nobody know what permaculture is. I hung fliers around town that say "Interested in Permaculture? Me too!! Let's chat". No response. I've posted on craigslist...nothing. I have connected with a few folks here on there forums but they're all hours away.
I'm finding it hard to market myself as a permaculture consultant/practitioner when know one knows what it is.
Somewhere along the way I picked up a piece of wisdom from a market farmer who says a big part of selling regenerative food is being an advocate and cheerleader for regenerative practices. You have to educate your customers before you can sell to them...
I don't know, I'm at the end of my cash reserves so I started working on my resume which got me thinking about all of this.
Anyway, if you have thoughts on how to proceed or air your own grievances I'd love to here them.
I think you'll need to market your skills/knowledge without depending on the word "permaculture." Find other words and describe what you can do for people. Look at how other permaculture consultants market their services.