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Why is permaculture so fragmented even in a game changing crisis?

 
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I think we can all agree that we are in a shape shifting time with this pandemic and economic collapse. IMO this is the time that permaculture could arise and be a better way forward.  That is not what I'm seeing and it has been one of the reasons why I rarely use the word that much to describe what I'm doing at my residence. I feel as if permaculturists  have been waiting and anticipating peak oil, economic collapse, health crisis, etc for the path to be paved for a better future, one where permaculture principals can be implemented.

I've been trying to pay attention to what some of the top permaculture practitioners are doing and it just seems so fragmented. Geoff Lawton does large scale stuff, David Holmgren is talking about shapeshifting suburbia, etc. There isn't one place for the beginner or person that wants to shift out of this pandemic into a better way - an intro as you would. People can't grasp large earthworks and swales on a massive scale like Mark Shepard is doing https://permies.com/t/114584/aren-farms-Mark-Shepard-exploding

What I am seeing is alot of people setting up raised beds as I drive around my area and I think is great. Why don't we have an access point to permaculture - the beginning gardners could be learning about companion planting, water, soil, etc?  The Permaculture 1 & 2 books are too much, they just are. People need to quickly learn skills, for example - tree guilds, because at my local nursery they are all but sold out.

I guess I'd just like to start a conversation on this because I feel like THIS is the time, it could be that "tipping point".  I'm personally thinking of sharing some of the information that I've learned over the past 10 years, but I'm hesitant to label it "permaculture".
 
pollinator
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Paul's Building a Better World book may be just the place for people to start.

Pointing people to this very forum is another option. I see people here from rank beginners to true experts in many fields, and everyone gets their questions answered.
 
pollinator
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Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway is a basic guide to homescale permaculture that is accessible to everyone with a yard (their own or a friend's).

Personally I'm not seeing much actual fragmentation.  I see a lot of people implementing the same philosophy, principles, and practices in their own unique style.  Permaculture is not one-size-fits-all so it is wonderful that there are all these different styles out there to appeal to different preferences.

For instance, my dad enjoys watching David the Good videos but falls asleep during Charles Dowding or even Geoff Lawton videos.  All three of these teachers transmit permaculture principles in their own way.
 
C Gillis
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I think there are certainly books that are helpful for people, but we are in a digital age. Most libraries are closed and I guess you could order those books but how would a beginner know which book to order?  I would think they would go towards Permaculture 1 which is way too over the top for the person looking to get started.

An example of a hub or a place where someone might go for information would be something like the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov (not that this is the best example).  It is one central location to learn about the crisis, etc.

Why does this not exist in Permaculture?  I can point to 100 small resources and blogs, but there is not one centralized informational area.
 
master steward
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This is exactly what I presented on in 2014:  https://permies.com/t/34441/permaculture-velocity

 
paul wheaton
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C Gillis wrote:Why does this not exist in Permaculture?  I can point to 100 small resources and blogs, but there is not one centralized informational area.



Seriously?  I'm standing right here man.  You are posting on my site.  Last month 1.8 million people came here and looked at 12 million pages.  My guess is that this is bigger than all of the other permaculture sites combined.  
 
paul wheaton
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Part 1:   permaculture is NOT (currently) the norm.   Therefore, people that are keen on permaculture are not normal.   We are the weirdos.

Part 2:   there are many schools of thought under the permaculture umbrella.

Part 3:   somebody, a human being (and all that that implies), has some success with one school of thought in permaculture.  And if they observe somebody else doing something else and calling it permaculture, they seem keen to (errantly) point out "that's not permaculture" - when what they are attempting to say is "that's not the sort of permaculture I do."

Part 4:   we have a huge amount of growth to do and human beings are resistant to growth.  They lash out at those sharing their discoveries.

Part 5:   The internet seems to be a great tool to accelerate growth and knowledge.  But the human observers seem to value hate-filled psycho drama more than peaceful sharing.   This is why I wrote "haters gotta hate and rapers gotta rape".

Part 6:   One of the reasons I created this site was to facilitate an environment where knowledge sharing is valued more than anonymous hate-filled psycho drama.  Thus defragmenting, and growing our community.

 
C Gillis
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paul wheaton wrote:

C Gillis wrote:Why does this not exist in Permaculture?  I can point to 100 small resources and blogs, but there is not one centralized informational area.



Seriously?  I'm standing right here man.  You are posting on my site.  Last month 1.8 million people came here and looked at 12 million pages.  My guess is that this is bigger than all of the other permaculture sites combined.  



I wasn't trying to offend you or your website with that post, just making a point.  

Do you think it would be possible for You, Geoff, David, Mark, etc to all collaborate and have one resource that rules them all? Maybe that's permies, who knows?  I think "permaculture" should be open to organizing itself if it thinks it will somehow be relevant.  I don't currently see that, nor have I in the last 10 years.
 
paul wheaton
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C Gillis wrote:I wasn't trying to offend you or your website with that post, just making a point.



Then I guess I still don't see the point you are attempting to make.  


Do you think it would be possible for You, Geoff, David, Mark, etc to all collaborate and have one resource that rules them all?  



I hope we never get what you are suggesting - as that seems contrary to what Bill wanted for permaculture.  

I did not make this site to "rule them all".   I certainly hope that I don't end up being ruled by somebody telling me what permaculture is or isn't.



 
C Gillis
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Then I guess I still don't see the point you are attempting to make.




The point is what I addressed in the intial post - there's so much fragmentation in Permaculture that there really isn't a central place for beginner to start down this path - that would be helpful coming out of a crisis. Everyone in permaculture has been waiting for this moment we are in, yet I still see no organization. Let me know if I'm wrong there, maybe I'm not paying attention to the proper channels.


I did not make this site to "rule them all".   I certainly hope that I don't end up being ruled by somebody telling me what permaculture is or isn't.



I wasn't implying that you would be "ruled" by permaculturists or anyone else with an informational resource.

My opinion is that having a central place for people that are interested in permaculture to go to that is fully organized by the top group of experts would not be such a bad thing.  If you don't agree with that, that's fine, I'm just putting out there what I think is lacking and continues to lack. That's why I mentioned I'm hesitant to use the word "Permaculture" when describing any sort of implementation around my property, and I've heard that from many people.
 
master pollinator
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I hope it will always be fragmented to a degree. I once had an employee come to me with tears in her eyes.  She was a recent college grad and had gone to 3 different experienced staff and has gotten 3 distinctly different answers. She was amazed that I considered this to be desirable.  All disciplines need varying perspectives.  
 
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I think you cannot find a one stop shop because such a thing is impossible. Take something as simple as growing a tree, some people like me can put the seed in the ground and expect a fairly high proportion of them to turn into trees with no help from me, others may need to build a mound to keep it dry enough, others will have to build fort knox to stop it being eaten, still others will have to put it in a pit, give it shade, water it, build rock walls to catch dew just to give the poor thing a chance. All of those approaches can be covered as permaculture, even though some are mutually exclusive with each other. No book can cover all the aspects, however this forum pretty much does IF you can figure out what to search for.

Ways to reach out are to get people to see what it can do, a great example is listed in a thread on here permaculture advocate Zimbabwe rain Now almost nothing the OP of that thread does is pertinent to me, but the way she helps other people to practice permaculture, by showing how much better and easier growing food can be than the "traditional" methods, is a great example to all of us.

A terrible example is the "food forest" exhibit at the Eden project in Cornwall UK. they have several little show gardens outside the greenhouses and the food forest one is appalling, a few diseased fruit trees and the understory is only 2 or 3 plants with limited uses that have obviously taken over anything else that was planted. Which is really unfortunate as that garden is seen by many people and could really help spread ideas around.

Another thing is that Permaculture by it's very nature does not in my opinion lend itself well to crisis thinking. planting a perennial now will not give food in a few months when you think you may need it, it will of course give food for the next thing that pops up, but now is probably not the best time to be expecting people to be spending money on big projects or even books. I believe that fter this is over but before people forget is when one should really reach out.
(I also think that the fact that for most of us nothing really happened this time round, it will make convincing people they need to do anything for the next time harder)
 
C Gillis
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Good points Skandi Rogers, thanks for posting your thoughts.
 
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i agree with what you said, C Gillis, in terms of there not being anything centralized. Nowadays no real centralized place even exists anymore, unless you consider maybe the search engine algorithm. More people interested from all over the world, the traditional platforms losing steam.... who knew that YouTube would be a great way to spread actual knowledge? (and yet that is where I get a lot of my new techniques from for working with tropical trees, for example). It's all changing and the best thing we can do is try to provide ways for people to access permaculture as they search for solutions, and include all kinds of people (with all kinds of needs, in all kinds of places, with all kinds of different options).
I know I only stumbled on Permies when I researched rocket mass heaters, and I only really got into permaculture after searching for info on rabbit breeding setups.
 
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I get what you're saying, C. It certainly would be convenient and less confusing for a newbie to be funneled into ONE location for everything, have one best way, etc. But in my experience, nothing is that way.

Think of cooking sites / blogs, for example. Not only are they splintered by food genres but you also have multiple newbie focused sites, keto / paleo / vegan / wfpb / gf, budget cooking sites, gourmet sites. Everyone has a different take on cooking.

There are thousands of sites on meditation, yoga, guns, prepping, books, investing. You name it, there's a site for it... None of them are centralized. Even the government's sites don't agree, with different agencies having rules or laws that contradict each other.

It means we have to do more research and experimenting in every area to figure out what works for us, but imo, that's what life is about. And permaculture is no exception.
 
paul wheaton
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C Gillis,

Many years ago I was frustrated that permaculture was not a household word.  First I attempted to persuade some folks onto a path get permaculture knowledge out there more.  After getting nowhere with that path for about a year, I realized I had to quit my career and do it myself.   So I made these forums, posted stuff to youtube, made some podcasts, put out a bunch of movies ...   the permaculture playing cards are an attempt to make permies seem less crazy ...   and finally my book.  

Perhaps today is the day that you create the thing you wish to see added to the permaculture community.  And then your permies.com signature will include a link to this new resource.  And ten years from now, your name will be known as the person that projected permaculture into the mainstream.



 
C Gillis
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All good and valid points Tereza, Sonja and Paul. Thanks for posting your thoughts.

I'm currently working on some things outside of my fulltime work, so thanks for the encouragement Paul.
 
pollinator
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Like others have said, there is no one solution, because areas, conditions, people vary. There is a lot of good information out there, if people are willing to look. But in the end, trial and error is your friend.

We have more and more friends looking to learn from us, to live like us, and that's encouraging.
 
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C Gillis wrote:There isn't one place for the beginner or person that wants to shift out of this pandemic into a better way - an intro as you would.



I see many places for beginners to start. An individual interested in permaculture can visit their local library and borrow books for free. One could also attend an online or a site located permaculture design course. People can dip their toes into this realm by wwoofing or  participate in other types of volunteering on a permaculture farm. Wheaton Labs, is open to all people who want to learn about permaculture. There is also the internet, with websites to learn from and places like Permies to have open discussions about the subject. (I see you found us!)

People can't grasp large earthworks and swales on a massive scale



They can’t? I don’t think it’s fair to lump all people into one group of incomprehension or dunderheads. I believe people are smart, and given the chance to think critically and apply themselves they can formulate an understanding, even if they’ve never actually done a project such as building swales.

Why don't we have an access point to permaculture - the beginning gardners could be learning about companion planting, water, soil, etc?



There are many access points, some listed above, and again these forums here on Permies is quite a large repository of helpful information for those who want to seek permaculture. Even better than static pages in a book, permies is active with nice and helpful people, some more experienced than others, offering advice and input to help teach others, regardless of whether they’ve just discovered permaculture concepts or are further along having been practicing permaculture in it’s myriad ways for years.

The Permaculture 1 & 2 books are too much, they just are



Can you please help us understand what you mean? Are they too much information? Are they too expensive?
 
pollinator
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paul wheaton wrote:Part 1:   permaculture is NOT (currently) the norm.   Therefore, people that are keen on permaculture are not normal.   We are the weirdos.



I couldn't agree more.

I would add...
In 2014, after receiving my PDC from Geoff Lawton, I went, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, into my community and started Permaculture Providence. The group attracted a lot of wonderful folks - many of whom I love and am lucky to have met. I would put on presentations about Permaculture in health food stores and community spaces, and my 200+ members seemed to enjoy them. However, several years later, when I asked for help with the organizational part of things, all I got was crickets. Don't get me wrong, people were happy to host events, and some even taught the occasional session. They were legitimately busy with conflicting priorities which don't always include community building. Unfortunately, when it came to all the boring nuts and bolts, I was on my own. After three years, I was still doing about 80% of the presentations and 90% of the organizing. This was taking an enormous amount of my time, and a fair bit of money. I had to guilt people into contributing (which made all of us feel bad), so eventually I decided I just didn't want to do it anymore. After I stepped back, the group became a small, disorganized collection of wonderful friends who stay in touch and occasionally get together for a plant swap or pot luck. So it was worthwhile, even if it didn't turn out quite as I had imagined.

Upshot is, to get this message out to the masses you need people with boundless energy, thick skin, a certain amount of charisma, and the brains to monetize the process. Paul, you are one of these folks and I salute you! Personally, I have had to become more direct. I give away lots of seeds and plants and am always happy to answer questions. I have a pickup box on my front steps into which I am constantly putting free stuff for strangers, and I mail off lots of free seeds and cuttings. Beyond that, people can buy my card game or not, no worries. If they want me to speak, I'll work my ass of to make it a memorable, valuable presentation... but I will also charge a reasonable fee for my energy and time.

When I talk about "Permaculture" with the general public, I tend to revert to terms like "organic" and "natural", which almost anyone can relate to. When checking out my front yard foodscape, most people want to keep the discussion superficial (i.e. "your tomatoes look delicious!"), and I am fine with that. I might mention the history of "victory gardens", to see if their eyes light up, but very few do. Only after someone expresses a passionate interest do I wade into the deeper waters of Bill Mollison and Permaculture.

For some, this stuff is a passion. For others it will never be more than a passing fad, at least until such time as food becomes scarce and need outweighs inconvenience. That time will come. Until then, we Permaculture nerds will have to content ourselves with being a knowledge base for the community to tap when times get tough.

Wow! That was more of a rant than I envisioned! Sorry for that! :D


Instagram: @foodforestcardgame
Web: FoodForestCardGame.com


K-
 
C Gillis
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Like others have said, there is no one solution, because areas, conditions, people vary. There is a lot of good information out there, if people are willing to look. But in the end, trial and error is your friend.

We have more and more friends looking to learn from us, to live like us, and that's encouraging.



A few people have mentioned this - I get that totally, but lets just take for example "Organic Gardening". When that term is thrown around we have a fairly concrete idea of how a beginner can get started, in fact there is the Rodale Institute https://rodaleinstitute.org - all sorts of cool ideas going on there, proven, track record, people like Eliot Coleman are involved, etc. I think they are even involved with legislation.

These ideas can be implemented in many different zones and climates.

Currently Rodale is running a "Victory Garden" series, I've checked out a couple of the videos and they are great - an expert showing how to get started. Hashtags to spread the idea socially. https://rodaleinstitute.org/victorygardens/  it's pretty cool.

What would be so wrong with putting together an organization similar to this but for Permaculture and everyone in the movement getting behind it?
 
C Gillis
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Thanks for the thoughts Karl Treen - some really great nuggets in there. I also give away free seeds and have set up a local seed COOP which I'm growing slowly.
 
Tereza Okava
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as Karl* implies, the problem is the people.
Because people are political and things are complicated, some folks don't like Rodale, Mercola, electricity, moon phase planting, hunting, vegans, lentils, or Tom Brady, and won't get behind a centralized thing because someone involved in it does something that they can't accept.

You can't please everyone. I've run (and then closed up) enough Facebook groups to know that it dealing with conflicting opinions and online nastiness is enough to make you just want to head for the hills. Dealing with raccoons or slugs or nematodes is much, much easier than people.

(*Hi Karl! I did a lot of nonprofit work in the Providence area in the early 2000s and I feel your pain about having to shoulder the entire load yourself.... Didn't have land back then or do anything beyond work on a farmshare every summer, but I'm glad to hear you're making Providence even better, I don't get back up that way too often anymore but it remains close to my heart. Hope you have a great summer.)
 
C Gillis
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James Freyr wrote:I see many places for beginners to start.



That's part of the problem I'm mentioning above - so lets just say I want to create a raised bed, do I do a Geoff Lawton lasagna bed, or build a bed with sides on it, how about a Hugelkultur bed by Sepp Holzer? Should I plant a perennial bed because Eric Toensmeier seems to think that would be the best way to go? Would a perennial bed be best for me as a beginner? etc. There's so many approaches out there, some people enjoy that. All I'm saying is that it would be great to have a starting point for folks that wasn't so confusing.  

People can't grasp large earthworks and swales on a massive scale



They can’t? I don’t think it’s fair to lump all people into one group of incomprehension or dunderheads. I believe people are smart, and given the chance to think critically and apply themselves they can formulate an understanding, even if they’ve never actually done a project such as building swales.



The majority of people live in suburb/urban small acre lots - that's what I was referring to there. I think its about 27% of people would consider themselves rural in the US - large scale earthworks really don't apply.

The Permaculture 1 & 2 books are too much, they just are



Can you please help us understand what you mean? Are they too much information? Are they too expensive?



For the average 1/8-1/4 acre lot those books are just too robust. Something like Gaia's Garden or The Suburban Micro Farm (which they don't refer to permaculture in their name, so not sure how people will find those). And yes they are too expensive if you can find them. My local library luckily has a few beat up copies.
 
Stacy Witscher
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I think that what many of us are saying is try something. It doesn't really matter what style. Try something, see what works for you, learn some more, add some bits, etc. I try things all the time. In one area, I'm trying this, in another I'm trying that. Perfection is the enemy of good. Something is better than nothing. It isn't reasonable to always advocate one style as circumstances vary. It doesn't mean that someone is wrong because their technique didn't work for you, or in your area. Never mind that our failures can teach us a lot. Good luck and don't overthink things.
 
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C
In my opinion, a large part of the beauty of permaculture is it's uniqueness. Every permaculture garden is different. They are shaped by the climate, the topography, the size, and the gardener's needs and wants. It sounds like you are looking for one set of rules that fits all. That's not how Mother Nature works. What thrives under my 225 year old post oak, won't make it under my black walnut. Maybe what you're looking for is a book called Permaculture for Dummies. Rather than trying to grasp all the aspects for every climate maybe just focus on your own garden of Eden.

I also hear the urgency in your words. Your need to teach everyone and get them to all do it NOW. I feel you babe. I've been trying to teach humans to be good stewards of the earth for over 40 years. Some days, many days, I just sit on the ground with my head in my hands because... it's just not going well. Welcome to the war. We are foot solders, captains and generals in the war to save our planet. We fight battles over poisons and pollution. We have skirmishes over eating local and supporting our CSAs. We capture land and transform and restore them.

Back in the 70's when the first food Co-Ops opened in Ct, the normal people, who got their bleached, sealed in plastic, long grain white rice from places like Stop & Shop, called us crazy and stupid because we brought our wheat-berries and brown rice home in paper bags. They said it was an insane trend that would never last. They asked, why would anyone pay a store to buy in bulk? On the 'it's not going well at all' days, I think back to those battles. I find hope in knowing how far we've come. Yes I wanted the whole world to get their shit together instantly back in 1975. 40 plus years later I'm LMAO at the younger me thinking if I just gave them the information, they would change. You can lead a horse to water but you can not make it drink.

You might try this, when you see someone with their first raised beds stop and engage them in a conversation. Congratulate them on their efforts. Ask them if they know about companion planting or composting. I've learned you have to baby step most of them along. Let them know they can reach out to you if they have a question. Don't get caught up in putting a label on what you're doing. People have often said, "Your gardens always look so wild and witchy. Why do you grow this way?" My answer is, I take my Que from Mother Nature, she's been doing it a really long time.

As for your anxiety that we are at a tipping point, we are. I could also tell you to read my books but I'm pretty sure they would scare the pants off you.
 
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One of the things I like about the permaculture community is how open people are to the answer "it depends". Its hard to have an overarching resource or set of instructions for a community that likes to answer questions with "it depends" though.

The university program I took.... you finish first year, and think you know a lot about the world. By second year, you see that there is a lot still to learn, and think you will really know a lot by fourth year. By third year, you realize nobody really knows anything. By fourth year, you have a good idea of what you dont know, and are pretty good at asking the right questions. If you do a masters or a PHd, you get to be very good at knowing all the holes in the knowledge about one particular subject.

I think permaculture is the same. I suspect the greats of permaculture, the very successful people, are all VERY successful in their own personal area, and could be considered to have a PHD in farming their land. Highly specialized knowledge. But most of them are the first people to answer "it depends". They might be pretty knowledgable about what it depends ON, but it's pretty hard to tell someone else, working somewhere else, what to do, especially when you try and generalize advice.

Maybe, for your, what kind of bed should a beginner make question (which depends on LOTS of things), you could make a flow chart? Are you in a tropical area, are you in a dry area, how much time do you have to spend, etc, etc... it will be a big messy chart but maybe it would help someone. Or maybe a pro and con chart or.....

Me- I think I am still in second or third year still feeling around for where the holes are.
 
C Gillis
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Thanks for the thoughts and your post AngelinaGianna Maffeo - there are some really great nuggets of wisdom in there.
 
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I'm surprised that Paul's Permaculture Knowledge Scale (?) hasn't popped in here.  

C Gillis is essentially wondering why the community isn't making a concerted effort to reach people in the 0 and 1, maybe 2, levels.  I think Paul's book is a serious attempt to reach these folks, but I think its much much easier to grab the attention of people at level 2 and encourage them to be level 3 because they've already sampled the kool-aid and found it to their liking.  The level 0 folks are absolutely bombarded by other messages/priorities and its really hard for them to see Sepp Holzer's path as better than Peter Thiel's plans to live in floating sea cities or just giving up and going to the ultimate gated community on Mars.

I share the frustration that Permaculture as a movement isn't packaged in a way that I can grab it, open the package, follow the instructions and miraculously be happy like every other consumer product out there (... or is sold that way).  But at the same time if it were packaged, I would totally reject it because I know that packaged products are dumbed down crap that is bad for you and have to be sold on infomercials.

Personally, I'm not an evangelist.  I can't sell someone on something I'm not even fully embracing.  hence I'm trying to make a model, a mini Joel Salatin of sorts, that people can see and feel and absorb and decide to emulate or support in some way.  I'm still absorbing and digesting, not even close to selling.
 
pollinator
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I can only offer my perspective as one who is only starting to dabble with permaculture ideas, and I see the sudden explosion of gardening in general as evidence of a sea-change. Many people have had a close brush with the insecurity of supply chains and the insecurity of employment. They want to have a little more hands-on control of their means of survival. This, and hopefully some pullback from debt consumerism, is going to shape the coming years. A much-needed rebalancing is under way; how deep that will go and how long it will stay is anybody's guess.

It takes time for "fringe" ideas to become mainstream. Keep in mind that composting, raised beds, square foot gardening, and container gardening were considered pretty kooky not that long ago. Now they are within the province of mainstream culture in the suburbs.

The style of the presentation is important. If permaculture people come off as strident and contemptuous instead of supportive and helpful, conventional home gardeners will immediately write them off as cranks and kooks. But suggesting small productivity hacks like mulching to reduce the work of watering/weeding can be slipped in under the radar.

People who have never gardened in their life are trying to do so now. This is a radical change from the conventions of the last 50 years. Let's celebrate it and support it.

My 2 cents.
 
AngelinaGianna Maffeo
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Catie George wrote:One of the things I like about the permaculture community is how open people are to the answer "it depends". Its hard to have an overarching resource or set of instructions for a community that likes to answer questions with "it depends" though.

Me- I think I am still in second or third year still feeling around for where the holes are.



Catie just wanted to say what a great post... and this compliment doesn't depend on anything LOL
 
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I'm still trying to figure out what permaculture is. The "culture" part and the large amount of material related to growing food implies it's a more sustainable, for lack of a better word, way of feeding people. Sustainable though, in the sense of how lots of people can live on the planet without driving everything else and at some point themselves, to extinction seems to me to require a much broader interpretation. That said, getting bogged down in let alone arguing semantics, is never productive IMO.
 
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Its not fragmented.......its just not easy........
Almost every idea presented here....and in Mother Earth news....and The Whole Earth Catalogue... and the Foxfire series, ....and Carla Emery's tome, ....and thousands of forgotten DIY books are variations on a theme and modest improvements on simple country lore and have been around for generations.
What does happen is; few credit the sources of previous info, most wish to carve out a "niche market".
This site has the best method in its refusal to purge and frequent "refloating" of dead threads, but because so few really want to research old threads they are (usually) as irrelevant as old books.
Because the process of getting newly interested people up to speed on a thousand generations of old minutia just to have them fall away because its "hard" or "messy" is remarkably unrewarding, few people engage in it deliberately.

Ultimately the same question can be asked about playing a piano.
Why isn't it easy to become a concert pianist?
Truly reams have been written, recorded, video'd collected, compiled, annotated, and disseminated.
But first you have to
Have a piano.
Spend time with the piano.
Get it tuned.
Learn to read tableture,
Develop muscle memory
Practice for a few years to become proficient.
Find some one willing to patronize your product.
Pump out enough product to make the prior years efforts worthwhile.

The percentage of people willing to do that amount of effort for marginal returns are a fraction of a percent.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:This is exactly what I presented on in 2014:  https://permies.com/t/34441/permaculture-velocity



Good stuff!

IMO, Permaculture is spreading slowly, but surely. There are just lots of people out there that don't advertise what they are doing or don't call what they do permaculture (like Paul mentioned). I mean, there are some Horticulture programs that require a credited permaculture class, degrees for small scale regenerative ag, agroforestry degrees, etc. I like to think that these things came about because of permaculture.

As far as creating a unified push, I don't think I'm down for this or at least it wouldn't be worth the effort. When I reflect on my own journey, I went Justin Rhodes videos to Andrew Millison OSU PDC to SoilFoodWeb classes. But there were so many voices in between, Wheaton, Perkins, Lancaster, Worms, Sharashkin, Spackman etc. Oh, and so many podcasts. The diversity is amazing, and each time I've reached out to someone for help, they have been ready to advise no matter how 'big' the name.

At the end of the day, Paul's right. If you feel like more needs to be done, then do more. That's what I keep telling myself.



 
gardener
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I follow a number of permaculture related podcasts and some blogs. One thing I have noticed is that they all are working extra hard right now to help people get started. Some have made free online courses, others have shifted in person events to online and greatly reduced the cost or even made them free and many are creating content that is focused on helping people to get started.

My own site has seen a big increase in traffic (mostly people finding it from Google and other search engines) and I've been tailoring more of my posts to people just getting started in gardening. We also started a new Facebook group that is growing rapidly and is tailored to help people get started and answer their questions. Just one small way to help people during these times.

Each podcast or blog is only reaching a relatively small number of people (mine is 8 to 9 thousand per month now) but all together these sites provide a great resource for people.

I'm also seeing local groups putting together online workshops. And of course there are tons of YouTube videos sharing how to get started.

This all adds up to a lot!

All this information is reaching people and I think it's okay for there to not be a central place for it all. If there was a central place for it all you would get into questions about who's content should be added and who would manage it. As it is there are a lot of sites/tools individuals can use to promote their content and reach people. Permies is a great resource (so far this month 970 people have visited my site from permies) and social media (so far this month 784 people visited my site from social media sites) can also help get the content out there. There aren't a lot of gatekeepers right now preventing content from getting out there to people who need it. In the past you would have been mostly limited to traditionally published books to get the information out to people.

With all this content being out there some of it may be more valuable than others but a lot of it is free and I think it can help people move forward. I've been very impressed by how the community as a whole has come forward to provide all sorts of free information for people during these times. There were a number of great threads started here on permies aimed at this--the victory garden thread is an example. All of this is reaching a lot of people and I think it will help move people forward with their own gardens.

I think things are moving forward--perhaps not as quickly as we would like but I do see a lot of positive things happening right now to promote permaculture, gardening and homesteading.
 
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I don't see permaculture as fragmented at all.  I see different people applying the same principals in different situations.  Because the situations are different, it appears different.  When I took my permaculture course from Geoff Lawton, he taught that permaculture could be practiced anywhere from an apartment to a vast acreages.  His extreme examples that I remember were someone with a window box to permaculturing the entire Loess Plateau of China (an area of about 640,000 km2).  

Any movement is shaped by the people who are part of it.  I've had friends point out how Catholicism varies in different parts of the world, mostly because local attitudes and local customs get absorbed into their concept of the faith (other things are 'layered on').  Same with permaculture.  Someone takes it and mixes it with their Vegan beliefs, someone else uses it to raise animals for meat.  Both are still permaculture.  They are simply adapted to the individual and their preferences and beliefs.  As long as the proper principals are observed, it's still permaculture.

As was pointed out above, permaculture is mainly the venue of those who take the less travelled path or, often, those who prefer to blaze their own path.  Those who blaze their own path often end up failing more spectacularly than normal.  They also are the ones who make the earth changing discoveries.  Permaculture, as any 'fringe movement' probably has more than a normal share of 'kooks' (don't worry, I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about that other guy).  It also has way more than it's share of independent thinkers.  That will naturally lead to lots of experimentation, pushing the boundaries, etc.  We don't need to enforce 'doctrinal observance', just keep teaching correct principals.  The bad ideas will go away.
 
C Gillis
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Daron Williams wrote:I follow a number of permaculture related podcasts and some blogs. One thing I have noticed is that they all are working extra hard right now to help people get started. Some have made free online courses, others have shifted in person events to online and greatly reduced the cost or even made them free and many are creating content that is focused on helping people to get started.



Thanks for the post. Can you share some of those resources? I'd be interested in checking them out and sharing with new growers.
 
pollinator
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To me, a central source of information is Permaculture magazine (https://www.permaculture.co.uk/).  If you subscribe, you get access to all the archives, and I've spent hours finding new rabbit trails of information, and I've been able to watch how the UK permaculture community has evolved.  However, they don't have a forum to get and keep people talking, and their web page doesn't have much of the Permaculture 101 that would make a good intro for new people.  The first would be a LOT of work, so it's a bit sad but understandable.  The second is really surprising to me.

I really wish someone would go through, revamp, and reissue Permaculture One and Two, and the other seminal books.  Everyone recognizes them as "the start" and they were apparently engaging enough to get people excited in the first place.  (I know that what caught people's imagination in the 70s is no longer what will catch people now, so it would require a very skilled revamp.)  Even though I've dropped hundreds of dollars on permaculture books, I've never been able to bring myself to drop the crazy prices the original books are going for now.  Would the work required to update, and the limited audience, make an new issue at 30 or 40 dollars unviable?  That would be sad...

 
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Karl Treen wrote:
Instagram: @foodforestcardgame
Web: FoodForestCardGame.com
K-


I LOVE THAT IMAGE! I'd like to share it if I may.  If OK, credit to you or...?
 
pollinator
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I think it has a lot to do with opinions and Paul's law of subjective crazy. In permaculture there is no black and white right or wrong way to do it. If you put two different people on a property and ask them to design a system, it will turn out different, even if intended for the same party. Also everyone has different needs.
For instance, if someone made a medium sized system without animals, I would be tempted to think they designed wrong. but there are things i don't know about that person and site. Blow this up to a large scale and you get groups of people each thinking their way is the best and often wanting to change the way other groups design.

Then with subjective crazy, if someone has plants species that I would be inclined to reduce, I would think they're crazy and not follow their plans. Same goes for the whole levels of the eco scale thing.

All of this leads to bickering clans that the rest of the world decides to stay out of and just follow the universal suggestions of government institutes. Again, just my opinion.
 
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